5 Free and Cheap Activities in Japan

You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know you can find a lot of cheap and free activities in Japan. Before arriving, I was concerned about budgeting due to hearing from other people how expensive the country can be. However, after visiting for a month I spent a lot less than initially expected due to researching inexpensive activities. Here are 5 free and cheap activities to do whilst in Japan!

1 Nara Deer Park – Free

Located roughly 30 kilometres away from Osaka and Kyoto is Nara Deer Park. Get face-to-face with an abundance of friendly deer as they freely roam round the public park in Nara city centre. Entry is free and one of the best activities to do in Japan! You have the option to buy deer crackers for 200 yen (around £1.15).


Just like the Japanese population, the deer even bow! If you bow first you might be lucky enough to get one back, it’s extremely cute but they’re definitely doing it to try and get some food off you! Also in the park you’ll find beautiful temples, shrines and tranquil gardens. It really is a must-see area.

Deer bowing

I’d recommend visiting in March/April time so you can also enjoy the Sakuras (cherry blossoms) – they really are beautiful.

Deer behind cherry blossoms

2 Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama – Cheap

On the western outskirts of Kyoto is Arashiyama, a popular tourist destination with stunning rivers, traditional Meiji-style houses and Arashiyama Monkey Park. To access the monkey park it does include a reasonable level of fitness as there is a steep hill to climb, taking roughly 30 minutes. Once at the top you’ll be faced with a breathtaking view of Kyoto. Entry costs 600 yen per person (around £3.50).


Watch these magnificent creatures roam freely around the hilltop. You can also purchase some monkey snacks at the top which I’d recommend.

Monkeys on hilltop

3 Sake Brewery – Free

While in Kobe head to Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum. Entry is fee! Here you’ll gain an insight into how traditional sake is made. There’s also a duty-free shop if you wanted to pick up any Japenese rice wine at a cheaper price.

Sake museum

4 Sagano Bamboo Forest – Free

Japan’s most famous bamboo forest, located in Arashiyama. Stroll through the bamboo-lined walkway while feeling a sense of serenity. It can get busy around lunchtime so I’d recommend visiting early in the morning to beat the crowds.

Bamboo forest

5 Abenos Harukas Building – Free

No need to pay over the odds for a stunning view of Osaka; simply head to Japan’s tallest building located conveniently near JR Tennoji Station. This was one of my favourite free activities to do in Japan. Get the lift up to the 16th floor and be faced with a beautiful courtyard complete with seating and tables. There is also an observation deck on the 58th, 59th and 60th floor which offer panoramic views which costs 1,500 yen (around £8.50). So if you’re sticking to a budget, I’d recommend just visiting the 16th floor.


Or if you fancied a bit of culture, on the 16th floor there is also the Abeno Harukas Art Museum, costing 1,500 yen at the door (around £8.50).

There are my top 5 free and cheap activities to do in Japan – let me know if you have any others!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *