TripAdvisor have compiled their 2017 list of the best free tourist spots to visit based on comments and ratings on the service’s website over the past year. The list tallies 20 must-visit locations, all of which will have people baffled that they are actually free.
Coming in at number 1 this year is the “Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.” Comments pointed towards the building’s observation deck being free as one of the highlights of the building. This has resulted in many tourists making their way to the building for a look themselves. A few years ago you would never see people lining up at the elevators, but now it’s not uncommon to see rows of people close to 50 meters on weekdays at noon.
Some other remarkable locations that ranked on the list are facilities related to beer brewery, specifically in Hokkaido, Shizuoka, Aichi, Kyoto and Osaka. This includes the Asahi Beer factories in Hokkaido, Suita (Osaka), Nagoya (Aichi), as well as “Baird Brewery Garden Shuzenji” in Shizuoka and “Suntory Kyoto Beer Factory” in Kyoto, all of which can be toured for free. At three of the Asahi Beer factories and the Suntory Beer Factory you’re allowed to sample up to three beers for free after the tours, so there’s often a lot of people! “Baird Brewery Garden Shuzenji” underwent reconstruction in 2014. There are free tours available on weekends and national holidays. You have to pay to try the samples here, but there’s a beer garden encased in the bliss of nature and you’re free to take snacks!
The Nozawa Onsen Public Baths (soto-yu) made its first ever appearance on the list. The people of the village offer the hot spring town’s 13 open air baths as community property. One comment said “You can enjoy 13 open air baths. There are many hot spring sources so I’m also thankful for that. Each of the baths have their own charm too you can enjoy each one of them individually. The water is pretty hot, but that’s what hot springs are all about!” (translated from Japanese)
Another new entry to the ranking is the “TOTO MUSEUM” which exhibits the history of the toilet company. TOTO was established in 1917 making this year the company’s 100th anniversary. To celebrate, the company opened the museum at its headquarters in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka in 2015. At the museum you can learn about the history of the business and the development of its products as well as how TOTO became architects of the plumbing industry.
With such a big list, there’s plenty to be enjoying during your trip in Japan, whether it’s the government building, TOTO MUSEUM, a beer factory and even the hot springs. Be sure to bookmark this list as reference during your travels.