The concern of most people is to save money on their travels. With that in mind, I'm going to share some tips on free places and how not to spend money and regret it later during your Japan tour.
First I will tell you my experience and recommend some places for you to visit for free, but in this article we will also see:
To this day I remember how good the day I took this photo was (below). It was a day off and the cherry blossom season was about to end. “I need to take pictures of cherry trees, but it has to be a picture that commands respect…”. I thought while looking for a nice place to go, I saw that Hamamatsu Castle is one of the points where there is the highest concentration of cherry trees in the region where I lived.
At the same time I put on a pair of jeans and went with the same pajama shirt. But when I got there, I saw an incredible diversity of places to take pictures in the surroundings of the castle. I took a picture and walked, took a picture and walked. This was one of the ones I took.
To end the tour, I bought a café au lait at a tent near the castle and left.“What do you want to teach me with this?” You may wonder at that moment as you taste coffee with milk and sugar in your mouth.
What I want to teach you is that this wonderful and super fun ride didn't cost me anything. (except, of course, the coffee with milk)
I found out that day that you only pay to enter closed areas. But as long as you don't have any gates, you can walk around at will. Simply put, if you want to go to a castle just to take a picture, you can do it without spending a penny. And go for me. Although on the outside every castle in Japan is different. Inside, most are very similar to each other.
The charm of castles is in their gardens, architecture and the place where they are located, and to enjoy these features you pay nothing. Want to see another castle? So below is another photo.
Free skyscrapers in Japan
Many dream of visiting Tokyo-Sky-Tree or Tokyo Tower, but do not know that they will spend at least 3,000 yen (100 reais) to visit each of these places. Many find it fun, but realize it was a waste of money.
I recommend these tourist spots at least once, but there are skyscrapers with similar experiences that are free.
And the savings go far beyond castles, you can save money by climbing some skyscrapers. I will give you the example of two of them.
- Umeda Sky Building - Osaka
- Tokyo Metropolitan Building
- Bunkyo Civic Center
- Ebisu Garden Place Tower
- Caretta Shiodome;
These are the places I can guarantee you will enjoy immensely without having to shell out a penny. Virtually every city has some tall building to climb, some are free, others are paid.
The Umeda Sky Building is a 173 meter high building that has a terrace with a 360o view of downtown Osaka. to go to the terrace, you have to pay 1000円. But going up to the top floor, with the right to climb an escalator that crosses the two ends of the building and is suspended over nothingness, is priceless!
The Tokyo Metropolitan Building is a tower with 247 meters that is in the center of Tokyo, the good thing about this tower is that it has a beautiful view of the city without having to pay anything. The bad thing is that the observatory is often crowded, so it's good to be careful about the time to visit. And of course, avoid going on weekends.
A lot of people ask me why I like to explore tourist attractions for free, and to these people I answer: “The government already exploits me enough to allow me to explore it back.”
Other places to visit in Japan for free
In addition to the places mentioned, there are thousands of things to visit in Japan for free, you can simply look on Google Maps and find thousands of options to enjoy Japanese culture without spending a penny. If we were to list these things below they would be:
- Public Parks;
- Free gardens that are mostly from hotels;
- Auctions and fish markets such as Tsukiji Fish;
- Free museums (there are many in several cities);
- Climb a mountain or walk in the forest;
- Attend a sumo workout;
- visit festivals, bunkasai and matsuri;
- Visit neighborhoods and shopping centers;
- Free theaters (Okichan Theater in Okinawa);
- Free liquor distillery;
- Visit temples and shrines;
In addition to the free places, there are several museums, gardens, castles, parks, towers, onsen, aquariums and other attractions that are super cheap for no more than 300 yen. There is no need for you to pay 3000 yen to enter a place as there are thousands of alternatives.
Did you know that it is even possible to get free tourist guides?
Be careful what you spend money on in Japan
And the purest truth is that I believe in saving money to spend on the things that really matter. It matters to me to spend money on things I really want, not just out of a momentary desire, so when I get into the “save to spend on what really matters” mentality, the money I spend always makes me calm, makes me happy, and that's what really matters.
I've been to expensive restaurants and loved it. I've also been to other expensive restaurants and I hated it. I've bought expensive things that I use to this day, I've also bought expensive things that just gather dust in my apartment. I've paid dearly at tourist attractions I loved (Tokyo Disneyland) and I've paid dearly at tourist attractions I loathed (Tokyo Disney Sea).
What made me like it or not was the simple fact that I really wanted it. For you to understand better, I will explain the examples of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea.
When I arrived in Japan for the second time, I had an extreme urge to go to Disneyland because it was my childhood dream, and one of the items I wanted to tick off my “things worth doing before age 30” list.
This simple fact of making a childhood dream come true, made the trip very worthwhile, to this day I fondly remember that special day I spent at Disneyland. To be honest, I especially remember watching a 4D musical on one of the attractions, I couldn't understand anything they were saying, it was all in Japanese, but a scene that showed Aladin and Princess Jasmine flying on the carpet was fantastic. I felt like I was 3 years old again, dreamy and creative.
Whenever I feel stuck, I remember that moment and my creativity tank is replenished.
As for Tokyo Disney Sea, the only memory I have is waiting in endless lines, headaches, nightmares related to the Little Mermaid musical and 7 minutes of fun in the Toy Story attraction that looks more like a video game than an attraction in truth.
Why do I feel this way? Because unlike Disneyland, I only went to Disney Sea because I was on vacation and I wanted to do something fun. Moral of the story: spend money consciously and only on what really matters.