For a Tokyo birthday to remember, this list has something for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned birthday expert, or new to the whole celebration thing, expect to be dazzled without spending too much. For Tokyo locals and visitors alike, make your day special as can be.
For the “yacht club” type
The Symphony Bay Cruise may look too swanky to be on cheapo brand, but think again. A lovely 50-minute “tea time” cruise ranges from ¥2,100 to ¥2,600. Or a 120-minute cruise around Tokyo Bay with dinner starts at ¥6,200 (and goes up depending on cuisine type). You can also opt for a lunch cruise which is a bit cheaper at ¥5,800.
During the meal there is often a jazz band playing. With window seats, eating and watching the waves below is a blast. After the meal, there is a cruise deck where you can mingle and take photos. Dinner courses run a bit higher, but the nighttime view is well worth it.
For kids at heart
So you’re more a land lover than a sailor, that’s okay. The Joypolis arcade/amusement park is located near Odabia station, and not far from the Symphony Cruise drop off. On your birthday the park will offer you free admittance with proof of birth via residence card or passport.
Joypolis has a ton of virtual games and rides to keep anyone smiling all day long. Children and adults alike love to spend time here, as its attractions are suitable for all ages. The icing on the cake is a free cup of Dippin’ Dots, but it doesn’t need to be cake flavored.
For birthday haters
Unable to cope with the years flying by? Worried senseless by receding hairlines? Maybe batting cages is the place to be. The Shinjuku Batting Center is only ¥300 for a 28-pitch game, affordable enough to swing at each year and watch it fly away. Maybe you can hit a home run?
While on the topic of blowing off steam, karaoke is also a viable option. Belting out the lyrics to your favorite song feels amazing, and is cost effective to boot. There is a Uta Hiroba, one of the cheapest karaoke places in Tokyo, located nearby the Batting Center at Seibu-Shinjuku Station. For 30 minutes during the daytime (until 6pm) it is only 125-155 yen. After 6pm it increases to 330-400 yen Sunday through Thursday night, so singing before swinging is recommended.
Tokyo Tower used to give away birthday packages for free and was the place to be for your big day in Tokyo. Unfortunately, there is now a charge, but at ¥900 for a sweet treat, specal edition bookmark, free admission to the Sky Lounge Terrace Garden (which is usually ¥1,030) and an optional photo op, it isn’t an absurd price. So grump all you might while handing over your change, but be sure to enjoy the view. The offer is valid on the date of birth and one day before or after, just in case the stars don’t align in your favor.
For kinky romantics
Looking for some frisky fun on a budget? Maybe a love hotel is the way to go on your birthday. That is, if you have someone to share it with that is (or just you, no judgement here). Love hotels can be found around most high-traffic areas, so it is the perfect place to go after birthday drinks. Note these hotels do not take reservations in advance—though if the first one you try is all booked up, there’s usually a bunch more not too far off. The whole process is also very discreet for shy birthday boys and girls, so no need to worry.
Many love hotels have special rates for birthdays, but regardless, the rates are much better than what you get at a normal hotel. Plus there are so many different themes and decorated rooms to choose from. One recommended hotel is Hotel Sara Sweet, which has stay rates from ¥7,800. Some of the rooms are decorated like traditional Japanese palaces and futuristic plastic castles. Other rooms have beautifully elegant decorations that will make anyone feel special. It is located only eight minutes from Kinshicho Station, three stops from Akihabara. If frills and castles aren’t your thing, just take a stroll around Shinjuku or Ikebukuro and find your fancy.
For any birthday celebration, it should be something to remember. Take yourself or the one you love on a special day filled with fine-tailored activities that are unique to Tokyo. All of these options come cheap, but are worth much more in memories.