Free activities in Tokyo

As the world’s largest metropolis, Tokyo is stacked with exciting adventures and beautiful sceneries. For those who wish to explore more of Tokyo’s culture or simply spend a day having fun without burning a hole in your pocket, we’ve compiled 24 free activities in Tokyo that are interesting and interactive. You don’t need a big budget to enjoy Tokyo’s finest.

1. Japan Airlines Hangar Tour and Sky Museum

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If you’re not travelling overseas anytime soon yet want to catch a glimpse of planes, this is the place for you. Japan Airlines (JAL) runs a tour of its hangar and the Sky Museum at these time slots – 9.30am, 10.45am, and 14.45pm, from Saturdays to Tuesdays, and on Thursdays.

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For the first hour of the tour, you’ll see the Sky Museum. Freely roam around places such as the sky runway, aviation school, and more. Here, you can pretend to be a pilot and sit in a mock cockpit!

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Visit the Archives Zone to learn the history of JAL. See their evolution through the uniforms and model planes on display.

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The last 50 minutes of the tour will be spent with a staff member bringing you around the hangar. The mechanics will be hard at work servicing aeroplanes, so say hi to them or thank them. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to see aeroplanes take off right before your eyes.

To attend the tour, reservations should be made exactly one month before your intended tour date and can be done online on their website. 

Address: JAL Maintenance Center 1, 3-5-1 Haneda Airport, Ota-ku, 144-0041 Tokyo
Contact: 03-5460-3755 | JAL Sky Museum Website

2. Attend a pipe-organ concert

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Tokyo Opera City

Catch free pipe-organ concerts at 3 different locations.

The first location is Tokyo Opera City – where the concert hall is completely mantled in oak and shaped like a pyramid, creating the most ideal listening experience. The 3,826-pipe organ sits right in front of the concert hall, which has a maximum capacity of 1,632 people.

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Suntory Hall

The second location is Suntory Hall. Its main hall is designed vineyard-style with 2,006 seats oriented towards the stage. Suntory Hall has one of the largest organs in the world, with 74 stops and 5,898 pipes.

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Tsukiji Hongwanji 

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Tsukiji Hongwanji 

The last location’s pipe-organ lies in Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple. The build of the temple is inspired by ancient Buddhist architectures in India. A sermon would usually grace the concert, which plays classical music and Buddhist hymns.

These concerts are held once a month at their respective locations, and reservations are to be made in advance by calling the ticket centre.

Tokyo Opera City
Address: 3-20-2 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 163-1403 Tokyo
Contact: 03-5353-0788 | Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall Website

Suntory Hall
Address: 1-13-1, Akasaka, Minato-ku, 107-8403 Tokyo
Contact: 0570-55-0017 | Suntory Hall Website

Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple
Address: 3-15-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, 104-8435 Tokyo
Contact: 0120-792-048 | Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple Website

3. Galaxy & teamLab: Catching and collecting in the Sea of Life

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This interactive exhibition will make you feel like you’re swimming in the ocean. 

Galaxy Harajuku has collaborated with teamLab to create a new learning project that allows people to freely explore the exhibition and learn at their own pace. 

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The theme of this current exhibition is the sea, where visitors are greeted with majestic sea creatures and plants, some of which are already extinct. This is done using interactive projector lights and calm music adding to enhance the multi-sensory experience.

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The interactive aspect of the exhibit is enabled through a Galaxy smartphone, and you are able to catch and learn about the various sea creatures with the device. 

You can enter the exhibition any time during its opening hours, but to avoid long waiting times, book priority entrance tickets on their ticketing site.

Address: 1-8-9, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 150-0001 Tokyo
Opening hours: 11am-7pm, Daily
Contact: teamLab Website

4. Tuna auction at Toyosu Fish Market

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Tokyo’s local markets boast a wide variety of fresh fish sold directly from the sea. But we bet you’ve never seen people bidding for fish before. If you’re curious or intrigued about the activity, head to Toyosu Fish Market to see it firsthand.

