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Free or Cheap Attractions in Tokyo

January 19, 2020
Tokyo was once one of the expensive places on the world to travel, and the destination was the cause of nail-biting anxiety for budget travelers. However, you will find that there is plenty to do in Tokyo that costs you next to nothing. Aside from the attractions that you can budget for, there are applicable discounts to make cheap travel in Tokyo more accessible than ever before.

Grutt Pass Museums

For those who love going to museums, Tokyo has an excellent deal for you: the Grutt Pass. You pay 2000 Yen and get free or discounted access to almost every major museum in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, including the following:
  • Ueno Zoological Gardens
  • National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT) -- also free admission on the first Sunday of every month!
  • Meguro Museum of Art
  • Yebisu Beer Museum
  • Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery
  • National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
  • Tokyo Sea Life Park
  • Ghibli Museum
  • Meguro Parasitological Museum – one of the world's only museums dedicated to parasites (yes, you read that correctly)
  • Sumo Museum in Ryogoku – Admission is already free
  • Suginami Animation Museum – Free admission

This is a huge savings, considering most adult tickets cost around 800-1000 Yen. 

That Temple and Shrine Life

One of the ways to immerse yourself in Japanese culture without paying is to visit shrines, temples, and the usually adjacent gardens or parks. Here are popular locations:
  • Sensoji in Asakusa – Walk beneath the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), Nakamise Dori shopping arcade, and eventually arrive at the entrance to this incredible Buddhist temple.
  • Meiji Jingu and Yoyogi Park in Harajuku – The grounds of both the shrine and park are absolutely beautiful year round. Be sure to bring a camera! Yoyogi Park is also one of the best places to people-watch in Tokyo. Buskers, Elvis impersonators, cosplayers, dog-walkers... you never know what you will find.
  • Kanda Myojin near Akihabara – This shrine has become popular with otaku and cosplayers. You can even buy talismans here to protect against computer hackers and identity theft.
  • Zojo-ji and Shiba Park – Get close to Tokyo Tower, take stunning shots of the beautiful temple and grounds covered in red-capped statues, and wander Shiba Park. It's even better when the sun sets!

Of course, visiting the shrines and temples also means stumbling upon random festivals, shopping arcades, and other elements of the Tokyo lifestyle.

Visit the Japanese Sake Information Centre

So you want to try Japanese sake but don't feel like spending loads at an izakaya (traditional Japanese bar). At the Japanese Sake Information Centre, you not only get an in-depth look at the culture surrounding the process of making and drinking this alcoholic beverage, you can also get free tastings too. There's no reason not the check this place out.

Stunning Night Views

One of the things that all visitors should do (unless you are afraid of heights) is see the nighttime skyline of Tokyo. Now, many observation decks are expensive to access, but there is one place where you get a fantastic view for free – the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (also known as Tokyo City Hall), is an amazing place to see the glitter of Tokyo's night. You can access the 45th floors of the twin towers within 55 seconds from 9:30 AM to 11:00 PM. On a nice day, you can also snap pictures of this photogenic building from the nearby Shinjuku Chuo Park.

Budget travel through Tokyo is not only doable, it's super entertaining! Blaze your own trail. Live like a local. And if you are worried about the cost of airfare to Tokyo, don't forget to seize the best deals by using Flyavel! Save your money for souvenirs and splurging on experiences, not travel costs.

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