Tokyo has been considered as one of the most expensive cities in the world for many years. The cost of travel in the megalopolis is extremely higher than that in other Asian cities that may prevent tourists from enjoying completely their trip. However, there are various ways to have the best experience in the amazing city if you are travelling on a budget. Before going on holiday, check out our list to make a plan to save your yen:
Try the famous Shibuya crossing
Photo by Richard Schneider
The biggest and busiest crossing of Tokyo is at the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station. When the traffic lights turn red, hundreds of pedestrians cross the streets at the same time from different directions in an organized chaos. You can stand at the nearby Tsutaya’s second floor to capture the moment.
The famous intersection attracts many tourists and lots of them also join the moving crowd. When you are in Tokyo, try to walk the intersection to feel the city’s pulse.
Watching tuna auction at Tsukiji Fish Market
Photo by Greg Palmer
As one of the world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji is a popular tourist attraction in the capital of Japan. If you don’t mind waking up early, be there at around 3 a.m. and register to be one of 120 people in the day watching the tuna auction for free. You should wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes such as sneakers and boots, and are not allowed to take photos with flash.
If not, you can be there at 9 a.m. and walk around the well-known market to see the daily activities of the locals and have a bite of sushi made from fresh seafood taken directly from the market.
The market is scheduled to relocate at the end of this year, so make sure you have visited it before that time.
Paying respect at Meiji Shrine
Photo by Steve Cadman
Located not too far from the noisy Harajuku, the Shinto shrine adjacent to Yoyogi Park make up a large forested area, where tourists can walk around to enjoy the fresh air and get relaxed. Meiji Shrine was built in 1920 as a dedication to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. You can participate in several activities, such as making offerings in the main hall and writing your wishes on a wooden plate (500 yen) before hanging it on the tree.
Remember to check its official website so that you can have an opportunity to be there on the days its daily, monthly or annual ceremonies take place.
Enjoy a panoramic view of Tokyo
Photo by David Rutledge
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku often welcomes many tourists for its free observation decks which provide a stunning view of Tokyo. The 243-meter building has two towers and the observatories can be found in their 45th floor. From there, you can have a panorama of the city and on clear days, you can see famous attractions including Fuji Mountain, Tokyo Skytree, Meiji Shrine and the Tokyo Dom. The North Observatory remains open later at night, so you can get there to take photos of Tokyo’s sparkling lights.
Visiting some of the city’s free museums
Photo by www.chubbychinesegirleats
Tokyo provides a variety of museums with free access for tourists. Pick up some of them if you want to know more about the country and the city:
- The Bank of Japan Currency Museum; 1-3-1 Nihonbashi Hongokucho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- The Tokyo Kite Museum; the Fifth Floor inside of TAIMEIKEN Restaurant, 1-12-10 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- The Sumo Museum; 1-3-28 Yoko-ami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
- The Museum of Advertising and Marketing; 1-8-2 Higashi-Shimbashi, Caretta Shiodome, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- The Suginami Animation Museum; 3-29-5 Kamiogi Suginami-ku, Tokyo
- The Meguro Parasitological Museum; 4-1-1 Shimo-Meguro, Meguro 153-0064, Tokyo
- The Tokyo Gas Science Museum; 6 Chome-1-1 Toyosu, Koto, Tokyo
Discovering Tokyo in a free guided tour
Photo by Shinji N
Tokyo is home to many beautiful places and the great way that you can fully discover it is going around the large city under the guide of a local. Free tour guides in the city are provided by some organizations such as the Tokyo Free Guide (http://www.tokyofreeguide.org/) and the Goodwill Guides, who registered with the Japan National Tourism Organization. The volunteer guide groups offer tourists local tours in English and in other languages. You don’t have to pay anything except the guides’ travel expense and their facility admissions, and also for their meals if you eat with them.
Visiting some of the city’s lovely gardens and parks
Photo by Fraser Graham
There are many beautiful gardens and parks in Tokyo and you should not miss them. The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, which is open to the public at 9 a.m. except Mondays and Fridays, is a very nice place to walk around. It is a part of the Imperial Place and houses the foundations of the former Edo castle and massive castle moats. You can also find a museum housing Emperor Showa’s art collection inside.
Besides, if you visit Tokyo during the cherry blossom season, don’t forget to check out Ueno Park - one of the most popular and lively spots with more than 1,000 cherry trees in the central pathways.
Tokyo is not a budget-friendly city but like all cities, there is something affordable if you know how. Therefore, be prepared and enjoy your trip with our above recommendations!