With ridiculously cheap flight options, its relatively close proximity to Australia and the promise of endless cultural fascination, Tokyo has in recent years become a regular go-to destination for Aussie travellers.
Though it enjoys a reputation for being an expensive destination to visit, when compared to our major cities, this idea is somewhat unfounded. That said if you’re willing to blow a hole in your wallet, the city’s endless shopping and eating options will definitely be able to help you on that quest.
Beyond shopping and eating though, Tokyo offers nightlife as big as its population is dense. Whether it’s outdoor block parties, intimate experimental nights or intimate house party vibes you’re after, here are six regular events and parties to check out in Tokyo on a budget.
Location: Address: 2-6-5 Kitazawa , Setagaya-ku
The trendy suburb of Shimokitazawa (or Shimokita for the locals) is a hotbed of coffee shops, bookstores, vintage boutiques and live music venues, but one place you can’t miss is semi-permanent pop up venue the Shimokitazawa Cage. Just short walk from the station tucked underneath the raised KEIO Bridge train tracks, the Shimokitazawa Cage is an ingeniously designed multi-purpose space.
Hosting flea market style vintage clothing, book and record stalls, art exhibitions, film nights and live performances, this indoor/ outdoor space is the perfect location to settle into as you watch your late afternoon hours afternoon segue into night.
With a house kitchen as well as a rotating cast of international food trucks, the food and drink options are as varied as they are affordable. The Cage will operating until 2019, for more information on what’s coming up visit their website.
Location: 36-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042
For those who can’t handle the single digit temperature of Tokyo’s winter and are hankering for a cheap ‘local’ while in town, Coins Bar has you set. Coins Bar is a well-trafficked, cozy dive bar nestled right in the pulsating heart of Shibuya.
Once you take the short five minute walk from Shibuya Crossing and head down the venue stairs you’ll realize where the this basement bar gets its name. With most drinks and food costing around 300 yen ($3.50 AUSD) it’s the perfect go to for the money wary visitor.
With DJs curating nights and a penchant for 90 RnB and hip hop, this well-trodden very foreigner friendly bar will get you primed for a big night on a small budget.
Koenji house party
Location: 4 Chome-25-7 Koenjiminami, Suginami, Tokyo 166-0003
‘The Hang Out’ crew are a collective of Japan based musicians, Djs, promoters and party-loving people who throw some of the most diverse and unforgettable (usually BYO) parties in Tokyo. The group’s flagship night is a regular event thrown at Sound Studio DOM in Koenji.
An easy six minute train ride from Shinjuku Station DOM Studio in Koenji is a rent-able music store/ studio by day and a multi-level (including open rooftop) and multi-room, event space by night.
With cheap entry (around 1000 yen depending on the night), re-entry all night, a very open BYO combini (convenience store) alcohol policy, live bands and DJs playing music of all tastes throughout the night, it’s clear why the party-loving masses flock to DOM Studio’s ‘The Hang Out’. For more info on their upcoming parties stay locked to The Hang Out’s Facebook page.
Location: 3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo
What could be considered almost the big sister of the Shimokita Cage, Commune 246 is an indoor-outdoor space hosting nights that feature the best food, booze, art, music and everything in-between.
A maze of drink stalls, craft and vintage stands and of course food merchants Commune 246 is the perfect location for endless grazing, drinking, people watching and socialising.
Jutting down a laneway adjacent to the glitzy shopping strips of Omotesando (jammed between Shibuya ad Harajuku) Commune’s laidback afternoon vibe transitions in an outdoor party as the sunsets and DJs take precedence. Also similar to Shimokitazawa Cage, with such a variety of food and drink options how much you spend for a night at Commune is entirely up to you.
Location: 〒150-0002 Tokyo, Shibuya, 渋谷4-5-9
So the clock is pushing further from the night deeper into the am and you’ve been out to see a band or you’ve been karaoking for a while but you’re not ready to go home just yet? Well Aoyama tunnel has you set.
Located a short trek (about 10 minutes) from the heart of Shibuya, Aoyama tunnel is a somewhat hidden go-to for both born and bred locals and long-term Tokyo residents alike. What makes Aoyama Tunnel so special, beyond its very tucked away location and incredibly cosy interior is the venue’s ability to capture Tokyo’s most fascinating DJs who all display pure and unabashed love of high quality house and disco, more specifically its love of quality house and disco on vinyl.
Open until 6am on weekends Aoyama Tunnel features free entry and reasonably cheap (but also adventurous) drinks. If you want to keep dancing, rehash the night that was or you’re killing time until first train Aoyama Tunnel is your always-reliable, booze filled home for when you’re not ready to go home.
ROSIE at The Room
Location: The Room, 〒150-0031 Tokyo, Shibuya, 桜丘町３−２２
A monthly Wednesday evening affair ROSIE is an intimate night of experimental art, music and culture run by Tokyo locals, but its doors are open to everyone. Kicking off at 7pm and wrapping up at the reasonable hour of 12am (it is a weeknight after all) ROSIE packs a lot into their five hour running time.
ROSIE is held in The Room a much loved Shibuya live space and bar which features bands at least five nights a week. If you’re on the hunt for a cultural night of progressive, experimental art and music don’t miss ROSIE.
For more info stay locked to The Room’s Facebook page. Entry is around 1000 yen, however message the Facebook page for info on how to nab a free (friend of ROSIE) door spot.