Tokyo, the capital of Japan, mixes tradition and modernity as anywhere else in the world. The latest technologies beside ancient temples, the most eccentric fashion walks aover the neon lit streets with women wearing traditional kimonos…
If you want to know all sides of the city and do it in a very cheap way, you have to know some of the best free things to do in Tokyo, like admiring the best views of the city, visit some temples, discover the Imperial Palace and learn more about the sumo.
1. The Metropolitan Government Building is home to the local government and it is located in the Tokyo City Hall. It is the second tallest building in the city and we can access to the top without charge: there are two floors open to the public from those who want to admire the entire city.
2. The Sumo Wrestling Museum is adjacent to the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium. The exhibition includes photographs of all times, and a wide range of materials relating to the history of sumo, very important in Japanese culture.
3. Japanese Imperial Palace, better known as Kokyo, is the residence of the Emperor, so that most rooms of the palace cannot be visited, except two of days per year when you can get inside: the Emperor’s birthday (23rd December) and New Year’s Day (2nd January).
4. The Imperial Palace East Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens in Tokyo. This is the most visited part of the Imperial Palace and it also also has an art museum that houses the collection of Emperor Showa. One of the most popular rides is what can be done around the exterior walls of the palace, which has an area of about 5 km.
5. Yoyogi Park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo and it was used as the main Olympic Village at the Olympics in 1964. Today it is a popular retirement park, especially on Sundays, when it is used as a meeting place to play music, martial arts, cycling …
6. The Meiji Jingu Shrine, located in Shibuya, in a forest covering an area of 700,000 m² with trees of 365 different species. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken and consists of two main areas: The Naien (inner enclosure) and Gaien (outdoor).
7. Tsukiji Shijo Market is the largest wholesale market of seafood and fish in the world and it has become one of the most visited by foreigners. It is located near the station Tsukijishijo and it has two distinct areas: the “inner market” is the licensed wholesale market. The “outer market” is a mixture of wholesale and retail shops that sell Japanese kitchen tools, restaurant supplies and many restaurants, especially sushi restaurants.
8. Ueno Park is one of the largest tourist and recreational areas in the city for both Japanese and foreign people, for within its limits are the Tokyo National Museum, the National Science Museum of Japan, National Museum of Western Art, a concert hall, the Toshogu chapel, the Pond and also, the Ueno Zoo. This park is the traditional place to observe Hanami, the cherry blossom in a very special celebration that usually takes place in late March to early April.
9. Zojo-ji Shrine is a Buddhist temple located in the district of Minato. It has a fairly large main building and inside there is a statue of Amida Buddha.
10. Asakusa is one of the most popular districts of the city, it has a large number of temples, traditional ryokan and a large number of shops frequented by locals.
If you also want to spend too little money to eat without giving up traditional Japanese dishes, there are a large number of cheap restaurants in Tokyo, as izakaya, Japanese traditional restaurants where meals are shared among the guests, a selection of traditional drinks and private rooms with tatami floor, following the ancient Japanese style.
Teyandei, a small restaurant hidden in a house lets you choose the type of seat or hori-kotatsu mat. Some of the delicious dishes you can enjoy here are the fish carpaccio, fried yam and sushi rolls.
Tsuki no Shizuku is located in the Ginza subway station, is a cozy restaurant where you can taste delicacies such as sashimi, chicken fingers and wasabi. You can sit in a bar garn or choose a private tatami room and Bistro 35 Steps is possibly the best izakaya in the city, it serves generous portions for just 5 €. Some of the most popular dishes are the tuna tartare with avocado and green onion and mackerel cooked in front of customers.