Put away that teruterubouzu (a Japanese rain-repelling charm) and embrace the drizzle! You can do almost anything on a rainy day in Tokyo as long as you have an umbrella. Here are 12 recommendations for what to do and where to go.
1. Explore the malls
There are plenty of malls that include the whole package—from shopping to food courts and entertainment areas. Have kids? Even better. 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.
DiverCity in Odaiba is also a great place to visit on a rainy day in Tokyo. In addition to the big brand names 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 many other activities (all for just 1,000 yen, if you go in the morning). Across the road from Divercity is Fuji-TV Station, well worth a visit if you’re into Japanese cartoons. If you want to take this rainy day opportunity for bargain-hunting, try some of the outlet malls in the Tokyo area.
2. Relax in an onsen
There are plenty of hot springs (onsen) and public baths (sento) where you can soak for 1,000 yen or less. In Yokohama, Yukemuri no Sato Susukino charges 620 yen for access to 11 indoor and four outdoor baths, and they have a rock sauna for an additional 500 yen or so. Saya no Yu Dokoro (Maenohara Onsen) is another popular one and is located eight minutes from Shimura-Sakaue Station in Itabashi.
There are heaps of other baths all around Tokyo, such as Take no Yu, Pokapoka Land Takaban no Yu, Shimizu yu and many more which are detailed in this cheapo article. Tip: Take your own towels to avoid having to rent them.
3. Visit Nakano Broadway
Let loose your love for anime and manga in this 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 izakayas where you can relax and enjoy the local atmosphere. Nakano Broadway is a 5-minute train ride from Shinjuku Station on the JR Chuo Line.
4. Go bowling
Ah, bowling—the great American classic in leisurely fun. Or something like that. Check out our article on 8 bowling alleys around Tokyo where you can roll up your sleeves, slap on some
pre-funked pre-used shoes and knock ’em dead.
5. Museums and art galleries
You don’t come to the biggest city in the world 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.
6. 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 yen to enter and enjoy the written word and the brewed beverage. A 500-yen charge doesn’t seem very cheapo, but I don’t know 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.
7. 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 five top 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.
8. 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.
9. Hit 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, Joypolis or Namja Town.
10. 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 yen a ticket), so check how to get discounted tickets here before picking a theater.
11. Have coffee with something cute
If the weather in Tokyo is for the birds, why not have a cup of tea with them? Well, in their company, anyway. Tokyo is full of animal cafes, where you can spend time with cute fluffy things and watch the rainy world go by. Take your pick from cats, rabbits, owls and more—read this guide for more information (and an idea of which cafes are kindest to their non-human staff).
12. Experience a Real Escape Game
For something totally different, head to Asakusa and have a go at their escape room games. 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 these top Tokyo indoor activities.
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