10 FREE Things to do in Tokyo: Off the beaten path!
Planning a budget trip to Tokyo? Don't miss these 10 free must-dos: relax at Hinokicho Park, tour the National Diet of Japan, visit Hie Shrine, enjoy views from Magnet Shibuya Observatory, see the Nakameguro Awaodori festival, explore Nakano Broadway, visit Suginami Anime Museum, and be intrigued at the Parasite Museum. Enjoy Tokyo's best without spending a yen!
Tokyo is a city of endless wonders, and even after six visits, I've found there's always something new to discover – especially when it comes to free attractions. I've compiled a special list highlighting these hidden gems and cost-free experiences in Tokyo.
1. Hinokicho Park
Gorgeous FREE park hidden behind the tall skyscrapers of Tokyo.
2. National Diet Building
Location of the Japanese parliament, house of representatives and house of councilors. A guided tour is FREE, but only in Japanese.
3. Hie Shrine
If you don't have time to visit Kyoto, you can still visit a long red torii gates tunnel at Hie Shrine.
4. FREE Popup Events
Tokyo has plenty of FREE popup promotional events around the city, especially during summer at which they give out FREE goodies.
5. Harajuku Glass Mirror Entrance
One of the most iconic places for a great selfie, the mirror entrance at Tokyu Plaza on Omotesando Street.
6. Magnet Shibuya Observatory
Brand new FREE observatory rooftop deck provided by MAGNET, a new bar in Shibuya.
7. Nakameguro Awaodori
One of the best summer festivals in Tokyo. Watch the crazy Japanese parade go through the streets of Nakameguro for FREE.
8. Public Tuna Cutting
Witness public tuna cutting at the Tsukiji outer fish market.
9. Nakano Broadway
Unleash your inner nerd at the Nakano Broadway, one of the best locations for oldskool Anime, Manga, game arcades and super cheap food.
10. Suginami Animation Museum
Visit the FREE anime museum in Suginami to learn more about the animation industry of Japan.
11. BONUS: Shinjuku VR Zone
Perhaps the coolest new attractions in Tokyo, it is FREE to watch people freak out in VR or you can join the fun which is not FREE but still lots of fun.
12. BONUS: Parasite Museum
FREE bizarre museum in Meguro documenting everything that has to do with parasites in the human body and beyond.
Begin your journey in Roppongi at Hinokicho Park. Nestled behind towering skyscrapers, this small, serene park is perfect for a leisurely stroll. A subway ride away is the National Diet of Japan, an architectural marvel completed in 1920 after 16 years of construction. This iconic building is not just a feast for the eyes; it's the heart of Japan's legislative body, housing both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors.
Just a short walk from the National Diet is the Hie Shrine, famous for its stunning red torii gate tunnel – a picturesque spot that rivals the famed gates of Kyoto and is often missed by tourists. If you're longing for a Kyoto-like experience without leaving Tokyo, this is the place for your perfect red torii gate selfie.
For those who enjoy cityscapes, the Magnet building in Shibuya offers a free observatory deck, providing a spectacular view of the world's busiest intersection, the Shibuya crossing. And for a touch of Tokyo's modern edge, don't miss the mirror entrance of Tokyu Plaza in the fashionable Harajuku district.
In Shinjuku, the VR Zone offers a taste of cutting-edge entertainment with a range of virtual reality experiences – from Evangelion to Mario Kart – and it's all for free.
Recognizing the rising costs for tourists in Tokyo, I believe it's essential to have a guide for free activities. This is especially useful for budget travelers looking to experience the city's charm without breaking the bank.
Lastly, remember that dining in Tokyo doesn't have to be expensive. Convenient stores like 7-Eleven, Lawson, and FamilyMart offer affordable meals and are open around the clock. For budget shopping, check out Donki Hote, Tokyo's answer to Walmart, where you can find a wide range of household items at unbeatable prices.