Who can think of free things to do in Shibuya when you’re filled with thoughts of shopping, shopping, and more shopping? We all know that Shibuya is the Mecca for youth fashion subculture and simply being in the center of it all is an experience in and of itself. Shibuya scramble crossing, the Takeshita Street, and the many cafes and Crêpes shops are all the signature experience of the youth district. You can actually still enjoy a number of free things if you look close enough. Here are some of our top picks!
Free things to do in Shibuya: Unwind at Chikamichi Lounge
Amidst the constantly busy and buzzing realm that is Shibuya, the Chikamichi Lounge felt like haven for the quite it offers. Getting into the Chikamichi Lounge is completely free. All you have to do is fill out a form with your contact information, and you’re in. Displays of photoworks by Ninagawa Mika are featured in the powder rooms. The lounges and rooms are simply beautiful and very comfortable. And considering this is Tokyo, the lounges as well as its powder and dressing rooms are surprisingly spacious. A lot of people have voiced their confusion as to what exactly is the purpose of this space and how does Tokyu justify the cost? I mean, it is free!
Free things to do in Shibuya: Enjoy the Yoyogi Park
The Yoyogi Park is known as one of the major parks in Tokyo and also one of the largest. The Yoyogi Koen can be accessed in a mere 5 minutes walk from the JR Station. The park is completely free of entrance fee and is open for 24 hours, unlike some parks.
There are simply a wealth of things you can do and see in the Yoyogi Park. Located in the center of the youth hub of Shibuya, there’s bound to be performers, cosplayers, and the likes. Festivals and flea markets are also held here. Yoyogi Park flea markets are huge, with hundreds of vendors selling all kinds of goods from antiques to fashion items. The dates are irregular, but it’s usually held on the first or third weekends of the month. Keep a close watch on the Yoyogi Park official website if you’re interested!
Free things to do in Shibuya: A Short Visit to Diesel Art Gallery
Featuring works of pop culture by both local and international artists. Entrance is completely free and you won’t feel pressured to buy anything. Some merchandise such as postcards and prints are of course, available for sale.
The visit is ideal for a short trip of 10 to 15 minutes, so you won’t have to worry about planning in advance! The place is primarily a boutique department store of sorts. Find the art gallery at B1F. It’s easy to enjoy the store’s cozy, modern ambience. Take a look at their some pictures posted by visitors on instagram.
Go to Shibuya Parco Gallery X
Another free gallery that you can enjoy! If you happen to shop at the Parco department store, checking the gallery out is a perfect way to conclude your shopping trip. Head to the Parco shopping mall building Note that the one with free entry is the Parco gallery, not the Parco Museum. The Gallery X is located on the B1F.
Enjoy some quite by going to the Libraries
A quiet place in an area as busy as Shibuya is just haven. Sometimes, there are no better free things to do in Shibuya than simply sitting down at a quiet place surrounded by books. There are several libraries that you can visit in Shibuya, all within the walking distance of the stations. The ones located in the major Harajuku and Shibuya station are the Chuo library and Komorebi-Owada Library, respectively. Here’s the information on the Shibuya City Office official website.
Visit Meiji-Jingu – Shibuya’s cultural landmark
The Meiji Shrine is one of the major cultural landmarks amidst the ever-changing landscape of Shibuya. Although the shrine did not house the Emperor’s grave, the place continued to be an important cultural site that sees millions of visitors each year. If you’re lucky, you may catch a Shinto wedding ceremony.
Take pictures at the Hachiko Statue
The most famous popular meeting spot, the statue is popular all year-long with both domestic and foreign visitors of Tokyo. This is undoubtedly amongst the most famous free things to do in Shibuya. The Hachiko statue is always packed with people hanging around. Oh, and because virtually everyone’s taking pictures, it’s easy to ask other travelers to take yours, especially if you go solo. Locals would generally also understand simple English and are friendly enough to snap you some shots!
Catch a mini-live concert at the Tower Records
A haven for music lovers, Tower Records is a house to records and releases imaginable. Aside from finding imported and domestic CDs, DVDs, vinyl, and cassettes, a mini live concert is often held here. Here’s their official website (in Japanese), if you’re lucky, you may enjoy a nice gig while being surrounded by one of the vastest record collections in Japan.
Glimpse at the local salarymen typical after-work routine at Nonbei Yokocho
Of course, drinking is not “free” but simply catching at the ambience of the locals’ salarymen lives here can be a nice little experience in itself. Nonbei Yokocho is a small alley hidden amidst the towering buildings of Shibuya. Nonbei Yokocho basically translates to the “drunkard alley”. These izakayas are tiny. They only fit five to six people at most! You’ll have no choice but to interact with the people next to you.
The place is seemingly untouched by the metropolitan that is Shibuya. Take pictures and vlogs! They make great social media content for your accounts and it’s certainly one of the free things to do in Shibuya. And if you so happen to crave some sake, then hop into one of the bars. The prices here aren’t exactly cheap because of the fact that the alley is quite famous. In fact, you can be charged just to sit down (some charges 600 yen per person). Here is the map to make sure you get the right alley!
Stroll at the famed Takeshita-dori Harajuku
Always crowded with people, especially youths, Takeshita Street is a phenomenon in itself. This is the area around which you can easily spot someone expressing themselves through their bold fashion statement. If you’re an avid follower of the Tokyo Fashion feed, then this is definitely the place for you.
It’s definitely one of the signature free things to do in Shibuya. The Takeshita street is lined mostly with shops, but you can see a lot of interesting youth pop culture and sub-culture in fashion even without intending to spend a penny. This is the place rich with all the quirky things that you can photograph. From the buzzing activities of its youth, down to the life-like crêpe models in front of Takeshita streets’ many stores.