Free and Cheap Date Ideas to Try in Tokyo

Making takoyaki.
Making takoyaki. | © fg2 / WikiCommons
Photo of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer16 July 2017

Tokyo is an easy place to empty your pockets in, but it doesn’t have to be. Grab your sweetheart and try one of these free or cheap date ideas next time you’re ready to hit the town.

Shibuya Hikarie

Head to the galleries on the creative 8th floor of Shibuya Hikarie. Rotating exhibitions, often with free entry, ensure there’s always something new to see. Afterwards, check out the Sky Lobby on the 11th floor for some romantic views of Shibuya.

Shibuya Hikarie in Shibuya, Tokyo | © Dick Thomas Johnson/Flickr

National Museum of Modern Art

The National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT) is the nation’s leading museum on contemporary Japanese art from the Meiji Era to the present. While their rotating exhibitions have variable entry fees, you can gain access to the MOMAT Collection for just 420 yen per adult, or 130 yen for students.

Thomas Ruff exhibition at MOMAT | © Alexander Svensson/Flickr

Ueno Park

Ueno Park is Tokyo’s largest public park. On weekends, the place is filled with joggers, buskers and food vendors. There are also shrines, the picturesque Shinobazu pond and event spaces. Entrance to the park is free.

Ueno Park, Tokyo | © Opponent/WikiCommons

Arashio Stable

If you’re both fans of sumo, try to set a date for the early morning and make your way over to Arashio Stable. They no longer allow onlookers to enter the building, so you’ll have to watch from outside. Afterwards, head to the Sumo Museum inside the Ryogoku Kokugikan. Entrance is free.

Ryogoku Kokugikan | © J. Miers/WikiCommons

Local festivals

Local festivals are great places to bring a date. With free entertainment, musical and dramatic performances and street vendors selling cheap eats, both of you are guaranteed to have a good time. Check for festivals happening ahead of time and plan accordingly. Yoyogi Park frequently hosts events on the weekends and their calendar is a good place to start.

Takoyaki vendor | © clry2/Flickr

Hike Mount Mitake

Rejuvenate yourselves in the Japanese countryside. Mitake-san is about an hour and a half from Shinjuku Station on the Ome Line. If you’re feeling really thrifty, skip the cable car and make the small village halfway up the mountain your destination, instead.

Hikawa Gorge, part of the trail from Okutama to Mount Mitake | © Guilhem Vellut/Flickr

Inokashira Park Zoo

Inokashira Park in located in Kichijoji, one of Tokyo’s most popular neighborhoods. The Inokashira Park Zoo at its heart is devoted to indigenous species and is only 400 yen per person for entry. The zoo is divided into two sections, so be sure to head up the stairs to experience the main part of the zoo. If you bring a foreign passport, you get an additional 20% discount.

Guinea pig at Inokashira Park Zoo | © Jonathan Lin/Flickr

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