Being one of the largest fish markets in the world, the market provides a tour that includes the rare opportunity of viewing the popular and lively fish auction.

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The early bird catches the worm, so make sure to wake up early and be at the market by their set time of 5.45am. The tour starts at 5.55am and you’ll be guided to the observation deck to watch the tuna auction until 6.25am. 

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At the observation deck, you’ll see rows upon rows of tuna. The auctioneer is experienced and often would induce an exciting, heated-up atmosphere for a fierce bid between buyers. The whole experience is fun and tense – truly a one-of-a-kind spectacle.

After the early activity, visit any of the restaurants lined up at Toyosu Fish Market for a filling breakfast. Reservations are to be made in advance online and the selection process is done via lottery.

Address: 6-6-1 Toyosu, Koto-ku, 135-0061 Tokyo
Opening hours: 5am-3pm, Daily
Contact: 03-3520-8205 | Central Wholesale Market Website

5. Meguro Parasitological Museum

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Parasites – most people find them disgusting, some people find them cool. Nonetheless, Meguro Parasitological Museum has a collection of parasites worth viewing. 

As a private research facility, it has grown its collection since it was established in 1953 and now houses 60,000 parasite specimens and 56,000 items of parasite-related materials.

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The first floor is themed “Diversity of Parasites”, where you can see the parasite specimens up close and watch accompanying educational videos. The second floor is themed “Human and Zoonotic Parasites”. Learn about parasite life cycles and symptoms of parasitic infestations in humans here. A bewildering but educational experience.

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View the world’s longest tapeworm, grown inside an actual human body. It’s a whopping 8.8m!

If you fancy a souvenir, head to the museum shop where you can buy shirts with a printed parasite and keychains shaped like parasite-storing containers.

Address: 4-1-1 Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, 153-0064 Tokyo
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 10am-5pm (Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)
Contact: 03-3716-1264 | Meguro Parasitological Museum Website

6. Gyosen Park & Edogawa City Shizen Zoo

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Who says you have to pay to visit the zoo? At Edogawa City Shizen Zoo, admission is free. At this humble neighbourhood zoo perfect for children, you will find live animals to watch. 

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Whilst there are no lions or bears, children will be greeted by cute red pandas, humboldt penguins, and even a giant anteater. 

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Did you know that goats love to be tickled? Get along with the goats and sheep and you might get the green light to pet them too.

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Right beside the zoo is Gyosen Park, where you can enjoy nature at the Heisei Garden and aquatic pond. There is also a fishing pond that welcomes fishing enthusiasts. Bring your own tools and bait to catch herabunas. Whilst fishing is free, you cannot take home the fish you caught.

Address: Gyosen Park, 3-2-1 Kita-Kasai, Edogawa City, 134-0081 Tokyo
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 10am-4.30pm | Sat & Sun 9.30am-4.30pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 03-3680-0777 | Edogawa City Shizen Zoo Website

7. Suntory Musashino Brewery Tour

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Get a taste of freshly poured beer for free at Suntory’s brewery tour. Suntory is one of the most popular beer brands in Japan, with its iconic blue and gold cans that store quality, pilsner-style beer. 

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Come for the tour to get exclusive information on how they make their famous products, as well as learn about Suntory’s history.

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Hop inside a beer vat.
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See the factory floor where they fill empty bottles and cans with beer and package them. You’ll even get to walk into a beer vat during the tour. 

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At the end of the tour, take a sip from 3 types of free sample beers with accompanying sides of nuts or other snacks. Savour everything, from the foam to the refreshing taste of the beer.

Note that factory tours require advance reservations via their website or telephone.

