Travel is one of the best things to spend your money on, in my opinion - but it does get expensive fast. When you're paying for flights and accommodation to get somewhere, it's nice if you can do some fun things at your destination that don't cost a small fortune. And honestly - what's better than fun stuff that is absolutely free?
Here are 8 things that you can check out around Tokyo that won't dip into your travel budget - and still give you a great feel for the city!
For your view of the city
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree will also give you a view, but they will chew up your yen in the process. For a free (and awesome) view across Tokyo, head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It's particularly beautiful in the evenings when everything is lit up across the city. Check out their website here
for more information about getting there and opening hours.
For your green space
Some parks like Shinjuku Gyoen do actually charge a small admission fee. For a beautiful freebie (that is nice and close to Harajuku, an excellent spot to wander around!) head to Yoyogi Park. My favorite thing about Yoyogi is that often on weekends, they have fun festivals in the park - food festivals, cultural events, little markets - the list goes on!
For the foodie
Want to appreciate where a large portion of the seafood you're indulging in comes from? Look no further than Tsukiji Market. The hustle and bustle, and the sights, sounds (and even scents) of the market are a bit of a sensory overload, in the best kind of way. Do remember that this is a work site - and there are a lot of people zipping around on motorized vehicles - so try and stay out of the way and don't block the streets (they move FAST!)
If you do want to spend some yen on a delicious breakfast, there are LOADS of seafood restaurants in the Tsukiji area - talk about the freshest of the fresh.
For the culture and history buff
Tour of the Imperial Palace
If you're interested in the culture and history of Japan, a great freebie is the Imperial Palace tour. You do need to apply to tour the palace (you can do this online at the website here
) but it's a very unique experience all for free. It's a very memorable time to visit the Palace too, since the current Emperor of Japan will be abdicating his throne and handing it over to his son (Crown Prince Naruhito) by the end of 2018. The Imperial Palace is located close to Tokyo Station, which is a fun place to look around as well - the station is in a beautiful building!
For an incredible temple
Senso-Ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo and a very interesting spot to visit. You can combine some window shopping with this outing at Nakamise Dori, the shopping street that you walk along as you head to the temple. The Asakusa area where the temple is located in is also a great one to walk around, and just soak up the city. Fun fact: Asakusa used to be the Yakuza's gambling den in Tokyo during the Edo Period!
For an understanding of how busy Tokyo truly is
Shibuya Scramble at peak hour
Tokyo is an electric city at the best of times - there's always something happening and it is a city that really does feel alive. For the full effect of just how busy Tokyo is, head to Shibuya Scramble around peak time - when everyone is either headed to work or headed home. It's a great spot to snap some pictures, with all the billboards and lights and the movement of people. One of the quintessential representations of Tokyo if you ask me!
For the shopaholic
Window shop in Omotesando (for those with expensive tastes!) or Harajuku
Omotesando has some of the ritziest stores in all of Tokyo, and a beautiful tree lined street at the heart of it. Whilst saving your yen might mean that you can't indulge in that several thousand dollar Prada handbag, it's nice to dream, right?
If expensive designer brands aren't really your thing, Harajuku is right next door to Omotesando, for some more quirky store offerings to look around at!
For the museum lover
Tickets to sumo events can be pricey, and the events are only on at certain times of the year (and they're not always in Tokyo). If you want to learn a bit more about the rich cultural history behind sumo wrestling, head here to the Sumo Museum. They have a bunch of interesting displays telling you all about the sport's history - without setting you back a single yen! You can check out their website here
for more information.
Tokyo can be done on a budget - and best of all, without feeling like you're missing out on any of the fun or the culture that this city has to offer.
Happy travels, and enjoy Japan!