Tokyo city skyline - Sensoji temple, Asakusa and Skytree
Photo: Rudi1976/Dreamstime

The crazy broke Asians’ guide to Tokyo

How to enjoy Tokyo on a budget – cheap and free things to do included

By Chee Wah Lim
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The first major Hollywood production with an all-Asian cast since ‘The Joy Luck Club’ in 1993, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a box-office and critical success. Our film critic at Time Out even gave it a five-star review. While a big part of the film is set in Singapore, arguably an expensive city-state in Southeast Asia, Tokyo too is plagued with the perception that it’s an expensive city to visit.

Truth is, you don’t need to be a crazy rich Asian to enjoy a good holiday in Tokyo. There are lots to see, do and eat without breaking the bank. Just follow these 'crazy broke Asian’ tips.

Tokyo on the cheap

Eating out

Restaurants

Tokyo has the most number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. While we do admit a meal in some of these culinary temples can seriously put a hole in your pocket, the good news is, a lot of these top-rated restaurants also do cheap lunches. Yes, this means you can enjoy an exquisite lunch for around ¥1,000 – sometimes even less.

Tokyo Station - night-view, top-view
Photo: Melpomenem/Dreamstime

Getting around

Travel

Avoid buying single-trip train/metro tickets – timed passes and tourist deals can come with significant discounts to help you travel more for less. So you can go anywhere you like in the city without having to worry about the cost.

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Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

Arts and culture

Museums

Museums and galleries are some of the top things to do in anyone’s Tokyo itinerary. But did you know you can save on paying the entrance ticket by visiting these cultural institutions on their FREE days? Yes, we have the list of FREE museum days here.

Sightseeing

Things to do Games and hobbies

Here’s a list of the top attractions in Tokyo to take a stunning Instagram shot. Best of all, you can go to these scenic spots for free (except Tokyo City View in Roppongi Hills and Rikugien, which charge an entrance fee).

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Fitness

Sport and fitness

So you’re saving on accommodation by staying in a budget hotel which has limited amenities, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your fitness routine. There are community gyms in most Tokyo neighbourhoods and they usually charge just around ¥300 to ¥400 per entry.

Bunkyo Civic Center Observation Lounge
Bunkyo-ku

City views

Attractions Towers and viewpoints Suidobashi

Want to see the sprawling city from the top? You don’t have to pay through your teeth to get on one of the city towers' observation deck. Just to head the Bunkyo Civic Center Observation Lounge and gawk at the stunning view for FREE.

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Things to know before visiting Tokyo

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