Tokyo is a cracking city, packed to the brim with activities to keep you entertained. But let’s face it, those yen can vanish quicker than you can say ‘sumimasen’. If you’re keen to save a few dollars while still having a blast, why not check out some of the top free things to do in Tokyo? From serene parks to quirky cultural spots, Tokyo’s got you covered without breaking the bank. So, let’s dive into this list and uncover the best gratis adventures the city has to offer!

Your Go-To List of the Free Things to Do in Tokyo

1. Tocho Observatory

Free things to do in Tokyo Tocho observatory

The best way to get a real feel for a city is to take in all its sights, but sometimes you can miss out on the most iconic landmarks if you’re stuck inside a building, like Skytree or Tokyo Tower. Luckily, the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku offers a solution. It’s one of Tokyo’s tallest structures, boasting an observatory level where you can catch panoramic views of all your favourite landmarks. And here’s the kicker – unlike Skytree’s ¥2,000 entrance fee or Tokyo Tower’s ¥1,200 charge, the Tocho observatory won’t cost you a penny!

2. Illuminations

Free things to do in Tokyo Illuminations

One of the things I absolutely adore about Tokyo is how they deck out the city in illuminations as winter rolls in, making Tokyo even more magical than it already is. Especially as Christmas approaches, you’ll find special illuminations all over the place, with Roppongi being a hotspot for dazzling displays!

3. Shrines and Temples

Free things to do in Tokyo Shrines and temples

Japan is a treasure trove of culture, and one of the most beautiful aspects is the abundance of impressive shrines and temples waiting to be explored. Visiting these spiritual sites is an absolute must when you’re in Tokyo. For a taste of history, head to Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa – it’s the oldest temple in Tokyo and offers plenty to see and do in the surrounding area. Trust me, it’s worth the visit!

4. Free Galleries and Museums

Free things to do in Tokyo Galleries and museums that are free

This list also includes a few museums and galleries where entry won’t cost you a thing. It’s a fantastic chance to admire some of Japan’s finest artefacts or soak in the creativity of modern art without spending a single yen!

5. Scai Bathhouse

Free things to do in Tokyo Scai Bathhouse


Ever heard of the Scai bathhouse? It’s undergone a fascinating transformation into a modern art gallery, hosting exhibitions from various contemporary artists. Keep an eye on their website to see what’s on display when you’re in town. With three venues across Tokyo – the Scai Bathhouse, Scai Park, and Scai Piramide – there’s plenty of artistic inspiration to go around.

6. Seasonal Flower Displays

Free things to do in Tokyo Visit seasonal flowers

Japan’s seasons each have their own unique charm, but one thing you can enjoy almost all year round is the abundance of seasonal flowers. While spring boasts the most blooms, you can still track down some floral beauty during your visit outside of the season. Most parks showcase Japan’s stunning flora, so don’t forget to add them to your itinerary!

7. Tokyo’s Gorgeous Parks

Free things to do in Tokyo Visit one of Tokyo’s gorgeous parks

Despite Tokyo’s reputation as a concrete jungle, the city is peppered with fantastic parks. While some may charge a small fee for entry (usually between 200 and 800¥), the lush greenery and well-maintained grounds make it money well spent. Whether you’re there in spring or autumn, these parks offer a serene escape from the urban hustle and bustle.

8. Asakusa Culture and Tourist Information Center

Free things to do in Tokyo Asakusa Culture and Tourist Information Center

Over in Asakusa, you’ll find the Culture and Tourist Information Centre. Not only does it offer multilingual assistance in Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese, but it’s also a masterpiece designed by Kengo Kuma, the architectural genius behind the 2020 Tokyo Olympic main stadium. This spot is more than just a tourist hub – it boasts an observatory deck, event space, café, free Wi-Fi, and other handy amenities. Definitely swing by before you set off on your Asakusa adventures!

9. Imperial Palace

Free things to do in Tokyo Imperial Palace

Near Tokyo Station lies the Imperial Palace, the official residence of Japan’s emperor and his family. While not much remains of the Edo period castle that once stood here, the palace grounds are open to the public and offer plenty to explore. You can even join free walking tours of the beautiful gardens – a perfect way to immerse yourself in Japan’s rich history.

