Budget Things to Do in Tokyo

December 13, 2012 by

Things To Do, Top Attractions, Travel Tips

Imperial Palace, Nijubashi Bridge

Imperial Palace, Nijubashi Bridge

Tokyo has a reputation as being an expensive city but the reality is you can have a really great time and see the majority of the city’s major attractions without spending too much. Let us show you how:

Free attractions

Some of Tokyo’s (and Japan’s) best attractions are free to visit. Check out:

  • Tsukiji Fish Market
  • Imperial Palace East Garden
  • Harajuku and Yoyogi Park
  • Tokyo parks and gardens
  • Temples & Shrines: Don’t miss Senso-ji (in Asakusa) and Meiji Shrine, in Yoyogi Park.
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building: Why pay for the views when they come free from the 45thfloor of the Tokyo Met building.
  • Free Museums: Try the Sumo Museum, the Beer Museum and the Parasite Museum, and that’s for starters
  • Enjoy window shopping, people-watching and famous Tokyo views in Shibuya; Shinjuku; Ginza; Akihabara; Asakusa and Odaiba.


You can eat like a King in Tokyo on a pauper’s wage if you know where to look. Most coffee shops in Japan offer a good value ‘set breakfast,’ which usually includes a tea or coffee, a pastry, sandwich or bagel, a small salad or a piece of fruit. For lunch, eat local food and seek out cafes and restaurants that cater to a student or business lunch crowd. Dine on ramen or sushi one day and surprisingly delicious ‘vending machine’ curry, the next. Alternatively, seek out some packaged, ready-to-eat meals at the local 7-eleven. Fill up at lunchtime and save money by nibbling on some filling snacks like yakitori (meat skewers) at the local izakaya (pub) at night.

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Tokyo tours, Tokyo attractions, and Tokyo travel recommendations.


Accommodation will no doubt be the biggest chunk out of your budget but it doesn’t have to be! Sanya (north of Asakusa) has plenty of no-frills budget sleeps.


Purchase a Japan Rail Pass. Buy the pass before you arrive in Japan and enjoy unlimited travel on all Japan rail, subway and buses. It really pays for itself if you intend to ride on Shinkansen (bullet trains) and take a few side trips outside Tokyo.

- Emma McMahon

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