How to Visit Tokyo Cheaply

Tokyo promises to be many things: exciting, crowded, confusing, and electric. But as anyone who has ever visited knows this city is not cheap. That doesn’t mean you should skip it, though! Tokyo has many charms that can be had without spending a penny. All it takes is some pre-planning and preparation on your part. One expenditure that can get out of hand is a hotel room in Tokyo. Fear not, for here’s a list of cheap hotels in Tokyo to keep your overhead low.

Once you’ve booked the room, it’s time to plan your itinerary. What excites you most? Here are a few options of varied activities that Tokyo offers for free at select times and locations, so use a free and handy app like TripIt to keep yourself organized and saving as much money as possible.

Image courtesy of Yoshikazu Takada from Flickr

Image courtesy of Yoshikazu Takada from Flickr

Play Pretend at the Emergency Simulator

If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like when a major earthquake hits, make your way to the Tokyo Fire Department where you can take a free first aid course, learn about what to do in an emergency, and the fun part step into the earthquake simulator! Feel the ground rock and roll below you and see if you can keep your calm and remember the instructions. It’s a giant virtual reality game for all, and it costs nothing. Check the Tokyo Fire Department website for current open hours before you make your trip there, though.

Get a Tour Guide Free

Even though it’s touted as costly, Tokyo still has some secret gems and one of those is the Tokyo Free Guide. As the name suggests, this is an organization of people from all walks of life who want to share their city with visitors. You can book a guide on their website and select your preferred language and you will be paired up with a guide whose interests match yours. Getting firsthand insight into the culture of Tokyo is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and they’re offering it for free. Of course at the end of your tour it is customary to give a token of appreciation for the time spent and friendship started.

Hop on the Panda

No, not a real panda the Panda Bus. If there’s anything more adorable and appropriate than a panda bus in Tokyo, we can’t think of it right now. The Panda Bus picks up in Asakusa and does a big loop, returning to its starting point so you can get a lay of the land, a feel for how the city moves, and sit in adorable seats that have panda ears sewn onto the sides. What could be more fun?

Image courtesy of Meredith P. from Flickr

Image courtesy of Meredith P. from Flickr

Stroll the Flea Markets

There’s no better way to get in touch with the people of the city than to see what they show up to sell at flea markets. Everything from antiques to the newest animal costumes will be on display at the many flea markets all over the city. Check out this listing to see which one is closest to you, and enjoy!

See? It’s not that hard to save money when visiting Tokyo. It just takes a little Internet research and a lot of faith! Enjoy your next visit to the Big Sushi and relish all the money you’ll be saving.

Please note : This is part of a series for #HipmunkCityLove. Hipmunk.com is low-cost and budget travel service that I use while planning budget travel, and am thrilled to write for. I know you will find the articles as well as their services useful.

Remember, you are my first priority and I only work with or support companies whose products and services I believe in. For all the nitty gritty on this check out my disclaimer. It’s even got pictures of monkeys.


Brandy Bell loves adventuring around the world. She’s been a solo female traveler since 2006 and has visited over 25 countries, made countless international friends, and now writes to inspire you to travel in a sustainable and responsible way.


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