You can do almost anything on a rainy day in Tokyo as long as you have an umbrella. Put away that teruterubouzu (a Japanese rain-repelling charm) and embrace the drizzle! Here are our recommendations for what to do and where to go when it’s wet outside in Tokyo.
1. Explore the malls
There are plenty of malls that include the whole package—from shopping to food courts and entertainment areas. Here are a few popular picks.
Have kids that need to let off some wet-weather energy? LaLaport in Toyosu has many family-friendly activities, including Adventure Island, which is a play area for kids under 8, and Kidzania, where children can experience pretend-careers and even earn Kidzania money.
If you’re wondering where you’ve heard ‘Toyosu’ before, LaLaport is about a quarter of an hour by foot or train from Toyosu Fish Market, new site of the famous Tokyo seafood market. It’s also only 20 minutes or so by train from Tsukiji’s outer market, where there are still heaps of shops and restaurants to explore.
Let loose your love for anime and manga in Nakano Broadway, a four-floor shopping complex near Nakano Station. Nakano Broadway is a mega-hit among young cheapos. Not keen to join them? The roofed street called Nakano Sunmall, extending from Nakano Broadway to Nakano Station, is lined with cafes, boutiques and izakaya where you can relax and enjoy the local atmosphere without getting rain down your neck. Nakano Broadway is a 5-minute train ride from Shinjuku Station on the JR Chuo Line.
Diver City, Odaiba
Diver City in Odaiba is also a great place to visit on a rainy day in Tokyo. In addition to all the big brand name stores like Zara and Cecil McBee, there is a branch of the sports entertainment chain called RoundOne, where you can enjoy bowling, indoor roller-skating, a batting cage and other activities (for just ¥1,000, if you go in the morning). Across the road from Diver City is Fuji-TV Station, well worth a visit if you’re into Japanese cartoons. Read more about what to do in Odaiba.
Pro tip: If you want to take this rainy day opportunity for bargain-hunting, try some of the other outlet malls in the Tokyo area.
2. Relax in an onsen
What’s better on a wet day than a hot soak? There are plenty of hot springs (onsen) and public baths (sento) where you can soak for ¥1,000 or less.
In Yokohama, Yukemuri no Sato Susukino charges ¥620 for access to 11 indoor and four outdoor baths, and they have a rock sauna for an additional ¥500 or so. Saya no Yu Dokoro (Maenohara Onsen) is another popular one and is located eight minutes from Shimura-Sakaue Station in the quiet(ish) suburb of Itabashi. There, it’s ¥870 on weekdays and ¥1,100 on weekends.
Pro tip: Take your own towels to avoid having to rent them.
3. Go bowling
Ah, bowling—the great American classic in leisurely fun. Or something like that. Check out our guide to bowling alleys around Tokyo where you can roll up your sleeves, slap on some
pre-funked pre-used shoes and knock ’em dead.
4. Pop into museums and art galleries
You don’t come to Tokyo without expecting to find a bit of culture, right? So when the rain is a-fallin’, optimize your day by checking out some of the coolest museums and art galleries on the planet. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a must-see museum mega guide.
5. Visit a library (and drink a beer)
Think of a library. Now think of a library that’s a million times cooler and you’ll get Mori no Tosho Shitsu. It’s a book and beer library in Shibuya where you pay ¥500 to enter and enjoy the written word and the brewed beverage. I don’t know of many other libraries with beds for seats that you can lounge around and read on (or if there aren’t many other patrons, you can fully lie down). There are more than 5,000 titles to peruse on the shelves or you can BYO book. If you’re wanting to booze up while you geek out, they have a decent list of beer and other cocktails to choose from. And if you go with friends, you don’t have to give them the silent treatment—this library permits chatting.
For other book havens, check out these libraries designed by famous Japanese architects.
6. Climb the walls
Bouldering culture is strong in Tokyo, with climbing gyms popping up all over the place. Get to grips with your lack of upper body strength at one of these indoor climbing spots. They cater to all levels, so whether you’re a pure beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll find something to hook you in. Bonus points for every pun you can think of while clinging to the walls.
7. Sample some sushi
Someone once said that the best way to pass time on a rainy day is to go out for sushi. That was me, but you’re looking at some sage advice right there. In keeping with the cheapo golden rule of a posh lunch and cheap dinner, we recommend chowing down at one of these classy sushi spots around noon, then checking off a few of the other ideas on this list. Not a fan of fish? Go for a (low-cost) meal at a Michelin-star joint instead.
8. Hit up an arcade (or theme park)
Roll into an arcade (you’ll find them liberally sprinkled around busy areas like Ikebukuro and Shinjuku) to play drums, race your mates, hit the DDR deck or experience the wonder that is “Billy Bowl” (it’s the best of billiards and bowls). Alternatively, part with (quite) a few more yens to spend a fun couple of hours at an indoor theme park like Hello Kitty’s home Sanrio Puroland (if you know you’re going in advance, discount tickets are available online), the dystopian Anata no Warehouse or Namja Town. Also consider a couple of VR experiences.
9. See a film
The age-old antidote to bad weather, go watch a movie at one of the cinemas dotted around Tokyo. 3D and Imax are always fun options, and you can experience both easily. Japanese people take film-going pretty seriously, and the facilities are state-of-the-art (even if some of the titles are a little slow to arrive). One word of caution—movies are expensive (around ¥1,800 a ticket), so read up on how to get discounted tickets before picking a theater.
10. Have coffee with something cute
Tokyo is full of animal cafes, where you can spend time with cute fluffy things and watch the rainy world go by. See our animal cafe guide for more information, and an idea of which cafes are kindest to their non-human staff.
11. Experience an escape game
For something totally different, head to Asakusa and have a go at their escape room games (starting at about ¥3,800). You’ll find yourself trapped inside a room … and you’ll have to solve a range of different puzzles to make your way out before the time is up! It relies on a bit of analytical skill and a whole lot of cooperation. It’s heaps of fun—and you don’t need to speak any Japanese. The games are offered in English and Chinese.
For other rainy day in Tokyo ideas, check out our pick of top Tokyo indoor activities.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Last updated by Kylie van Zyl in March, 2019.
Our video guide to the tuna auctions at the shiny new Toyosu Fish Market