Free things to do in Tokyo, Japan


When we think of Tokyo, we think of premium sushi, cleanliness, and shopping. But all these will cost you more than a pretty penny, and it would be a pity to have to limit your experiences because of a tighter budget. For those who do not wish to sacrifice comfort in a proper hotel or scrimp on your food cravings, here’s a list of free things to do in Tokyo for your stay:


1. Go on a free tour of Japan Airlines’ hangar


free things to do in tokyo japan - JAL hangar
Image credit:
スーさん via Google Maps

Even if it’s not time for you to leave Japan yet, make a trip down to Haneda Airport. Apart from arrival and departure halls, it’s home to the JAL Sky Museum, with a very unique tour you wouldn’t want to miss.

We’re not just talking about looking at miniature plane models – this 50-minute tour takes you to the actual hangar of the Japan Airlines. Catch a glimpse into the behind the scenes action including engineers going about their day-to-day maintenance work. 

free things to do in tokyo japan - JAL Sky Museum
Image credit: HERO TAKE via Google Maps

During your visit, you can also enter a mockup of an aeroplane cockpit, or try sitting on one of the atas JAL Sky Suite and JAL Sky Premium seats.

Yes, this whole thing is free but you’ll have to make an online reservation before you swing by. Slots are released 1 month ahead of time and there are only 30 visitors allowed per session so be sure to plan early.

JAL Sky Museum Tour
Days available: Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun
Sessions: 9.30am, 10.45am & 2.45pm

JAL Sky Museum
ADMISSION FEE
Free entry
ADDRESS
3-chōme-5-1 Hanedakūkō, Ota City, Tokyo 144-0041, Japan
Opening Hours:   Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.7
(345)
CONTACT INFORMATION

2. Find a hidden natural history museum near Tokyo Station


free things to do in tokyo japan - INTERMEDIATHEQUE
Image credit: @alvisdeyn via Instagram

Now, Tokyo Station may look like a quaint colonial mansion on the outside, but anyone who’s been there will know that the area is actually a maze of train platforms, shopping malls, and restaurants. Hidden amidst all the melange of activities is INTERMEDIATHEQUE, a natural history museum that not many tourists know to look out for. 

natural history museum
Image credit: @renca via Instagram 

If you’ve busted all your budget on Disneyland and ramen, swing by this free-entry museum where you can find age-old artefacts and taxidermy of animals like birds, without paying a single yen. There are also skeletons of a killer whale, giraffe, and sea lion, that all together serve some serious Night at the Museum vibes.

Intermediatheque
ADMISSION FEE
Free
ADDRESS
2-7-2 Kitte 2F, 3F, Marunouchi, Chiyoda 100-7003 Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday 11:00-18:00  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.6
(963)
CONTACT INFORMATION

3. Enter Hotel New Otani Tokyo’s dreamy waterfall garden


free garden
Image credit: @hotelnewotanitokyo via Instagram

While it’s not uncommon for gardens in Japan to charge admission fees, Hotel New Otani Tokyo’s garden is free for all to enter. You don’t have to book a stay at the S$600+/night hotel in order to enjoy this scenic 10 acre large facility with more than 400 years of history behind it. 

free things to do in tokyo japan - otel New Otani Tokyo
Image credit: @hotelnewotanitokyo via Instagram

While the rest of Tokyo buzzes with activity, this quaint enclave is filled with carp ponds, a stone garden, and a bright red Taiko bridge for all your IG needs. And, if you think Singapore’s Yunnan Garden is cool, wait till you see this hotel’s 6m-high gushing waterfall surrounded by Japanese stone lanterns and resting huts.

There are 58 sakura trees here so you’ll be able to go on a romantic stroll amidst pretty pink leaves if you time your visit right. Those who fall in love with the garden can also book a stay at Hotel New Otani Tokyo to enjoy a view of it through your window.

Address: 4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8578, Japan
Opening hours: 6am-10pm, Daily
Contact: +81 3-3265-1111

ADDRESS
4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8578, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday 00:00-00:00  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.3
(6507)
RECOMMENDED TICKETS AT S$326.00

4. Watch skilled artisans paint washi paper at Origami Kaikan


free things to do in tokyo japan - paper art museum
Image credit:
@misakky510 via Instagram

Art and craft videos can be super satisfying to watch, and to get that therapeutic experience IRL, visit Origami Kaikan where you’ll get to watch a Japanese artisan paint handmade washi (Japanese paper).