Address: 3-1 Yazakicho, Fuchu City, 183-8533 Tokyo
Opening hours: 9.30am-5pm, Daily
Contact: 042-360-9591 | Suntory Website

8. Origami Kaikan

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You’ve probably folded a paper aeroplane or even an origami crane before. But here at Origami Kaikan, you will get to see and appreciate the intricate art of paper folding by learning and viewing origami art.

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Origami Kaikan is a museum with 4 whole floors dedicated to the craft of origami. The first 2 floors feature various origami pieces, from a simple flower to detailed folded-paper models of historical figures.

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Head to the paper-dyeing studio to watch the dyeing process of Japanese origami paper. Though it is tedious work, the end product is beautiful. 

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Visit the gift shop to get your hands on these hand-dyed origami paper. If you’re lucky, you may even get a chance to interact with the museum director Kazuo Kobayashi, an experienced origami maker who might just let you take home one of his creations. 

Origami Kaikan also hosts workshops for visitors, catered to their skill level. You can learn to make dolls, flowers, and even Mizuhiki (decorative Japanese cord made from twisted paper).

Address: 1-7-14, Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, 113-0034 Tokyo
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm (Closed on Sundays)
Contact: 03-3811-4025 | Origami Kaikan Website

9. Sumo watching & the Sumo Museum

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Admire the national sport of Japan as sumo wrestlers practise in the morning. This morning practice is called “keiko”, and here, sumo wrestlers break sweat in order to train for upcoming tournaments. There are several gyms where you can watch sumo wrestlers train through glass windows.

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Some of the places where you can see a free sumo training are: Takasago beya, Oshima beya, Arashio beya, and Musashigawa beya. Usually, no reservation is needed, but do make a phone call to ensure that training is scheduled for the day of your visit.

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If you can’t get enough of this ceremonious sport, head to the Sumo Museum. From trophies and banzuke (official listings of rank) to the ceremonial aprons worn by the great rikishi (professional sumo wrestlers) of the past, this is the right place to satisfy your fascination.

Sumo Museum
Address: 1-3-28 Yoko-ami, Sumida-ku, 130-0015 Tokyo
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 12.30pm-4pm (Closed on Saturdays & Sundays)
Contact: 03-3622-0366 | Sumo Museum Website

10. Train stamp collecting

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Riding the train is one of the primary means of getting around Tokyo. But here’s a secret not many people know: you can collect free train stamps in Tokyo, and all over Japan. It’s called Eki stamp, featuring motifs unique to each station.

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Station stamps are usually located at the exit, and they come as a machine-press stamp or a handheld stamp. You can get an actual Eki stamp book, but there are also readily available loose papers. 

Take your collection to the next level and try to collect limited-edition, seasonal stamps. Not only does it make for a great souvenir, but it’s also a fun way to spend your day, so go station-hopping!

11. Join a free walking tour

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Sensoji Temple.
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If you’re up for it, explore Tokyo by joining a free walking tour. Not only will you get to see the hidden beauty of Tokyo, you will also befriend locals and tourists who are on the tour.

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Shibuya Nonbei Yokocho, also known as “Drunkard’s Alley”.
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Find a solid group of people interested in the culture of Japan, and get to know and hear different perspectives of people from all walks of life.

From Shibuya to the Harajuku Meiji Shrine, you can choose to go on as many tours as you like. Booking is required and has to be made in advance.

Contact: Tokyo SGG Website, Tokyo Localized Website, Tokyo Free Walking Tour Website 

12. National Diet Building Tour

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The Diet is the centre of political activity in Japan and the meeting place of the Japanese parliament. On this tour, you’ll get a chance to visit this prestigious spot. Since this is an official building, there are strict rules to follow, including passing through a security check.

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From left to right: Central Entrance, Central Hall and committee rooms.
Image credit: The House of Representatives, Japan

The tours occur once a day – 2pm on Mondays, and 3pm on Tuesdays to Fridays. It starts at the imposing Central Entrance, which brings the guests to the Central Hall  a large passageway that leads to other rooms such as the committee rooms where meetings are held.

