What to do in Tokyo for FREE!

Tokyo doesn’t have to be expensive. There are super fun free things to do all over the place, if you just know where to look. Shrines and temples dish up quirky specialties and entertaining festivals, parks put on seasonal flower extravaganzas (year-round, not just in cherry blossom season!) and wandering through the right stores is a fascinating cultural experience even if you don’t buy anything.

Click on the photo or the links below for details.

SEASONAL FREEBIES

FREE ONLY-IN-JAPAN EXPERIENCES

• Watch the rockabillies, contact jugglers, skateboarding beagle, slackliners, traditional japanese storytelling, and other free entertainment at Yoyogi Park EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

• Walk around Kabuki-cho lit up at night

• Stroll around Asakusa lit up at night

• Watch a guy make custom bamboo ear cleaners at the Koshinzuka Street Market EVERY 4th, 14th & 24th OF THE MONTH

• Get your picture taken with The Honorable Duck Butt of Sugamo

• Follow the mysterious blue neon path through Akihabara

• Go see Tokyo Tower lit up at night

• Go for a walk by the Sumida River and see the bridges all lit up at night

• Cool off with the kids at the fog playground near Tokyo Dome City

• Catch a Japanese wedding procession at the Meiji Shrine SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS

• Go see Skytree lit up at night

• Gaze at the lights of Odaiba as you walk across the Rainbow Bridge

• Hike up Mt. Takao to see the beautiful autumn leaves & shrine at the top

ENTERTAINING SHRINES & TEMPLES

• Go see the beautiful wooden pagoda and make a wish on the lucky cat figures at Gotoku-ji temple

• Make a wish at the Anime Shrine

• Walk around the Anime Shrine lit up at night

• Double your money at the Zeni-arai Benten money-washing shrine in Kamakura

• Walk through a tunnel of glowing orange torii gates at the Nezu Shrine

• Get your wallet blessed by fire & drums at a Fukugawa Fudo temple fire ceremony

• Don’t miss seeing the biggest bronze Buddha in Japan

• Escape to a cool shrine grotto at the Zeni-arai Benten money-washing shrine in Kamakura

• Pray to meet your perfect match at the Imado Shrine

• Stroll beneath the giant torii gates at the Meiji Shrine

CULTURAL SHOPPING

• Spend a day browsing traditional goods at the Koshinzuka Street Market: dried snake tea, big red underwear

• Be amazed & tempted at a department store food hall

• Marvel at the incredible paper at the Origami Center

• Ogle the $10,000 hina matsuri girls’ day doll sets in Asakusa-bashi

• Wander through Tokyu Hands to see the weird products & inventions

• Check out the electronic toilets at an electronics superstore in Akihabara

• Browse  the plastic food stores on Kappabashi Street

• See the gnomes of enlightenment at the Loft store

• Lust after a wooden keyboard at the Aki-oka artisan co-op in Akihabara

• Discover weird and wonderful flavorings at the Flavor Store

• Find wacky Japanese souvenirs at Village Vanguard

• Bling your car with rhinestone encrusted accessories from the DAD store at the Men’s 109 store in Shibuya

• Check out the only-in-Japan products at the Don Kihote store

• Admire handicrafts from all over the country at the Japan Traditional Craft Center

• See crazy fan-built Lego models at the Lego store in Odaiba

• You won’t believe the weird stuff sold in vending machines at Yodabashi Camera

• Buy yourself a set of gnomes of enlightenment & other great only-in-Japan stuff at the Loft store

• Stock up on shocked socks on the Nakamise-dori shopping street outside Senso-ji temple

• Go to the Village Vanguard store & check out eye masks to that would definitely scare off crazy seatmates on your ride home

• Laugh at the sashimi stuffies and other weird only-in-Japan toys at Kiddyland

FREE SEASONAL EXTRAVAGANZAS

• Go see all the best cherry blossoms in Tokyo MAR 27 – APR 7

• Enjoy the best place places to see cherry blossoms lit up at night MAR 27 – APR 7

• Take a thousand photos of the azalea festival at the Nezu Shrine APR 1-30

• Stroll under the arbors of wisteria at the Kameido Shrine APR 24 – MAY 5

• Be blown away by fields of blooming iris JUN 1-15

• See over 3,000 blooming hydrangeas at the Ajisai festival JUN 6-14

• Enjoy the lotus flowers at Ueno Park’s Shinobazu pond JUL 1-31

• Go see the fields of blooming cosmos flowers at Showa Kinen Park EARLY TO MID-OCT

• Don’t miss seeing Tokyo’s amazing chrysanthemum displays OCT 13 – NOV 23

• Don’t miss the glories of the changing Japanese maple leaves from MID-NOV to LATE NOV

• The ginkgo alley at Aoyama-itchome is a famous promenade of golden gorgeousness from MID-NOV to EARLY DEC

Holiday illuminations more glorious than you’ve ever seen anywhere from NOV 15 – JAN 31

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