Origami Kaikan - staff
Image credit:
@burcunimetdumlu via Instagram

The star of the show though, has to be their impressive gallery that displays Origami masterpieces such as the one above of a Maiko (Japanese apprentice geisha), framed by 1000 orizuru (folded cranes).

free things to do in tokyo japan - Origami Kaikan
This is made entirely out of paper.
Image credit: @randoheruu via Instagram

Origami Kaikan
ADMISSION FEE
Free
ADDRESS
1-chōme-7-14 Yushima, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0034, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday 09:30-16:30  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.2
(562)
CONTACT INFORMATION

5. Check out the art installations at Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo


free things to do in tokyo japan - LV exhibit
Image credit:
@h_miyao via Instagram

Travellers on a budget would likely give luxury stores a pass. But that doesn’t mean you can’t check out Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo which is fully funded by LV.

free things to do in tokyo japan - Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo
Jesus Raphael Soto’s interactive piece, “Penetrable Bbl Bleu”, made of thousands of thin blue strings
.
Image credit: @tomboy375 via Instagram

This art gallery sits at the very top of the LV building in Omotesando, and the exhibitions change once every few months. These range from interactive displays to art installations that make a stand on social issues.

free things to do in tokyo japan - Espace Louis Vuitton
Image credit:
@naomi_kakiuchi via Instagram

Espace Louis Vuitton
ADMISSION FEE
Free
ADDRESS
Louis Vuitton Omotesando Bldg. 7F 5-7-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Opening Hours: Wednesday 11:00-19:00  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.5
(156)
CONTACT INFORMATION

6. Witness tuna auctions at the world’s largest fish market


Toyosu Fish Market
Image credit:
@2lyg2g via Instagram

Toyosu Fish Market is the upgraded version of the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. It’s twice as large, allowing it to keep the title of “World’s Largest Fish Market” firmly in its grasp, and only 2km away from its previous location.

free things to do in tokyo japan - octopus
Image credit:
@jimmydashner via Instagram

Early risers – or night owls – can pick up a visitor’s pass to enter the building and catch the iconic tuna auctions at about 5.30am. The best way to experience an auction would be to hear and observe it up close from a special deck on the lower floor and to do so, you’ll have to join a lottery to be one of the 120 guests picked daily.

Don’t worry if you don’t get picked, as you can still watch from a gallery on a higher level. You might not be able to hear the auction, but at least there’s a friendly “Language Co-talk Volunteer” who’ll explain everything going on to you in English.

Toyosu Market
ADMISSION FEE
Free
ADDRESS
6-chōme-6-1 Toyosu, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0061, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday Off  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
3.7
(4982)
CONTACT INFORMATION

7. Learn how your soda is made at Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Tama Plant


free things to do in tokyo japan - coca cola
Image credit:
@croissant_3212 via Instagram

If you’re the type that needs to drink a bottle of coke almost every day, you need to sign yourself up for a Coca Cola Bottlers Japan Tama Plant Tour.  The tour will allow you to witness the manufacturing process where all the magic happens, and you’ll also get to check out different versions of Japanese Coca Cola bottles throughout the years.

free things to do in tokyo japan - coca cola plant
Image credit:
@berryzcret via Instagram 

Tours are held from Mondays to Fridays at either 10am and 3pm and will last about 60 minutes. English guide books are available to ensure that everyone gets a fruitful learning experience.

free things to do in tokyo japan - Coca Cola Bottlers Japan Tama Plant Tour
Image credit: Coca Cola Bottlers Japan

Do remember to make a reservation to secure a slot – you can do so about a month in advance via the Coca-Cola Japan website.

Address: 1 Chome-2-9 Nobidome, Higashikurume, Tokyo 203-0041, Japan
Contact: +81 800-919-0509


8. Watch a life-sized Gundam figure transform at DiverCity Tokyo Plaza


 unicorn gundam
Image credit:
@jigza via Instagram

Gundam fanatics check this out – there’s a majestic 19.7m-tall Unicorn Gundam from the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn series standing proudly in front of Divercity Tokyo Plaza.

free things to do in tokyo japan - DiverCity Tokyo Plaza - gundam
Image credit:
@herbyjai via Instagram

But just seeing the Gundam in its normal mode is no kick. The real show starts when the gigantic figure transforms into Destroy mode – its antenna expands, and you can see it come to life as it starts to glow and move for 5 minutes. Be sure to visit before it’s taken down on 31st March 2024!

Showtimes: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm & every 30 minutes from 7pm-9.30pm, Daily

Unicorn Gundam Statue
ADMISSION FEE
Free
ADDRESS
135-0064 Tokyo, Koto City, Aomi, 1 Chome−1−10 DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday 11:00-21:30  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.6
(16897)
CONTACT INFORMATION

9. Enjoy a flower-viewing picnic at the Imperial Palace’s East Garden


free things to do in tokyo japan - Imperial Palace’s East Garden
Image credit:
@travelwizards via Instagram

The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is a must-visit especially during Spring and Autumn, where a sea of cherry blossoms and orange leaves offer a breathtaking view.