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The House of Representatives, Japan

After visiting the Central Entrance, Central Hall and committee rooms, you’ll be led to the Emperor’s Room. Used by the Japanese Emperor, the room is made entirely of Japanese cypress to honour and grace his esteemed presence.

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The House of Representatives, Japan

The last place to visit is the Chamber of the House of Representatives, where plenary sittings are held.

Reservations have to be made in advance via email.

Address: 1-7-1 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, 100-0014 Tokyo
Contact: 0269-34-3111 | The House of Representatives, Japan Website

13. Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Factory Tour

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Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan 

If you’re a fan of fizzy drinks, you’ll want to sign up for a Coca-Cola tour at Coca-Cola Bottlers that brings you through the manufacturing process of that sweet, iconic beverage. See how the drinks are packaged into bottles and cans, before going through a quality-control check. 

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Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan

Afterwards, there’s an interactive exhibition where you can complete the Coca-Cola quiz, watch old commercials, and find out their research process.

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Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan

At the end of it, you’ll get a free bottle and original goods. Reservations are to be made 2 months in advance by phone.

Address: 1-2-9 Nobidome, Higashikurume-shi, 203-0041 Tokyo
Tour timings: 10am, 1pm & 3pm, Daily
Contact: 042-471-0463 | Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Factory Tour Website

14. Bank Of Japan Currency Museum

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Bank Of Japan Currency Museum

Money – we can’t get enough of it. Here, at the Bank of Japan Currency Museum, there’s plenty – dating all the way back to the 7th century.

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Bank Of Japan Currency Museum

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bank of Japan, the Currency Museum was built and officially opened in 1985. Learn about money used in the past through the price of items across historical periods, and the precious value of each currency. 

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Bank Of Japan Currency Museum

Lift large gold coins and try out other hands-on exhibits!

From copper coins from the late 7th century, to the first-issue banknotes of the 17th century, to the birth of the yen in the late 19th century, the Currency Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the evolution of money in Japan. 

Address: 1-3-1 Nihonbashi Hongokucho, Chuo-ku, 103-0021 Tokyo
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9.30am-4.30pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 3-3277-3037 | Bank Of Japan Currency Museum Website

15. Haneda Innovation City

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Located near Haneda Terminal 3, Haneda Innovation City is a new commercial and business complex. Split into 12 zones, these zones consist of restaurants, shops, and more.

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There is even a self-driving bus that passengers can ride to get to different zones in the complex.

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To the right of the complex’s entrance, you’ll find the Artist Village in Zone L; it’s a spacious lawn where you can have fun. Children can play at the playground or join activities at occasionally held events.

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Additionally, head to the rooftop in Zone E to dip your feet in the footbath sky deck. Get rejuvenated as you catch planes flying past you and snap a good photo to commemorate the experience. Haneda Innovation City is great if you want to catch a quick break.

Address: 1-1-4 Hanedakuko, Ota City, 144-0041 Tokyo
Opening hours: 5.30am-11.30pm, Daily
Contact: Haneda Innovation City Website

16. Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center

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Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center

Step into the world of Japanese sake, shochu, and awamori. At the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center, visitors can learn about classic Japanese alcoholic beverages.

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Visitors are welcome to watch educational videos on sake- and shochu-making, and you can even see the ingredients used in person. Simulate sake-brewing by holding the tools of the craft.

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Additionally, get to taste over 50 brands of sake, shochu, and awamori from ¥100 per cup. You can also catch occasional events and seminars here where you can join a free tasting.

Address: 1-6-15 Nishishinbashi, Minatoku, 105-0003 Tokyo
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm (Closed on Saturdays & Sundays)
Contact: 3-3519-2091 | Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center Website

17. Morinaga Milk Tama Tokyo Factory

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Beer and coke may not be suitable for children, but milk certainly is. Here at Morinaga Milk Tama Tokyo Factory, children are welcome to learn and see how milk is produced. After an introductory video, you’ll get to observe the whole production line for milk, cup drinks, and juices. 

