Nightlife in Tokyo is diverse and entertaining, though it's easy to get lost in tourist traps and miss out on the city's local ambience. Blue Note Tokyo and COTON CLUB are just a couple of Tokyo's countless live music venues where you can enjoy performances by famous artists from Japan and overseas. After enjoying live music, you can move on to excellent bars like Hard Rock Cafe Tokyo and My Scotch. 

    If you find some places a bit daunting to enter on your own, try joining the Evening Hato Bus Tour for a deep dive into Tokyo's nightlife with likeminded travellers. Let's take a look some of the best nightlife spots in Tokyo, which include tourist-friendly venues such as Shinjuku Golden Gai and the Robot Restaurant.



    Discover a vibrant area from sundown to sunrise

    Shibuya is a top entertainment district that's buzzing any night of the week. Start your evening at the world-famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing. Crossing here at night, with the glowing traffic lights, shiny buildings and synchronisation of thousands of people, is unforgettable. 

    Next, enjoy a few drinks at a laidback underground izakaya – a Japanese pub. You'll find these in the pedestrian-only back streets a block from the street crossing. This is Tokyo, so karaoke should be on your itinerary. Karaoke-Kan Shibuya and Big Echo Shibuya are fun places to belt out your favourite songs. Lastly, try and keep up with the locals and pull an all-nighter at one of Shibuya's mega dance clubs, such as Womb, Sound Museum Vision, and Club Camelot.

    Open: Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan


    Ginza Corridor Street

    Ginza Corridor Street (Ginza Corridor-gai) runs for about 400 metres under the elevated train tracks between JR Shimbashi Station and Yurakucho Station. This is a highly popular area thanks to its restaurants and bars from all over the world. You can enjoy fresh oysters at an oyster bar, or meat dishes served in generous portions with beer at Mexican or Brazilian restaurants. 

    Other recommendations include Spanish and French foods served in small portions with wine, tapas-style, and Chinese foods such as dumplings (gyoza) and Peking duck to be enjoyed with Shaoxing wine. There are also many restaurants where you can enjoy Japanese dishes such as teppan-yaki and shabu-shabu, or that serve skewered chicken (yakitori) and deep-fried skewers (kushi katsu) that go well with a quick drink.

    Location: Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan


    Roppongi Hills

    Modern entertainment and shopping complex

    Roppongi Hills is a newly developed multi-use complex in the Roppongi district. It features shops, bars, restaurants, offices, and apartments. For one of the best after-dark views of the city, head to the Tokyo City View observation deck at the top of the Mori Tower.

    The Mori Art Museum is also located within the Mori Tower and is open until 10 pm (except Tuesdays). The museum displays international contemporary artwork related to fashion, design, photography, and architecture. You can reach Roppongi Hills on the Hibiya and Oedo Subway Lines.

    Location: 6 Chome-10-1 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo 106-6108, Japan

    Phone: +81 364-066-000


    Tokyo izakayas

    A quintessential Japanese experience

    Izakayas are informal, Japanese-style restaurants similar to a tavern or a classic British pub. They are smoky, lively spots where friends and co-workers get together to eat, drink and be merry. Spending an evening in an izakaya offers a glimpse into the more boisterous side of Japanese culture. 

    Many izakayas offer two deals: tabehoudai (all-you-can-eat) and nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink). You’ll find typical Japanese drinks like nihonshu and umeshu, as well as draft beer and highball. Classic izakaya food includes sashimi, grilled meat and seafood, rice and noodle dishes, and salads. Some of the best izakayas in Tokyo include Gonpachi, Shirube, and Punk Rock Izakaya.

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    Location: Tokyo, Japan


    Tokyo Skytree

    Tokyo Skytree is a radio tower that's around 634 metres in height, with a 350-metre-high observation deck offering excellent views over the Kanto Plain. Completed in 2012, it was constructed in the Oshiage area of Sumida ward to support digital terrestrial broadcasting. 

    From the observation deck floor, you can take a TENBO Shuttle, which has a see-through ceiling, to the 450-metre-high Tembo Galleria observation corridor. After stepping out from the shuttle, you can walk to Sorakara Point, Tokyo Skytree's highest accessible point. On the ground level, Tokyo Skytree Town offers facilities such as Sumida Aquarium, Planetarium TENKU, as well as several cafés and restaurants.

    Location: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida Ward, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan

    Open: Observation deck: daily from 8 am to 9.30 pm. 1st and 5th floors: daily from 8.30 am to 9.45 pm


    Tokyo Bay Cruise / Sumida River Cruise

    Admire the view of Tokyo from the sea by taking a trip on a cruise ship, houseboat or water-bus. These tours depart from various piers in the Japanese capital. Luxury cruise ships departing from Hinode Pier offer dinner while cruising around Tokyo Bay. 

    You can opt for a houseboat tour, which replicates the ambience of the Edo period. Enjoy edomae tempura (deep-fried shrimp and conger eel) while admiring views of Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree. This tour usually departs from Akarenga Pier and offers night views of factory areas like Rainbow Bridge, Haneda Airport, and industrial canals. Water-bus is a useful means of transport if you want to visit the city's popular sightseeing spots as it departs from places within the Tokyo Metropolitan Area like Asakusa, Odaiba and Hamarikyu.


    Cocktails on Tokyo Bay

    A cool evening cocktail or locally brewed beer waterside on Tokyo Bay is the perfect way to top off a crisp spring evening. Rainbow Bridge all lit up is a dazzling sight from Intercontinental Tokyo Bay’s Sunset Lounge. Watch boats cruise by on the peaceful waters while you try the ales at TY Harbor Brewery or Waterside Lounge.


    Shinjuku Golden Gai

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    Shinjuku Golden Gai was an entertainment district where cultured people such as novelists and theatre actors used to gather in Tokyo. It's now a popular sightseeing spot for international tourists. The unique atmosphere, with nearly 300 bars crowded into a small area of less than 100 square metres, was a key part of its rating as a must-see in the Michelin Green Guide. 

    Shinjuku Golden Gai used to have something of an underground atmosphere, but these days it’s usually packed with tourists. Most of the bars in Golden Gai have a cover charge that's separate from the drinks charge, so you may want to ask the price before stepping inside.

    Location: 1-chome Kabukicho, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo 160-0021, Japan


    Big Echo Karaoke

    Big Echo is one of the biggest karaoke chains in the country, so you should expect to experience it Japan-style. This means no public performances, or ridicule, as each party has its own private, air-conditioned room with TV screens, sofas and karaoke set. Waitresses come and go with food and drinks and are ready to assist you at the touch of a button. The Ginza branch of Big Echo is well known because of the Hello Kitty theme room. There are all-you-can-drink packages available if you need some liquid courage to get you started.

    Location: 4-2-14 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, 104-0061, Japan

    Open: Daily from 12 pm to 5 am. Opens from 11 am on weekends


    photo by 運転太郎 (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Blue Note Tokyo Jazz Bar

    Blue Note Tokyo is arguably the most famous jazz venue in the city with a history of big names from Dizzy Gillespie to Sarah Vaughan. It has a connection to the famous New York jazz institution of the same name, along with the same high standards. Today the world’s best musicians still grace the Blue Note; Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, John Legend. The bar is compact, which gives the performances a deeper intimacy, and the name-sake blue-lit stage creates a moody ambience for jazz. The setting of low, broody lights, great food, and high-level music is sure to impress you. There's usually an entry fee starting from ¥7,000.

    Location: 6-3-16 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo, 107-0062, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)3-5485-0088


    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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