While some areas of the palace are only accessible if you pay a small fee, you can visit the East Garden at no cost for a refreshing morning walk or hanami – or cherry blossom viewing – picnic.

autumn
Image credit:
Justgola 

You can also have a volunteer guide bring you around and tell you about the palace’s history while you admire the seasonal flora and fauna. The gates to the Imperial Palace close quite early at 4.30pm, so do head down way before that to avoid a rushed experience.

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
ADMISSION FEE
Free
ADDRESS
1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday 09:00-16:30  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.4
(7331)
CONTACT INFORMATION

10. Dive into the history of anime at Suginami Animation Museum


Suginami Animation Museum
Image credit:
@justvcreative via Instagram

Japan is the birthplace of anime, and you’ll know how big of a thing it is there when you see anime characters plastered all over train stations and giant billboards. It’s such an iconic part of the country’s culture that there’s a Suginami Animation Museum in Ogikubo.

free things to do in tokyo japan - manga art
Stretch of wall filled with doodles by famous artists

Image credit: @udadagram via Instagram

There’ll be exhibits of familiar anime like Doraemon and Studio Ghibli’s Totoro, as well as more obscure ones which have only been aired in Japan. Besides that, there are super rare preserved original sketches of your favourite characters as well as the actual tools the artists used.

free things to do in tokyo japan - animation museum
Image credit:
@pyat_napo via Instagram

And if you understand Japanese, you can even join a workshop about anime production, or listen to a talk given by professional animators.

Suginami Animation Museum
ADMISSION FEE
Free
ADDRESS
Japan, 〒167-0043 Tokyo, Suginami City, Kamiogi, 3-chōme−29−5 杉並会館 3F
Opening Hours: Wednesday 10:00-18:00  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.1
(808)
CONTACT INFORMATION

11. Observe sumo wrestlers practise in Arashio-beya


free things to do in tokyo japan - Arashio-beya
Image credit:
@psicopatricko via Instagram

Japan is the only country where Sumo wrestling is performed professionally, and there are even grand tournaments where hundreds and thousands of people attend just to witness this magnificent sport in stadiums.

free things to do in tokyo japan - sumo
Image credit:
@citra393 via Instagram

While tournaments tickets are rather pricey and can cost over a hundred dollars, you can watch sumo wrestlers practise for free at Arashio-beya. Drop by and peer into the large window along the roadside from 7.30am-9.30pm during practice days. You can check out their full practice schedule on Arashio-beya’s website.

Don’t be shy if you’d like a picture with them because they’re very friendly – just wait till practice is over and ask politely.

Address: 2 Chome-47-2 Nihonbashihamacho, Chuo City, Tokyo 103-0007, Japan


12. Take a scenic boat ride at Yokojikken Gawa Shinsui Park


free things to do in tokyo japan - Yokojikken Gawa Shinsui Park boat
Image credit:
@su2un0r1 via Instagram 

Head over to Yokojikken Gawa Shinsui Park for a relaxing boat ride along the river in a wasen – or traditional Japanese boat. This would usually cost you some, but here, there’s a ”Wasen Tomo no Kai” volunteer group that offers 10 minute rides to visitors completely free of charge.

free things to do in tokyo japan - cherry blossom
Image credi
t: @katsuchann3910 via Instagram

If you have kids, bring them to the small play area sitting above the river to splash about. With floating platforms to obstacle courses and a rope bridge spanning from one end of the river to the other, this place is perfect for some fun in the sun.

free things to do in tokyo japan - Yokojikken Gawa Shinsui Park
Image credit:
@parkful via Instagram

Address: 1 Chome-1 Minamisuna, Koto City, Tokyo 136-0076, Japan
Schedule: Wed & Sun 10am-2.15pm (Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays to Saturdays)


13. Stroll down Japan’s oldest shopping street, Nakamise-dori


 Nakamise-dori
Image credit:
@dorissimod via Instagram 

Enter the giant Thunder Gate in Asakusa and you will be welcomed by a 200-metre shopping street called Nakamise-dori. From traditional Japanese handicrafts like folding fans and wooden dolls to handmade yukatas, there’ll be tons of unique trinkets you bring home as souvenirs.

free things to do in tokyo japan - food
Image credit:
@hirahx via Instagram 

Of course, a shopping street can’t do without street food. Check out all the authentic Asakusa snacks like age-manju (fried bun with sweet bean paste filling) or ningyo-yaki (small snack cakes) if you have a few dollars to spare.

free things to do in tokyo japan - Senso-ji
Image credit:
@ls.mt_ via Instagram

If you continue walking down the street, you’ll wind up at the entrance to Senso-ji. It’s an ancient temple more than 1300 years old – the oldest in Tokyo – and many visit to pray for good luck and happiness. Entry to the temple is also free.