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Morinaga Milk

Try your hand at making cheese by using vinegar and warm milk – you can even watch it curdle!

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Morinaga Milk

If you think you have a good palate, try becoming a Flavour Panel Meister. Morinaga Milk will challenge you to differentiate between 5 tastes – sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, and umami. As of 2022, only 56 out of approximately 5,600 employees are certified Flavour Panel Meisters. 

Reservations are required for the tour, and they need to be booked in advance.

Address: 4-515 Tateno, Higashiyamato-shi, 207-0021 Tokyo
Tour timings: Mon-Fri 10am, 1pm
Contact: 0120-369-017 | Morinaga Milk Website

18. Toshima City Tokiwaso Manga Museum

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Astro Boy, Doraemon, Kamen Rider. These are Japanese entertainment show staples for kids, teens, and even adults in the ’90s. The creators of these legendary icons all stayed at Tokiwaso

Tokiwaso was a popular gathering place for young aspiring manga artists. Though the original building was demolished in December 1982, it has now been recreated as a manga museum, dedicated to continuing manga and anime culture. 

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Take a peek into a manga artist’s life through replicated rooms. These rooms really look as though you’ve entered a mangaka’s room, with books sprawled on the floor showing their true passions.

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This replicated building is set in the ’20s and ’30s of the Showa era, and the museum is complete with stains on the walls, rust, and even creaking floorboards.

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Head to the 1st floor, where you can peruse works of manga artists related to Tokiwaso, or visit the special exhibitions. Attend a manga-drawing workshop or a dress-up photoshoot to complete the experience.

Otaku or not, be sure to visit this unique manga museum where you can see a reproduced room once occupied by the “God of Manga”, Osamu Tezuka. Reservations are to be made online in advance. Read more about Tokiwaso Mang Museum here

Address: 3-9-22 Minami Nagasaki, Toshima Ward, 171-0052 Tokyo
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 03-6912-7706 | Toshima City Tokiwaso Manga Museum Website

19. Take a wasen boat ride

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Wasen Tomo no Kai

Time travel back to the Edo period (1603-1867) as you ride wasen – traditional Japanese wooden boats. They were used to transport people and goods through old Tokyo’s rivers and canals. 

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Wasen Tomo no Kai

The “Wasen Tomo no Kai” are passionate volunteers who preserve wasen and practise the unique rowing technique for the boats. Visitors can get a free ride and even learn how to use the ro –  a wooden propulsion tool that’s more efficient than a regular oar, and can effortlessly propel a boat of 10 people.

Head directly to Yokojukkengawa Shinsui Park for the ride, as no reservations are required. Just make sure to check their schedule online to ensure the ride is available on the day you visit.

Address: 1 Chome-1 Minamisuna, Koto City, 136-0076 Tokyo
Opening hours: Wed & Sun 10am-2.15pm (Closed on other days of the week)
Contact: 03-3647-2538 | Wasen Tomo Website

20. Chofu Aerospace Center of JAXA

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Equipped with specialised test facilities, Chofu Aerospace Center is a research and development base for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

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Inside the Centre’s exhibit hall lies 2 large supersonic transport technology demonstrators. Supersonic transport technology demonstrators are aeroplanes that enable high-speed transportation of passengers faster than the speed of sound.

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宇宙航空研究開発機構 調布航空宇宙センター

Ready for take off? Board a future space plane to experience simulated space travel. Chofu Aerospace Center has a space mission simulator and other space-related technology for you to feel like an astronaut.

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宇宙航空研究開発機構 調布航空宇宙センター

From a YS-11 cockpit to other technology such as the FJR710 turbo fan engine, this is the dream for aviation lovers. They offer 2 tours, a basic one for people with general interests and an advanced one for hobbyists. The advanced tour will even bring you to a testing facility, privy only to researchers.