10. The National Diet of Japan

Free things to do in Tokyo National Diet of Japan

If you’ve got a knack for politics or simply appreciate stunning architecture, pay a visit to the National Diet in Chiyoda. It’s where Japan’s national legislature convenes, housing both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. Open to tourists on weekdays and free of charge, it’s a fascinating peek into Japan’s political landscape and architectural heritage.

11. Hotel New Otani Garden

Free things to do in Tokyo Hotel New Otani Garden

The New Otani Garden is hands down one of Tokyo’s most stunning parks! It’s got a bit of everything – from a serene Stone garden and Akadama stones to fossils dating back to the samurai era. Don’t miss the Seisen Koi pond and the picturesque ‘Taikobashi’, a charming red-arched bridge smack dab in the middle of the park. No matter the season, this garden is an absolute gem. Make sure to add it to your list of free things to do in Tokyo for a refreshing nature break from the hustle and bustle of the city!

12. Galaxy & teamLab: Catching and Collecting in the Sea of Life

Free things to do in Tokyo Galaxy & teamLab

Credits: teamLab

If you’re into interactive art, you’ve probably heard of TeamLab. They’ve joined forces with Galaxy to create a cool space in Harajuku, all about the sea and the fascinating world of fish. And here’s the kicker – if you’ve got a Galaxy smartphone, you can even catch virtual fish through your phone, study up on them, and then set them free back into the ‘sea’. Talk about immersive! Swing by this free exhibit and get a taste of what TeamLab is all about.

13. Intermediatheque

Free things to do in Tokyo Intermediatheque

Credits: Fred CherrygardenCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fancy a bit of a history lesson? Head over to the museum at JP Tower in Chiyoda, where you can explore a treasure trove of historical specimens and artefacts from the University of Tokyo. Best part? Entry won’t cost you a penny, so why not check it out?

14. Tokiwaso Manga Museum

Free things to do in Tokyo Tokiwaso Manga Museum

Credits: Tokyo-GoodCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a manga fan, you won’t want to miss the Tokiwaso Manga Museum in Toshima City. Once home to legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy, this place is now a shrine to all things manga. Dive into the world of comic book history and see where some of your favourite stories came to life.

15. Meiji University Museum

Free things to do in Tokyo Meiji University Museum

Credits: Meiji University X SDGs

Got a curiosity about crime and punishment in Japan? Make your way to Meiji University’s free museum and delve into Japan’s criminological past. Alongside impressive traditional handicrafts and cultural artefacts, you’ll get a glimpse into the grisly world of historical torture methods. It’s a hidden gem packed with Japanese history – definitely worth a visit!

16. Tokyo Waterworks Historical Museum

Free things to do in Tokyo Tokyo Waterworks Historical Museum

Ever wondered how Japan has been purifying its water since the Edo Period? Find out at the free waterworks museum in Bunkyo City. With over 400 years of history on display and free audio guides available in English, Korean, and Chinese, it’s a fascinating journey through Japan’s water infrastructure evolution.

17. Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan 

If you’re a fan of Japanese origami, you’ll love the Origami Kaikan in Yoshima. Browse through various types of Japanese paper, try your hand at some origami crafts, and maybe even pick up an origami kit of your own. It’s a paper lover’s paradise!

18. Eido Taito Traditional Crafts Center

Planning a day out in Asakusa? Take a detour to the Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center, just a stone’s throw from Sensoji Temple. Dive into the world of traditional Japanese handicrafts and maybe even join a workshop or two. The staff here are super knowledgeable, so don’t hesitate to ask questions!

19. ADMT Advertising Museum Tokyo 

Free things to do in Tokyo ADMT Advertising Museum Tokyo

Into advertising? Check out the Japanese Advertising Museum for a journey through centuries of ad history. From ancient woodblock prints to modern-day commercials, it’s a visual feast with over 100,000 digitised images. Just make sure to reserve your spot – admission is free, but slots fill up fast!

20. Suginami Animation Museum 

Free things to do in Tokyo Suginami Animation Museum

Credits: User:TokyoMontanaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Anime aficionado? Swing by the anime museum in Suginami City for a deep dive into the world of Japanese animation. Explore multiple floors with an audio-guided tour, catch screenings in the theatre, and browse through the extensive anime library. It’s a must-visit for any anime fan!