Nakamise-dori Street
ADMISSION FEE
Free admission
ADDRESS
1-chōme-36-3 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
Opening Hours:   Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.3
(11924)
CONTACT INFORMATION

14. Go on a brewery tour & sample beer at Suntory Musashino


free things to do in tokyo japan - suntory beer tour
Image credit:
@shiro_nirasawa via Instagram

Suntory Musashino is one of Japan’s oldest and most popular beer brands, and they offer a free 70-minute tour of their brewery every day.

free things to do in tokyo japan - suntory beer tour
Image credit:
@silslib via Instagram

Throughout the tour, you’ll get to explore the massive factory and witness the actual brewing process. Don’t worry if you don’t understand Japanese, because there are English audio guides available if you download their app on your phone.

free things to do in tokyo japan - suntory beer sample
Image credit:
@coffee8please via Instagram

Because they believe in leaving the best for the last, you’ll get to round your trip off by visiting the in-house bar and sampling not one, but 3 free glasses of their famous beer.

To get here, simply take a free shuttle bus from Bubaigawara Station.

Suntory Musashino Brewery
ADMISSION FEE
Free admission
ADDRESS
3-chōme-1 Yazakichō, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-0025, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday 09:30-17:00  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.5
(673)
CONTACT INFORMATION

15. View Mt Fuji from the 48th floor of a skyscraper


free things to do in tokyo japan - Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Image credit:
@madameyap14 via Instagram

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku is the tallest free observatory tower in Japan, and it stands at a staggering height of 243m. Ascend to the 48th floor at the very top of the South tower and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the city.

If the sky is clear and you’re there early in the morning when the sun is shining brightly, you might just be lucky enough to see Mt Fuji’s tip shyly peeking out in the far distance.

night views tokyo
Image credit:
@haileyip8 via Instagram

But if you can’t make it for an early morning visit, don’t be disappointed because this metropolitan city also offers spectacular night views from the North tower. By night time, you’ll be greeted by a landscape sprinkled with dazzling lights from all the surrounding buildings.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
ADMISSION FEE
Free
ADDRESS
2-chōme-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 163-8001, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday 09:30-10:00  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.4
(4705)
CONTACT INFORMATION

16. Be inspired by the quirky fashion in Harajuku


free things to do in tokyo japan - harajuku
Image credit:
@tokyofashion via Instagram

Take a short walk around Harajuku and you’ll notice that there are tons of people – mainly youngsters – decked out in bold outfits and colourful hair. It’s quite an unusual sight you won’t easily find elsewhere in Japan.

This shopping district is basically a giant runway where people express themselves through fashion. Many of the fashion styles you might spot here like gyaru, goth, and lolitaoriginated as a form of rebellious expression – a refusal to conform with Japan’s strict conventions.

free things to do in tokyo japan - harajuku store
Image credit:
@dazai_des via Instagram

While you’re there, go window shopping and browse through the myriad of stores selling a quirky variety of Japanese street fashion.

Address: Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan


17. Pet cute animals at Edogawa City Shizen Zoo


Edogawa City Shizen Zoo
Image adapted from:
@sundaysoundtrack via Instagram, @grskus_tk via Instagram 

Compared to a regular zoo in Japan, Edogawa City Shizen Zoo is relatively small, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive because it still houses a wide range of animals. And since entry is free, we can’t really complain.

Wave hello to some giant anteaters or spot an adorable red panda just chilling up in a tree – the latter is an endangered species so don’t miss this opportunity.

free things to do in tokyo japan - Edogawa City Shizen Zoo - sheep
Image credit:
@dra_dralin via Instagram 

Besides that, there are other animals such as seals, penguins, goats, squirrels and many more that call this cosy city zoo their home. You can even get up close to some of them in the petting zone.

Edogawa Natural Zoo
ADMISSION FEE
Free admission
ADDRESS
3-chōme-2-1 Kitakasai, Edogawa City, Tokyo 134-0081, Japan
Opening Hours: Wednesday 10:00-16:30  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.4
(2006)
CONTACT INFORMATION

Experience these free things to do in Tokyo 


For all who’ve yet to visit Japan, this culturally-rich country needs to be on your travel bucket list. Scratch the misconception that you have to splurge to have a whale of a time here. As long as you dig a little, you’ll find that there are a ton of fun things you can do there without forking out a single dollar, even in Tokyo.

Check out our other articles on Tokyo:


 image adapted from: @su2un0r1, @alvisdeyn & @naomi_kakiuchi via Instagram, スーさん via Google Maps
Originally published on 20th July 2019. Last updated by Kezia Tan on 2nd May 2023.
A portion of this content may contain referral links to products. Our opinions remain our own.

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