Tokyo has enough free stuff to keep you busy every day of the week—so we’ve come up with a handy day-by-day breakdown of all the good stuff in the big metropolis!
Since Monday is a common “closed” day for pretty much everything—museums, galleries, cafes and paid parks, it might be a good day to make the most of the unusual museums that stay open, as well as things that can’t close!
- The Kite Museum in Nihonbashi has displays of traditional kites from all over Japan.
- The Chofu Aerospace Center is closed on weekends—so Mondays are perfect for trying mission simulators, open-air displays and displays of original airplanes and cockpits.
- The Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Museum is also closed weekends, so head down on a Monday to learn all there is to know about the martial art in the heart of Tokyo’s sumo scene.
- Sample the modern architecture with a walking tour in Omotesando
- You can enjoy the free exhibits at the National Art Center Tokyo which also has a library and picnic area
- Try some daytime karaoke with super-cheap weekday rates (so cheap it might as well be free?)
Discounts: Aeon is single-handedly pulling Mondays from the depths of despair by re-branding them as Happy Mondays—meaning you get cinema tickets for 1,100 yen each—good effort Aeon. If you’re a guy and want a male-only discount cinema experience, Monday is guys’ day at Cinemart.
Tuesdays is basically action-packed in comparison to its predecessor, so get ready for parks and museums galore!
- Tokyo Gas Museum is free and what says Tuesday better than a controlled gas explosion?
- Alternatively, you can enjoy the Advertising Museum Tokyo and see the development through the ages ranging all the way back to the Edo-period advertisements.
- Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month is New Material Night at Double Tall Cafe in Shibuya—free entry but you will need to buy a drink (it’s a hard life, but someone’s got to do it).
- If you’re more into music you can head to Ruby Room for an open mic night, grab a seat and enjoy.
Wednesday is a day for shoppers and a good mid-week opportunity to see the busier sights!
- If you’re a thrift-shopper this is the day you’ve been waiting for: head down to Don Don Down on Wednesday for a weekly reduction of everything. Each Wednesday, all items take a step down on the discount ladder (prices indicated with vegetables, no explanation required), so you can risk it and see if your dream item has made it to reduction day instead of buying it full price, or turn up early to get the best bargains.
- Head to Sensoji for one of the best sights in Tokyo—while always busy, weekdays are somewhat quieter and you can still enjoy the street stalls and sights. Early on a weekday morning is your best bet for close to empty.
- Visit one of Tokyo’s most underrated and beautiful shrines: Nezu Jinja.
- If you like your museums unusual—the world’s only parasitological museum is free and not open until mid-week. Not much English, but this time you’ll be grateful.
- If you’re peckish why not visit the Matsuya department store for tasters and beautiful displays in Ginza.
Discounts: Ladies, rejoice! Wednesday is the day you earn back your consistently reduced wage difference and enjoy life—and by that we mean it’s ladies’ day at the cinemas, so you can enjoy a film for around 1,000 yen. Don’t worry, men aren’t banned (for who would chaperone us?!) but they do have to pay full price.
Thursdays are good for getting outdoors; nearly the weekend, but not quite—so it’s perfect for a day trip as you’ll beat the crowds (even the three-day-weekenders). And when you get back, everyone will be warming up for the weekend with drinks!
- Why not enjoy an amazing view at Tokyo’s tallest free observatory: the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shibuya. Unlike Tokyo Tower or if it’s cloudy, you can come back another time and all for free!
- Go hiking in Kamakura for Buddhas, little Kyoto and beaches—all you need to pay is the train fare!
- Join a weekly evening jogging group around the Imperial Palace! See the sights, meet some people and work off that ramen/okonomiyaki/tempura/alloftheabove.
- Every 3rd Thursday of the month is a night of free stand-up comedy at the Hobgoblin in Shibuya.
- Meet a friend at Hachiko and enjoy the busy crossing in Shibuya. Later in the evening you’ll see buskers warming up for the weekend and dancers practicing their moves.
Discounts: Thursdays at Shibuya Cine Palace are men’s day, so if you’re a guy or you like one, this is the perfect excuse to meet at Hachiko, then head for a cheap movie to escape the crowds!
Full of deals for nightlife, head out for happy hours and get into the clubs on Friday, after you’ve enjoyed some relaxed strolling!
- Visit the Louis Vuitton Espace and enjoy the free art, and if not, enjoy the view.
- Every 1st Friday of the month is the Gamuso Comedy Show in Asagaya at 8pm.
- The first Friday of every month is also free for girls at ageHa, the biggest club in Tokyo—enjoy the complimentary hair stylists and glitter tattoos—and don’t pretend you won’t.
- On the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month you can enjoy a free night at Kitsune with djs from the top clubs—on the 4th Friday there is also a food show (an offer as odd as it is intriguing).
Filled with markets and festivals as well as fireworks in the summer—Saturdays are always busy in Tokyo, be sure to check our events page for the one-off events for when you’re here!
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- Wander the Ekoda Night Bazaar: held on the 4th Saturday of odd-numbered months between 5pm and 8pm, it has stalls, a stamp-collecting rally with prizes and entertainment for kids too.
- The UNU farmers market is a weekly event held on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-4pm.
- Ohi Racecourse flea market is on every Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 3pm.
- Market of the Sun is a farmers market held on the second weekend of the month from 10am at Tsukishima Second Children’s Park.
- Yokohama Kitanaka Marche is a farmers market held on the 3rd Sat and Sun of the month from 10am-4pm
- During summer be sure to look for the numerous fireworks festivals, they are almost always on Saturdays and are always free!
- Koenji Farmers Market is on the 3rd Saturday of every month from 11am-5pm
- Head to Inokashira Park for swan boats and performances by balancing acts, musicians, magicians and more. Always busy on a weekend, it’s a lovely park with its own temple and lake as well as plenty of places to explore.
- Yoyogi Park has an events area which is usually hosting a festival or two on the weekend and also had tons of performers to see, always a great place to wander around!
Sunday is traditionally a day for relaxing, but unlike a lot of countries where it’s a slow day with reduced transport and shorter hours (looking at you, Wales), here it’s the opposite!
- Bike rental is available to cycle around the Imperial Palace on Sundays! You just need to fill out a simple form and you can borrow a bike. They have tandems and even classes if you’ve forgotten what to do.
- The Museum of Modern Art Tokyo is free on the first Sunday of every month—a great chance to see some collections for nothing.
- The National Museum of Western Art tops that as it is free on the 2nd and 4th Sunday each month.
- If you’ve got a soft spot for rockabilly dancers, they gather to practice in Yoyogi Park on Sunday mornings.
- Harajuku is at its peak for costumes, clothes and get-ups on a Sunday. Go prepared with a camera and snap some of the Harajuku girls in action.
- Yebisu Marche is held every Sunday and is great for seasonal veg, and smaller than most farmers markets.
- On the third Sunday of every month you can see the Gamuso comedy show in Asagaya—starts at 8pm!
There you have it—Tokyo 7 days a week, with the best free picks planned out by us so you don’t have to!
Photograph the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, wander around the curious and quirky love hotel hill, visit Yoyogi park and Meiji shrine...