Japan is a wonderful country to travel in, and I would recommend it as a destination in a heartbeat. However, unlike many Asian countries, it’s not always easy to travel on a budget. That said, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of free attractions, and cheap eating options available. These are a few of my top choices from Tokyo:
View From The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
FREE – I would highly recommend a trip up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to have a look at the view. I went up at night and it was great to see all the buildings lit up. You can see for miles, and it’s hard to belief it’s free. However, if you fancy splashing out, there is an international restaurant at the top too, which considering the location is reasonably priced. It can be a bit tricky to find the lift, but head for building 1 and you should find the queue. It was quite long when we joined, but moved quickly.
Metro stop – Shinjinku
FREE – This famous crossing is a must see for anyone wanting to experience the hectic people traffic in Tokyo. It’s fun to watch, but also go back and forth a few times. There’s even a Starbucks nearby if you fancy people watching with a coffee. To get a picture, go into the station walkway – there is wire in the windows, but if you lean in and position the lens well you can have a go.
Metro stop – Shibuya
After visiting Shibuya Crossing I would recommend heading to nearby Genki Sushi. This sushi restaurant delivers your order to you on a mini shuttle which pings around the restaurant. It’s a great place to try sushi as a new visitor. There is an English menu available, and you enter your order into an iPad (so no communication barriers). The sushi is made to order, so is fresher than most conveyer belt sushis (although they are definitely worth a visit too!) We found Genki Sushi really affordable, and there are lots of vegetarian options too.
Metro stop – Shibuya
Imperial Palace East Gardens
FREE – Some lovely gardens which make for a great place to relax with a picnic, or go for a pleasant stroll. It’s an interesting mix of old meets new – the old palace walls next to modern skyscrapers. There is a ticket counter on the way in, but don’t worry its definitely free!
Metro stop – Tokyo
Tsukiji Fish Market
FREE – This popular fish market is definitely worth a wander round. It’s a great place to buy fresh sushi, either from the vendors or nearby restaurants. We bought some a stall, as the restaurants were very busy (and quite overpriced), but apparently the restaurant sushi is very good here! Be warned it is very busy, and it’s probably the only place I experienced pushing and shoving in Japan.
Other money saving tips include buying breakfast and lunch from Family Mart (or other convenience shops) – it saved a lot only buying one restaurant meal a day. And staying in a capsule hotel – a great experience in itself.