Tokyo is a breathtaking place to visit, and the good news is that not everything has to cost you a lot of extra money. In fact, there are plenty of free things to do while you are on your vacation, so check out some of the free attractions and budget friendly things to do in Tokyo while you are there!
Bike Around Imperial Palace
On Sundays, you can bike (or walk) around Imperial Palace at no cost if you get there in time to get one of the 150 bikes they allow you to take. Of course, you can rent a bike any day of the week but why not get one for free if you get there early enough? This way you'll get in some exercise and a peaceful bike ride around the area. It doesn't get any better than that!
See Beautiful Gardens
Tokyo is known for its stunning gardens, and there are a few that you can visit for free. Check out the gardens attached to a couple of the hotels, such as Hotel Chinzaso or the Hotel New Otani in Akasaka. There are some breathtaking grounds to check out at Imperial Palace East Garden or near the Shirokanedai Station is Happō-en.
Check out West Tokyo Park
If you simply want to visit some of the parks that are free to the public, check out the West Tokyo park at Inokashira-kōen, which you can find close to the Ghibli Museum, or consider a visit to central Yoyogi-kōen.
Check Out the Festivals
At any given time, there are festivals going on that are fun to watch and have plenty of flair and festivity. You'll want to look at gotokyo.org for the dates of upcoming events. Some of these include fire walking, cherry blossom viewing parties, the shrines of Mikoshi where there are costumes and portable shrines, and more. Any of the festivals will be exciting, but when you check out the site first, you can plan ahead so you don't miss one you specifically want to see.
While Tokyo has plenty of natural beauty, if you are a tech geek, you will definitely want to look at the latest groundbreaking technology here. Check out the area of Ginza, where you can peruse the Sony showroom. You will also find the latest Toyota has to offer in Odaiba. For something a little different, why not take a look at the Toto showcase? It is all about plumbing and while that may sound not as exciting as Sony, they did create the bidet so you might just see something you haven't seen before.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
If you are feeling adventurous and you are not afraid of heights, talk a walk across the 1903-foot Rainbow Bridge. This spans between Odaiba and the Tokyo Bay Island. If you walk to the island, there are a few amazing things to do there like check out the replica of the Statue of Liberty or sit down on the artificial beach and catch a few rays of sunshine. There are two walkways, and on clear days, you can see Mount Fuji if you're lucky. Make sure you check the hours first because it is not open 24 hours a day.
Catch a View
If you really want to see the entire city and maybe even a glimpse of Mount Fuji, head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office. Once inside, you can go up to the 48th floor and enjoy the view. There are observation decks that are free to enter on the south and north towers of the 45th floor all day from as early as 9:30 am until 10:30 pm. This means you can get a daytime view and a nighttime view if you go back later. This is an excellent place to snap a few photos of the city or even Mount Fuji if you are lucky. It might not be the tallest building in the world, but you will get one incredible view at no charge.
Meiji Jengu Shrine
The Meiji Jengu Shrine is a must visit during your trip. It is not only the most frequented place of worship for Shinto but it is a breathtakingly beautiful place for non-worshippers to visit. The cypress gate guards are an amazing 40 feet high, and there are more than 100,000 trees lining the pathways, where you’ll find countless places to relax and take in the beauty. You can also visit the pond or visit the tea house that is also on the grounds. This shrine was built in 1920 and is a popular spot to enjoy the view and feel peaceful away from all the busy streets of Tokyo.
Free Food and an Auction
For something a little different, every morning there are tuna auctions located at Tsukiji, which is a huge market with more than 1,500 stalls. While you are there, you can sample free sashimi and if you get up early enough, you can catch the tuna auctions. Not only do you have to get there at around 5 am, but you also have to beat the other spectators because there is just a tiny platform that allows you to see the auctions. Those tend to fill up quickly because this is an exciting and unique event to watch. After that, browse the stalls but keep in mind that by 11 am, most will be closed - good thing you are already up early!
How About Sumo Wrestling?
If you stop by The Ryogoku Kokugikan Museum, you can check out the exhibits at no cost. There are exhibits that rotate, and they feature the history of this national sport of Japan. Best of all, there are training stables there. These are where the sumo wrestlers train, and you are welcome to watch. As long as there are not active tournaments, you’ll get to see the sparring action during training. This can be every bit as exciting and it doesn’t cost anything! These training sessions are held in the same neighborhood as the museum so you can make an afternoon of it. There is one thing to keep in mind, however: it is considered a courtesy to call in advance, and you should bring a gift for the person who is the stablemaster.