Tokyo has the distinction of being the world’s most expensive city, but you needn’t break the bank to visit. While a loaf of bread may set you back around US$9 according to this CNN Money report, there are a bunch of visitor attractions that are absolutely free. This is The Wild East top 5 free attractions worth visiting in Tokyo.
Choosing the top 5 was not an easy task. We had to exclude Mayo Terrace – a museum dedicated to mayonnaise, for example. If you have any recommendations for free stuff in Tokyo, please leave a comment at the bottom of the article.
#1 JP Tower Museum INTERMEDIATHEQUE
Operated jointly by Japan Post and University Museum, University of Tokyo, the Tower Museum Intermediateque, contains a permanent collection of specimens and artifacts collected by the University of Tokyo for academic research dating back to 1877.
Specimens include skeletons of animals, including whales, a giraffe, and many other large animals, wall charts used by the School of Medicine, archaeological artifacts, including a golden crown found in the Kuntur Wasi tombs, human fossils significant to understanding human evolution, and a collection of diamonds and gold nuggets.
The museum is located on the second and third floors of the historic former Central Tokyo Post Office building, about a one-minute walk from the Marunouchi South Exit of the JR Tokyo Station.
#2 Mega Web
An automobile theme park 5 minutes walk from Aomi Station, Yurikamome. Mega Web’s motto is “See, Ride, Feel.” The theme park is located in the Pallet Town shopping centre in Tokyo’s waterfront entertainment district of Odaiba, and has four sections. “History Garage” is a museum of historic and vintage vehicles, including a section devoted to motor sports. The “Restore Pit” allows visitors to see mechanics working on, and restoring vintage cars, and the History Garage has a shop selling model cars, and a cafe, bar, and lounge.
Kids can learn to drive a car in the “Ride Studio,” while mum and dad can test-drive the latest model Toyota cars in the “Ride One” section (at an extra cost of 300 yen, or around US$3). Ride One features a 1.3km test drive track.
“Toyota City Showcase” features the latest model Toyota vehicles, before they are released anywhere else. Visitors can see the cars, open the doors and get inside, and get a look at all the specifications. On the second floor are exhibits and information on Toyota’s next generation technologies related to hybrid cars, safety, and the environment.
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 9:00pm
#3 Meiji University Museum
Although Meiji University Museum has a Commodity Department, and an Archeology Department, it is most well-known for its Criminal Materials Department, which features torture and execution devices. Among its most popular exhibits are an iron maiden, and a guillotine.
Along with the western devices, the museum exhibits genuine artifacts from Japans past used in the restraint and punishment of criminals.
Meiji University Museum is a 5-minute walk Ochanomizu Station （JR Sobu Main Line / JR Chuo Main Line / Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line）.
#4 Suginami Animation Museum
A museum dedicated to the Japanese art of anime featuring characters such as Astro Boy. The Suginami Animation Museum covers the history of anime along with interactive experiences where visitors can get a hands-on feel for dubbing and character filming. There is a theater playing anime features and a workshop.
20 minutes walk from Ogikubo Station （JR Chuo Main Line / Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line）.
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed during New Year holidays and the day after national holidays.
#5 Edogawa Natural Zoo
A 15 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Tozai Line’s Nishi-Kasai Station, or a 20-minute walk from the Toei Subway Shinjuku Line’s Funabori Station, Edogawa Natural Zoo is located in Gyosen Park in Edogawa Ward. The zoo contains more than 30 species including red pandas, spider monkeys, seals, anteaters, wallabies, penguins, and birds of prey. There is a petting zoo where kids can pet rabbits and other animals including sheep and goats.
The surrounding park includes a traditional Japanese garden with a teahouse and pond.