Aren’t the words “free entry,” “costs nothing,” and “0 yen” exciting to hear? I think we can all agree that there’s nothing better than a good deal, especially when that deal happens to be completely, 100% free.

While attractions marked as free may set warning bells ringing for some people, Japan has plenty of high-quality, worthwhile places to visit that are such a blast, you actually wouldn’t mind paying money for admission—except that they really do cost absolutely nothing to enter!

Travel website TripAdvisor‘s rankings were calculated using some fancy algorithm based on user comments and number of listings, and all of these places are so well-liked that people are usually shocked to find out that they don’t have to pay any money to enjoy them.

It’s interesting to note that, in comparison to last year’s list, several new “nature spots” have entered the list this year, illustrating the popularity of the natural world and the changing of the seasons in Japan.

Without further ado, here’s TripAdvisor’s list of the Top 20 free attractions in Japan. Note that the number to the right of each entry shows its ranking relative to what it was last year.

20. Japan Mint Museum, Osaka (new entry) 

19. Kirin Yokohama Beer Village, Kanagawa (18↓)

18. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum, Hiroshima (5↓)

17. Former JR Izumo Taisha Station, Shimane (new entry)

16. Kanoya Air Base Museum, Kagoshima (new entry)

15. Kurobe Dam, Toyama (1↓)

14. Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, Hokkaido (12↑)

13. Farm Tomita, Hokkaido (new entry)

12. Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Osaka (16↑)

11. Hotel New Otani Japanese Garden, Tokyo (new entry)

10. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tokyo (7↓)

9. Happo-en Japanese Garden, Tokyo (13↑)

8. Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, Osaka (10↑)

7. JAL Sky Museum Factory Tour, Tokyo (new entry)

6. Narita-san Park, Chiba (new entry)

Let’s see which attractions made the Top 5!

5. Nikka Whiskey Distillery Yoichi, Hokkaido (2↓)


This Hokkaido distillery experienced a boom in popularity after it was featured in the 2014 Japanese drama Massan. The free, guided tours come highly recommended.

4. Hotel Chinzan-so Tokyo Garden, Tokyo (15↑)


This lovely garden originally created in the Meiji era (1868-1912) is sure to delight city-dwellers in need of some greenery.

3. Asakusa Cultural Sightseeing Center, Tokyo (14↑)


The building’s terrace offers a spectacular view of the surrounding Asakusa area, including the Tokyo Skytree.

2. Shugaku-in Imperial Villa, Kyoto (4↑)


There’s never a bad season to visit this cultural treasure in the heart of Japan’s ancient capital.

1. Okichan Theater Dolphin Show (Churaumi Aquarium), Okinawa (6↑)


Snatching this year’s No. 1 spot is Okichan Theater, a dolphin show at Okinawa’s Churaumi Aquarium. In truth, it’s quite sad to see something like a dolphin show in the top slot since we’d much rather these creatures out in the ocean clearly visible in the background here than jumping through hoops for our enjoyment, but that’s how the ranking stands.

But enough of that! Let us know of any overlooked Japanese attractions with free admission in the comments section below. We’d love to hear about your own favorite free spots

Source and images: TripAdvisor, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
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