21. The Fire Museum 

Free things to do in Tokyo The Fire Museum

Credits: Syced, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Got kids who are all fired up about firemen? Swing by the Fire Museum in Shinjuku, just a stone’s throw from Yotsuya Station, and delve into the history of firefighting in Japan. You’ll find a fascinating array of firefighting trucks, suits, and even two helicopters you can climb aboard! And guess what? It won’t cost you a penny, so why not give it a go?

22. The Police Museum 

Free things to do in Tokyo The Police Museum

But why stop at firemen when you can also get the lowdown on Japan’s finest in blue? Head to the police museum for an eye-opening experience. Just remember, there’s a cap of 70 people allowed inside at any one time, so make sure to sign in at the front desk. Kids can pose for pics next to police vehicles and even try on a uniform for size!

23. Bank of Japan Currency Museum 

Free things to do in Tokyo Bank of Japan Currency Museum

Credits: 江戸村のとくぞうCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They say money makes the world go round, right? So why not dive into the history of Japanese currency at the Bank of Japan Currency Museum? From minted gold coins to bills from the Meiji Era, you’ll get a glimpse into Japan’s monetary evolution. Plus, you can check out the technology used to thwart counterfeiters today. Best part? It’s all free, so why not broaden your financial horizons?

24. JAL Hangar Tour and Sky Museum 

If you’ve ever jetted off with Japan Airlines (JAL), you’ll want to check out the JAL Hangar Tour and Sky Museum. Located right next to Haneda airport, this museum offers a peek behind the scenes at plane maintenance and repairs. With exhibitions, a viewing platform, and even an ‘Aviation School’, there’s plenty to keep aviation enthusiasts entertained. Just remember to book online in advance!

25. Japanese Sake and Shochu Information Centre

Feeling a bit fuzzy about sake and shochu? Swing by the Sake Information Centre for some enlightenment. While entry is free, you can opt for tasting sets or individual pours for a small fee. It’s a great way to sample different varieties and flavours from various provinces without breaking the bank.

26. Matsuris

Free things to do in Tokyo Matsuri

Ever wondered what the fuss is about Japanese festivals (matsuri)? Experience the magic firsthand by checking out the countless festivals held across Japan throughout the year. From traditional rituals to vibrant celebrations, there’s something for everyone. Keep an eye on our page for festival recommendations during your visit!

27. Watch a Sumo Practice

Free things to do in Tokyo Watch a Sumo Practice

Credits: amanderson2CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sumo wrestling fan? Catching a tournament might be tough, but you can still get a taste of the action at the Arashio-Beya sumo practice stable. Swing by between 7:30 am and 10 am most days to catch a glimpse of sumo wrestlers honing their skills. It’s a unique and immersive experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

28. Suntory Musashino Free Brewery Tour

Fancy a tour with a complimentary beer at the end? Head over to the Suntory Musashino Brewery tour in Fuchu. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Japan’s iconic beverages are made and enjoy a refreshing brew on the house. It might be a bit of a trek from central Tokyo, but hey, where there’s beer, there’s a way!

29. Toyosu Fish Market

Free things to do in Tokyo Toyosu fish market

Seaside lover or seafood fanatic? Make a beeline for the Toyosu Fish Market, Tokyo’s premier spot for the freshest catch. Don’t miss the famous tuna auction – just grab a free visitor’s pass and head up to the observatory deck for prime viewing. Just remember, the early bird catches the tuna, so arrive early for the best experience!

30. Free Boat Tours in Koto Ward

In Koto, near central Tokyo, you can hop aboard traditional boat tours along the Yokojikkengawa canals. Led by passionate volunteers, these tours offer a unique glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Just keep an eye on their schedule – these tours usually run once a week, so you won’t want to miss out on this educational adventure!

Budget-Friendly Tokyo Adventures Await!

These have been some of the top-notch things to do in Tokyo without spending a single yen! With a plethora of activities to choose from, you can keep yourself entertained for at least a whole week. Sure, some tours might require a bit of a journey from the city centre, but trust us, they’re worth it for the unique experiences they offer. So, which experience are you itching to try out the most? Let us know!