FREE Tokyo

Written by  Kat Mackintosh

In Tokyo you often have to pay a lot to get a little – especially when it comes to space – a true commodity. But though you may be hard pressed to find a hotel room you can spread out in there is such a thing as a free lunch…and free entertainment…and free panoramic views, among other freebies.

Before you worry about a free lunch first you have to get a free breakfast – which can be had at the Tsukiji Fish Market. The day begins early here, but if you have a stomach that can handle fish for breakfast you’ll be more than satisfied, there are lots of complimentary tasters. In fact you could have three square meals a day worth of taste testers in Tokyo, the big department stores like Mitsukoshi in districts like Ginza and Shibuya, have a smorgasbord of treats for you to try, usually proffered by charming girls with trays.

While you’re in Ginza you can even have a free go on the latest techno games and gadgets at the Sony Showroom and if you like it hyper-modern head over to the Suginami Animation Museum, the Mecca of anime.

After gorging yourself on fresh seafood or tasty tasters, adjourn, for free, to one of Tokyo’s parks. Yoyogi Park is a heart of quiet green to Tokyo’s pumping life blood, it has a forested area and grass that you’re welcome to picnic on – and even one of the only places in Tokyo where you can take your dog off the leash. At the heart of the heart is the authentically atmospheric Meiji Shrine, one of Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrines, which also charges no admission fee. Ueno Park is another local favourite, especially in cherry blossom season where it’s the place to have your cherry blossom viewing parties. On SundaysYoyogi Park shakes of its calm attitude as it’s invaded by people practicing music, dance and martial arts, so you’ll also get free entertainment. The park is also conveniently located for a Sunday stroll round the brightly materialistic streets and stalls of HarajukuSunday is the day the kids come in their most outlandishly themed fashions.

Reeling from new Tokyo you can change your pace by seeing more of old Tokyo for free at the Sumo Wrestling Museum next door to the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Stadium. You have to pay to see a match but if you come in the morning you can buy cheap day passes and upgrade yourself to better seats until the stadium fills for the bigger bouts. Nearby is the Kanto Earthquake Museum, which offers free insight into the events of the 1923 earthquake responsible for more than a hundred thousand deaths. It sounds grand, but the Imperial Palace East Gardens are a nice place for a free stroll, another green and peaceful place amongst the traffic. There’s also a free art exhibition.

To cap off a free Tokyo day catch the lift up to the 48th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for the perfect panoramic view of the city that you had for nothing!

Top Tokyo

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