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Top 3 Free Things to Do in Tokyo

Tours in Tokyo | Tokyo Tours | Day Tour in Tokyo | Things to do in Tokyo
Photo: Tokyo Icons | Image Courtesy of hans-johnson / Flickr

Tokyo is notorious as an expensive city both to live in and to visit to. This gives an impression that a Tokyo trip mostly includes costly activities. However, in reality, Tokyo because of the value it puts to nature and to their history and culture offers many free things to do. If you are planning your trip to Tokyo, below are the places and activities you can do that will not break your wallet:

Things to do in Tokyo
Photo: Path to Meiji Temple | Image Courtesy of ginomempin/ Flickr

1. Visit temples and parks

One of the famous tourist spots of a country is its sacred places like church or temples. More than appreciating the architecture details of each temple, the story behind its construction and the former and current practices of the followers would be interesting way of learning about its people, culture and history. Tokyo even with its progress, successfully preserved temples that pay tributes to significant period of their history and tells important developments of their culture.

There are many temples that you can visit around Tokyo. Each has its own beauty and story to tell. But there are two famous temples that you should not miss --- Meiji Temple and Sensoji Temple. Meiji Temple requires a 15-minute walk to reach the temple from the gate entrance. You won’t sweat while walking because there are trees that provide ample shade and wind along the walking path. Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo is near a famous landmark, Tokyo Skytree. At the other end of the complex, you can find Nakamise Street, shopping and food alley. Walking around Sensoji gives you a feel on how old Tokyo used to be.

Things to do in Tokyo
Photo: Sumida Park | Image Courtesy of Kimon Berlin / Flickr

You should also include in your itinerary a day tour of Tokyo’s parks. There is nothing more relaxing than seeing greenery spaces at the center of the city. You should not forget to visit Imperial East Garden, Ueno park, Yoyogi Park and Sumida Park. They are all beautiful with their preserved and well-maintained trees, plants and seasonal flowers. These parks are also crowd favorites during spring and autumn season. At Ueno park, you will find museums and zoo for a small fee, but you can easily spend a day just by walking around the park. Yoyogi Park is located near Meiji Temple while Sumida Park is near Sensoji Temple and Tokyo Skytree. Visiting those temples then having a relaxing time at public parks should be part of your Tokyo trip!

Things to do in Tokyo
Photo: A Rainy Shibuya Crossing | Image Courtesy of Finan Akbar / Unsplash

2. Watch people at famous streets

Do you know any city in the world where pedestrian crossing is considered to be a tourist attraction? Only Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing. Every time the light changes, around 2500 people cross Shibuya crossing. A simple activity made interesting by Japanese. There are different spots for a good photo of Shibuya crossing. You can find a good spot at café like Starbucks and L’Occitane, at the Shibuya Station or at the street level. After visiting the statue of the beloved dog, Hatchiko located just few meters from the station, don’t forget to pass by Shibuya crossing!

Things to do in Tokyo
Photo: Harajuku | Image Courtesy of Michelle Zappa / Flickr

Japan’s popular culture introduced the unique and sometimes, eccentric fashion trends in Japan. Another informative and fun way of appreciating Tokyo is by watching the latest costume trends at another busy street, Takeshita. Every weekend it is filled with Japanese youth wearing creative and fun costume. The street itself offers sweet treats that are uniquely Japan. You can also find shops selling those costumes you see. For the famous photo spot, you can start your Tokyo day tour at this place from the entrance near the Harajuku station.

Known to the world as hardworking and workaholic citizens, Japanese also take after-work activities such as drinking equally the same. Shinjuku is known for the night activities that cater to the tired salarymen. Here you can find many izakaya filled with Japanese workers relaxing after a tiring day at work.

Things to do in Tokyo
Photo: Shinjuku Station platform | Image Courtesy of Dick Thomas Johnson / Flickr

Another interesting free activity you can try in Tokyo is through joining or watching the locals at the train during rush hour. Tardiness is a big issue in Japan. It was said that being on time is considered late. If you don’t want to be considered rude you should arrive at least 5 minutes before the agreed time. The same thing applies at work which is why you can see Japanese salarymen and women rushing to the trains every morning before 8am. But the admirable thing about Japanese is they still maintain order even at chaotic times. They fall in line, walk at the left lane and never skip the line or do anything that would disrespect their fellow Japanese. The popular stations to visit to see the rushing salarymen are Shimbashi, Shinjuku and Tokyo. Shinjuku station can itself be a maze for tourist with its vast network of trains arriving and departing often.

Things to do in Tokyo
Photo: Nakamise Steet | Image Courtesy of IQRemix / Flickr

3. Join free walking tours

Travelling is our way of going beyond the books, the TV screens and the movies in discovering a city or a country. It is an immersion experience to personally witness how people live in a different place. And the best way to kick-off your trip anywhere is spending a day tour in Tokyo with a local guide for free. Luckily, Tokyo Localized offers a unique and interesting free walking tours in Tokyo. Its English-speaking local guide brings you to Meiji temple, a place for tribute to the late emperor and Harajuku, the birthplace of Japan’s youth fashion.

More than sightseeing, you can learn a lot from stories told by locals. If you are more curious on the modern lives of Tokyo people, you can join the Shinjuku night tour and experience the nightlife of Japanese salarymen.

There are many things to do in Tokyo which makes planning your trip overwhelming. Plan ahead and don’t forget to include joining free walking tours in Tokyo to get the most out of your trip in Japan! You’ll get the most interesting tips and secrets as told by a local!

About the writer

Rocel is a believer of living life to the fullest through creating memories with her loved ones – family, friends and self. One of the things she enjoys doing with them is travelling where they get to experience new cultures, new cuisines, new stories to share and memories to look back. In 2018 alone, she travelled to 5 continents which exposed her to the world’s wonders. After all those trips, Japan is still one of her favorite countries because of its unique and rich culture and natural resources. She lived and studied in Tokyo, Japan for one year where she developed deeper love and appreciation towards the country.


Tokyo Localized provides visitors and travellers to Tokyo with a unique perspective of this great city, what makes us unique is that our tour guides live and work in Tokyo, have a passion for this city and love meeting and welcoming new faces. Find out more about our Unique Day and Night Tours of Tokyo - we can't wait to meet you!




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