free things to do in tokyo
Jog or pedal around the Imperial Palace
. Slip on your sneakers and join the joggers following the broad moats and park paths that surround the Imperial Palace. On Sundays there are also 150 free bikes offered for pedalling along the Palace Cycling Course (jbpi.or.jp).
Cast your bid for Tsukiji
. Want to witness the famous tuna auctions of Tsukiji Market? Then set your alarm for well before 5am when registration for the maximum of 120 daily viewing places starts. If you arrive later in the morning there is still a lot to see. Check the website (tsukiji market.or.jp) before setting off as the market doesnt operate every day. Note also that the market is moving to a new location late 2016.
. Follow in the footsteps of countless pilgrims by approaching Sens? ji Tokyos most famous Buddhist temple in Asakusa along Nakamise d?ri. The way is lined with colourful stalls selling all manner of souvenirs from giant rice crackers to exquisitely decorated battledores.
. The neighbourhood ofHarajuku is also great eye candy. Stroll ginko tree lined Omote sand? a glam boulevard of up scale boutiques housed in contemporary architecture; check out the arty explosion at funky Design Festa gallery; or pose and dance along with the youth subcultures around Yoyogi k?en(Yoyogi Park).
Chill out inMeiji jing
. When Harajuku threatens sensory overload escape to the densely wooded grounds that envelope the capitals premier Shint? shrine Meiji jing?. Come on festival days to spot guys and gals in gorgeous kimonos.
Oh my Odaiba
. This island of reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay is linked to the city by the Rainbow Bridge. Walk over the 918m long single span suspension bridge to or from Odaiba where weather permitting you can sunbathe on an artificialbeach and view an 11m replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Watch washi making
. Lessons in the art of paper folding are offered for a feeat the Origami Kaikan but you can view artisans makingwashi(Japanese paper) in the workshop here and peruse the gallery for nix.
Do theShibuya scramble
. Every few minutes a wave of humanity flowsacross Shibuya Crossing. Join the masses or stand back and watch. An ideal vantage point is the bridge corridor linking Shibuya Station with the Shibuya Mark City complex. Here you can also viewMyth of Tomorrow a monumental piece of modern art by Okamoto Tar?.
Advertising Museum Tokyo
. One of the Tokyosmost interesting free museums is the Advertising Museum Tokyo(ADMT). The montage displays of old ads provide an illuminating visual history of commerce in Japan over the last century or so.
Geek culture inAkihabara
. Die hard fans of Atom Boy Evangelion and Gundam will want to swing by the Tokyo Anime Centeras part of their explorations of Akihabara (aka Akiba) geek central for electronic goods emporiums maid cafes and all things anime and manga.
Contemporary art crawl
. Based in a former junior high school near Akihabara is 3331 Arts Chiyoda hosting a score of free contemporary art galleries offering a mix of exhibitions and interactive installations. Also worth searching out are the galleries of the Bakuchoro area several of which including Taro Nasu Gallery (taronasugallery.com) are gathered in the Agata Takezawa Building.
Political junkie tour
. Art and anime not your thing? Then how about a free tour of Japans seat of governance the National Diet to view the wood panelled leather bound and gilded interiors and the gardens planted with species from across the country.
. Beautiful foliage and horticultural skills can be admired in Tokyos traditional gardens. Free to enter gardens include those attached to the Hotel New ?taniin Akasaka and theHotel Chinzanso as well as the lush grounds of Happ? en near Shirokanedai Station and the Imperial Palace East Garden. Tokyo also has excellent public parks from the centralYoyogi k?en to Inokashira k?enin west Tokyo(near the Ghibli Museum).
Attend a festival
. Almost every weektheres amatsuri(festival)of some kind on somewhere in Tokyo from cherry blossom viewing parties to fire walking and grand parades of costumed participants holding aloftmikoshi(portable shrines). For details of upcoming events see gotokyo.org.
Amble around Yanesen
. The streets of Yanaka Nezu and Sendagi three areas collectively known as Yanesen provide an idea of what pre WWII Tokyo was like. Here youll find small temples and shrines craft shops galleries and cafes and Yanaka reien one of the citys oldest graveyards. Interesting galleries include SCAI the Bathhouse in a 200 year old public bath.
Watch sumo practice
. Even if you cant make a sumo tournament you can seesumo wrestlers going through theirtraining drills at a sumo stable such asArashio Stable where visitors watchthe morning practice session (asa keiko) through windows on the street.
Graze a depachika
. The nickname for department store basement food halls isdepachika. Theyre mouthwatering places to explore and you can sate your appetite with the free samples on offer. Good ones to target include Isetan in Shinjuku Mitsukoshi in Ginza and Takashimaya in Nihombashi.
Play with tomorrows technology
. No need to resort to industrial espionage:Sonyand Toyotahave public showrooms displaying their latest gadgets and technology. Sonys showroom occupies a prominent corner in Ginza while Toyota ison Odaiba. And for the latest in plumbing check out the showcase at Toto creatorsof the Washlet automated toilet seat/bidet.
Public artand architecture inRoppongi
. This fabled nightlife hood is also a treat to explore in daylight. Theres plenty of public art scattered around the glitzy commercial complexes of Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown as well as dazzling contemporary architecture at the National Art Center Tokyo.
. Need an excuse to get cosy with a loved (or potential loved) one? Then follow a Tokyo trend by escorting your squeamish partner on a date to the creepy Meguro Parasitological Museum displaying record breaking tapeworms and gruesome photos of their victims.
Get high on an observation deck
. Survey the city 202m above ground from the observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on a clear day you may catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji.Come at dusk to catch spectacular sunsets and the city burst into neon lit action.