Meguro Parasitological Museum - Free!
The very first place we visited in Tokyo was a museum all about parasites! Please note, we went there as part of Angel's birthday request. It wasn't my cup of tea at all, but he found it very fascinating. I closed my eyes through as much of the museum as I safely could. It's very small, but it's walking distance from a train station and easily accessible. A good visit if there's someone in your party whose excited by the prospect of viewing insanely long tapeworms and other terrible things. Next time, I think I'm delegating the job of taking Angel to parasite exhibits to someone else. Any volunteers?
Shibuya - Free
Well, I should say it's free to explore. Shopping in Shibuya is certainly not free! The area around Shibuya station is where you can view the famous Hachiko statue. There are lots of interesting malls in the area to explore, along with plenty of restaurants. We had lunch at Kamakura--which only set us back about $9.50 USD for a set of noodles, rice, and dumplings, which we split, and was a very filling meal for the both of us.
Yokohama Doll Museum - 400 yen
Similar to,and yet completely different from, a museum about parasites, this is a very specific, small museum that caters to enthusiasts on a particular topic. I happen to be a passionate fan of dollhouses, I even own one back in the USA, so I was very happy to stop by here. Angel was happy to, because he wanted a break from walking. He sat on a bench while I entered the exhibit. I actually just visited the special dollhouse exhibit, which was only a 200 yen entry fee, making the museum even more budget-friendly. I loved seeing the tiny things, and the variety of both western and eastern minatures was lovely.
Hikawa Maru - 300 yen
The Hikawa Maru is a passenger ship that was in use from the 1930s until 1960. You can tour the whole ship for a ticket price of less than $3 USD!! How cool is that??!! We spent several hours exploring every part of this boat, from the engine room to the captain's quarters. I loved playing with the telegram. I'm not sure I would be very good at the rhythm required for Morse Code. On the gorgeous stairways and in the luxuriant 1st class dining hall and smoking room I felt a bit like I were touring the Titanic (which, I know, is impossible). We also got to see an 8-bed room in 3rd class and realistically noted that that's where we'd be traveling with our family if we'd had the notion to cross the ocean back in the day. It makes sitting in an economy seat in the back of an airplane for 13 hours sound not bad at all!
Cupnoodles Museum - 500 yen
This museum was another birthday request of Angel's. He loves instant ramen--and sometimes wishes I cooked less often so that he had more excuses to eat it. Here we learned about Momofuku Ando and his process of inventing first a method of drying ramen noodle with hot oil, so that they could be sold in packed as instant ramen, then, later on, he invented Cupnoodles and Space Ramen.
Tokyo National Museum - 620 yen
On our last day in Tokyo, we went to the Tokyo National Museum. It's a large museum complex with multiple buildings, and is beautifully and elegantly designed. The collection of artifacts is quite impressive, as they have artifacts not only from Japan, but also from the rest of Asia as well as from the Middle East and Africa. They had a mummy! And a great deal of art, as well as Japanese clothing and jewelry. Angel was hoping they'd have more exhibits on modern Japanese history, but this museum is definitely primarily focused on the long-ago past, we didn't see much if anything from the 1900s onward. The ticket price is definitely a good value for the beauty and interesting information about all the artifacts present.
Explore the City - Free, until you buy and/or eat something
Tokyo is a great city to wander around. If you're completely new to the place like we are, you never know when you'll run into a Tamagochi store, a flea market, lotuses that appear to be taking over the whole pond and maybe the world after that, or an interesting cemetery.
The Observation Deck at Haneda Airport - Free
And when it's time to go, if you're lucky enough to be flying out of Haneda Airport, they have an awesome rooftop observation deck where you can stand outdoors, enjoy the breeze, and watch planes land and take off. I have never been to an airport with anything like this (and I've been to a lot of airports...). It was so cool, and a fantastic way to say "goodbye!" to Tokyo.
What kinds of things do you like to do on vacation to help stick to your budget?