10 Great Free Attractions in Tokyo that your travel agent wont tell you about!
1) Zen Training at the Toshoji International Zen Center
Try a free session of Gyoten-Zazen (meditation), with a 5 a.m. start at the Toshoji International Zen Center or a Zen Training meeting at 6 a.m.
2) Tokyo Imperial Palace Guided Tour
Entrance to the Imperial Palace East Gardens is free. You can also book a free guided tour through the Imperial Household Agency website.
3) Towering Cityscapes
In a city of skyscrapers, there are several vantage points to choose from.The 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku is the most popular, but you can also get your fix of cityscapes at the 47th floor of the Seiroka Tower (the St Luke’s Garden Observatory) or the 30th floor of the Shinjuku NS Building Observatory.
4) Kichijoji (Bazaar) Market
Located on the opposite side of Kichijoji station is the Inokashira Park and every weekend around the Inokashira Park, there is a great free Arts & Craft Market full of all kinds of interesting things, including jugglers, live comic book readers, art & craft sales and more.
5) The Sumo Museum
The Sumo Wrestling Museum is free and gives an insight into the heftiest of Japan’s national pastimes. For more sumo action visit a sumo stable to watch wrestlers train.
6) Tokyo in Bloom
No visit to Tokyo in April would be complete without viewing the cherry blossoms. Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, the Aoyama Cemetery all offer free access.
7) Tour of the National Diet of Japan
Nothing to do with sushi, the Diet Building is the seat of Japan’s lower and upper houses of parliament (“the Diet”). You can take a free guided tour (in Japanese) of the House of Councillors by filling out a form at reception.
8 ) Cosplayers in Action
Take a walk around Harajuku district (or the painfully trendy Omotesando strip) to take in the Harajuku kids dressed up in their animé-inspired outfits, their far-fetched or extremely cute costumes. Yoyogi Park is also a prime cosplayer-observation site.
9) ‘Japanimation’ — the Suginami Animation Museum
This free museum is in an area home to several animation studios. Watch animé archives, see demonstrations of animation creation and admire the galleries of animé artwork.
10) Meiji Shinto Shrine
Located just ten minute from both the southern entrance near Harajuku Station and the northern entrance near Yoyogi Station. The huge torii gates and approximately 100,000 tree that make up the Meiji Jingu forest makes the Meiji Jingu Shrine one of the Japan’s most popular shrines and on a lucky day you may even spot a real Japanese wedding ceremony.