To book a tour, send a request via email 3 weeks in advance.

Address: 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, 182-8522 Tokyo
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm (Closed on Saturdays & Sundays)
Contact: Chofu Aerospace Center Website

21. TV Asahi

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If you grew up watching Doraemon or Crayon Shin-chan, visit TV Asahi

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Located in Roppongi, TV Asahi has a permanent Doraemon-themed exhibition which includes large Doraemon dolls with which you can snap photos. 

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Additionally, there are various ongoing programmes and themed exhibitions, including promotion for their dramas and shows that are currently airing. Public workshops are also held occasionally, so if you’re lucky enough to catch a workshop during your visit, join one. TV Asahi also has a souvenir shop stocked with all kinds of merchandise from their shows, so bring home a Doraemon doll or a Crayon Shin-Chan keychain.

Address: 6-9-1, Roppongi, Minato-ku, 106-8001 Tokyo
Opening hours: 9.30am-8.30pm, Daily
Contact: 03-6406-1508 | TV Asahi Website

22. Intermediatheque

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Intermediatheque is a hidden museum that gives off Night at the Museum vibes. It’s tucked inside the Kitte shopping mall. Culture meets history and science here, so you can see a range of scientific specimens right beside a cultural artefact.

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You’ll get a chance to feel like a night security guard a la Larry in Night at the Museum as you walk past taxidermied birds, large skeletons of species such as the phantom extinct giant bird Aepyornis, and more. 

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There are also special exhibits on display for a limited time. Enjoy roaming around and don’t be surprised if you lose track of time at this mystical museum. 

Address: KITTE 2-3F, 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: Tue-Thurs, Sun 11am-6pm | Fri-Sat 11am-8pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 47-316-2772 | Intermediatheque Website

23. Ride a pony at Shinozaki Pony Land or Nagisa Pony Land

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Edogawa Kankyozaidan

If you have little ones who love ponies and don’t fear riding them, visit Shinozaki Pony Land or Nagisa Pony Land. Kids who are in the sixth grade of elementary school and below can ride a pony for free at both locations. Ride times are 10am-11.30am and 1.30pm-3pm, subject to change.

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Be a makeshift Cinderella on the Carriage
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At Shinozaki Pony Land, there is also a carriage open to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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So. Much. Fluff.
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Edogawa Kankyozaidan

Interact with the ponies at Nagisa Pony Land, which even allows you to get up close and personal with goats as well. Get a tour of the stables and feed the animals there too. 

Shinozaki Pony Land
Address: 3-12-17 Shinozakimachi, Edogawa City, 133-0061 Tokyo
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-4pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 03-3678-7520 | Shinozaki Pony Land

Nagisa Pony Land
Address: 7-3 Minamikasai, Edogawa City, 134-0085 Tokyo
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-4pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 03-5658-5720 | Nagisa Pony Land 

24. Meiji University Museum

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Here’s another secret museum filled with oddities. Meiji University Museum has 4 permanent exhibits that showcase a range of historical items. The first features the Meiji University history, while the second is the commodity department, where traditional handicraft products such as bamboo woodwork and lacquerware are displayed.

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Their third exhibit might be the most interesting one: criminal materials department. In this exhibition room lies torture instruments dating all the way back to the Edo and early Meiji periods in Japan.

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The last exhibit is the archaeology department, filled with ancient artefacts. So if you’re a history buff, this is the place for you.

Address: 1-1 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, 101-8301 Tokyo
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm | Sat 10am-5pm (Closed on Sundays)
Contact: 03-3296-4448 | Meiji University Museum Website

Free things to do in Tokyo

Whether you enjoy chaotic tuna auctions or prefer to relax and appreciate museums, these 24 free activities are sure to help you find your next adventure and explore Tokyo to your heart’s content, whilst saving that extra cash for your next visit.

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Cover image adapted from: しろふくろう, @musashigawa_beya, @t0mogram

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