If you’re a cheapo, there’s nothing better than getting things for cheap or for free just because it’s your birthday. There used to be a few better deals but you can still get a little something for nothing on the day you turn a year older.
1. Go up Tokyo Tower for Cheap
You used to be able to go up Tokyo Tower for free on your birthday, but now you can’t. If it’s the day of your birthday or one day on either side, you can go up to the 150m observation deck for 700yen – that’s an underwhelming 120yen discount on the regular price. However, you’re also entitled to a “free sweet” at one of 5 cafes inside the complex as well as an original souvenir birthday card.
More info: http://www.tokyotower.co.jp/other/birthdaypack.html (link in Japanese)
2. Get 1000yen off a 1 day passport at Joypolis in Odaiba
This special is available not just on your birthday but for the whole month. Additionally you get a 500yen discount coupon to spend anywhere in the complex.
More info: http://tokyo-joypolis.com/ticket/birthday/index.html (link in Japanese)
3. Free Dessert at Cocos
Do you like a bunch of strangers staring at you while another bunch of strangers sing happy birthday to you? You could probably skip on this step while you enjoy your free dessert while having a commemorative photo taken.
More info: https://www.cocos-jpn.co.jp/index.html (link in Japanese)
4. Free Big Size Sundae at TGI Fridays
Unlike the petite dessert sizes you get at a Japanese family restaurant, you know this is going to be rather large. TGI Fridays also offer the staff singing happy birthday to you and a commemorative photo. It’s also valid for the whole month of your birthday.
More info: http://www.tgifridays.co.jp/enjoy/ (link in Japanese)
5. A Dessert with Candle at Outback Steakhouse
Also includes the obligatory birthday song and photo.
6. Free Birthday Milk Cake and Plate at Sanrio Puroland
We’re not sure what a milk cake is, but you get to keep the plate that it came on. As this is the home of Hello Kitty, it’s probably a limited edition item that you can sell on eBay afterwards. Also includes an original birthday card, a birthday show (?) and a birthday song. This is probably aimed at kids but with the multi-generational popularity of Hello Kitty in Japan it’s hard to be sure.
7. 50% off Room Rental at Uta Hiroba
This place is already cheap, so With 50% off the room rental at Utahiro, you could probably spend your whole birthday here in an alcohol fueled karaoke haze.
More info: http://www.utahiro.com/tabid/84/Default.aspx (link in Japanese
8. Get a Cheap Room at a Love Hotel
Lot of love hotel chains have cheap deals on rooms on your birthday. The discounts range from 10 to 50% and you might need to sign up for their members card first. If you search for ‘誕生日’ at happyhotel.jp you’ll get a big list of options.
9. Get a Discount on a Rental Car
There are a few rental car agencies offering discounts for birthday boys and girls. They tend to be kind of small, but it’s better than nothing!
More info: http://www.jrerl.co.jp/phpapp/topics/newstopics_detail.phtml?topicsno=93&sid=jrerl (link in Japanese)
10. Get a free beer at British pub The Hub or 82 Ale House
If you have one of their loyalty point cards, you get a free beer on your birthday (the site says a special present, but last time I asked it was a beer).
More info: http://www.pub-hub.com/m_card/
Honourable mention: Fly anywhere in Japan on ANA for 12,000yen
Before the arrival of the low cost carriers, this was a great deal. Now, unless you’re flying to somewhere not served by an LCC then it’s kind of expensive. It’s available for the whole month of your birthday.
Our guide to prepay SIM cards, wifi routers, cafe wifi and other places to quickly find wifi whilst visiting Japan.