Studying in Japan and keen on exploring Tokyo on a budget?
Planning your graduation trip in Tokyo with your university friends and trying to save as much money as possible?
Still studying and hoping to visit Tokyo and make your money stretch as far as you can?
Well then, this post is for you.
The Land of the Rising Sun is an amazing and eye-opening travel destination. Yet many people, especially broke students, are daunted to make a trip there because they perceive that Japan is a highly costly place to travel to. Tokyo, being Japan’s capital, is noted for being one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in for foreigners.
Is it possible to tour Tokyo cheaply? Sure it is. However, you just have to be aware of cheap hacks to get around Tokyo. In fact, whether or not you are in Tokyo for a day or a week, there are several free things you can do while touring Tokyo! Let’s start exploring!
#1: Visit The ADMT Advertising Museum Tokyo
This museum focuses on Japanese advertising from captivating woodblock prints during the Edo period in the 17th century to contemporary digital advertising techniques. While the museum currently does not have lots of English explanations, the visual displays can speak for themselves. Browse through historical advertisements and enjoy highly acclaimed commercials for the past thirty years or so using the touch-screen technology provided at the museum.
#2: Get Your Toast Of Sake At The Japanese Sake and Shochu Information Centre
Originally called ‘Sake Plaza’, the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Centre offers visitors an assortment of information about Japanese alcohol. The centre moved to its present location in late August 2016 and its space boasts of a spacious and contemporary vibe. modern but welcoming. Bury yourself in the abundance of information about the various types of Japanese sake. If you just want to head straight for a cup of sake at the sake tasting area, go for it!
#3: Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the Imperial Palace
Meander your way along the paths and moats dotting Tokyo’s Imperial Palace for nostalgic views of its medieval vestiges. The distance surrounding the palace grounds is about 5 kilometres and is a hit with local joggers. Thus, if you want to shed some calories while relishing the views, this could be just the spot for you. You may want to explore The Imperial Palace East Gardens that include the honmaru and ninomaru, the former innermost circles of the castle. Wide lawns and seasonal flora enliven these innermost palace grounds. If you are here during the sakura (cherry blossom season)- there is good news! The Chidorigafuchi Moat in spring is truly a sight to behold as the path surrounding the moat is typically bedecked by awe-inspiring and Insta-worthy cherry blossoms.
#4: Witness the tuna auction at Toyosu Market
If you are an early bird, check out the famous tuna auction at Tokyo’s Toyosu Market. This auction begins at around 5:30am and lasts for about one hour. If you apply in advance here, you can even join the limited number of visitors who can witness the auction from a viewing platform near the market floor. After the auction, you are free to stroll around the huge complex with the help of this visitor’s guide here and learn about the history behind its predecessor, Tsukiji Market, otherwise known as the world’s greatest fish market.
#5: Enjoy a panoramic view of Tokyo at Carrot Tower
If you want to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Tokyo, head to Carrot Tower. This tower got its name from the building’s orange colour and houses a free observation deck on the 26th floor. Sit in the welcoming sofas on the observation deck and if you are fortunate, you might even see a spectacular view of Mt Fuji on a clear day.
#6: Luxuriate in a Japanese landscape garden at the Hotel New Otani
Want to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo? Well, head to the Hotel New Otani’s Japanese landscape garden that is open for both guests and non-guests alike. Visitors can bask in the sprawling garden that dates back around 400 years and catch glimpses of a tranquil rock garden with stones from Sado Island and even admire maple leaves that gleam in crimson red in autumn. After sunset, the garden is illuminated for easy navigation.
#7: Go Boating On A Japanese Wooden Boat
Traditional Japanese wooden boats known as wasen were used to transport goods and people along Tokyo’s many rivers during the Edo period. To preserve the tradition of the wasen and its rowing techniques, the Wasen Tomo no Kai association offers free rides on these boats once or twice weekly. Simply advance towards the Yokojukken-gawa Shinsui Park in Koto to enjoy a ride of around 20 minutes on the canal without a booking. The staff can teach you how to use the ro, a wooden propulsion tool that is deemed to be more efficacious than rowing a boat with a typical oar.
Touring Tokyo does not have to be depressingly expensive. It is still highly possible to explore this mind-blowing city without having to fork out a single yen. Hopefully, with these places in mind as a launchpad, you can plan out your ideal Tokyo itinerary and have a blast!