Night Out in Roppongi, Tokyo
Roppongi is one of the more welcoming places in Tokyo for gaigin (Non Asian looking foreigners, particularly Americans). The area tends to be where those looking to come together go for fun.
I had a great time and met many Japanese friends at a club called Gas Panics, and regularly ate dinner in the area. (It is home to the Tokyo Hard Rock Cafe, a Western Style Ribs joint and other good restaurants).
It is actually easy to get to if you are on the Ginza Line, just keep going west and look for Roppongi as a stop. When you get out of the station, look for a building with a striped awning called "almond" when you see that, you are there!
In addition to clubs, Kareoke bars, restaurants and the usual sort of thing, there is the typical Japanese sex stuff. Chances are you will meet up at some point with a girl who just loves to give a massage, or the Australian ex-pat who works as a doorman for a strip club for the Yakusa. It is not a bad area, in fact I felt safer in Roppongi than I did in most places in the US of A, but if you don't go looking for trouble it won't find you.
Dress Code: For Gas Panics, dress nicely, but not too nicely, it is a dance club. Remember this isn't an American club where you have to skank yourself up to go to. No no no, instead go by the picture as a guide for Gas Panics and places like the Hard Rock. If you are going someplace else, this rule of thumb may not be appropriate.
if there is one place in Tokyo that brings out a mixture of emotions...it has to be Roppongi. I've been in Tokyo for over four years now so let me try to break it down for you. One of the funny things about this place is that all of the local foreigners will tell you they hate it and that they never go...but then lo and behold, you bump into those same ones stumbling out of Gas Panic on Saturday night talking about how "they just came because thier friends made them" or some bs like that. So anyone that tells you they hate Roppongi is probably full of it. The bottom line is that it is the safest bet for happening nightlife in Tokyo...especially if you don't speak Japanese or have a good local guide, as nearly all of the clubs have english speaking staff and openly welcome foreigners. Another bonus is that it's a pretty good bet that if you see a girl there, she is actively looking for a foreign guy, so your stock just went up my friend! Here are some basic tips that should help you out:
1) If an African guy come up to you and tells you to come to his club that is packed with Japanese girls just politely say no thanks and keep moving...the good clubs don't need touts on the street to get clientele
2) Stick to Japanese girls or 1st world western girls. I might get some hate mail on this one but Roppongi is full of prostitutes and con artists and I'm sorry to say it but most of them come from places like the Phillipines, Israel, or Columbia.
3) Don't go on a weekday. I used to prefer Thursdays but it seems like it's recently been dead on the weekdays. Stick to the happening nights on the weekend.
Clubs like Gas Panic, Wall Street I and II, Motown I and II and 911 (recently reopened) draw pretty much the same party hard crowd. If you are looking for a more civilized club experience head over to Velfarre or to Grace.
Love it or hate it Roppongi is definitely worth a look around.
Dress Code: I've got to chime in here...I've seen on other posts people recommending that you dress up. You are wasting your time. This place is utterly casual. There are places in Tokyo that require you to dress smartly but Roppongi is certainly not one of them. A casual urban look will work way better for you.
Ropponggi Intersection has something for everyone. It is a popular spot for foreigners and you will see many people thronging the streets late into the night.
I did enjoy my visit to Motown (in front of Wall Street). It plays upbeat remakes of the Motown Greats and attracts the 28-45 age-group, good mix of Asians and Europeans, drinks from 800 Yen, no cover). What does my taste in music tell you about me? (he he). There was also a little dance floor where a Japanese Michael Jackson look alike all dressed in white and dark sunglasses was grooving to the moves with a couple of girl pals.
I was also keen to visit the rather famous El Cafe Latino but didn't have the energy to stay up all night.
If you have time, Wall Street (very near Gas Panics), looks very elegant from the outside and has been recommended on certain websites, but I didn't get a chance to go in. It is located on the 2nd floor of a dinghy building, with many of its cocktails bearing financial terms. Apparently from other sources, drinks are from 500 yen during Happy Hour.
Dress Code: Dress up and you'll fit in for sure. You can wear jeans, but put on a nice top that is classy.
Sorry, the picture was not taken at Ropponggi but in Shinjuku. It simply would not be cool to have brought my camera along when going to have drinks with friends. I certainly didn't want to look like a gawky tourist!
Ropponggi is where you will find many foreigners & visitors congregating. There are pubs, jazz & dance clubs but as I was only in Tokyo on a short visit I was unable to personally check them all out. (as if anyone could-there are so many!)
I noticed a Hard Rock Café, TGI Fridays, Starbucks which were all located in and around the Roppongi Intersection (at the intersection of Roppongi Dori & Gaien-Higashi Dori) at Roppongi.
I did visit Gas Panics (supposedly just behind TGI Fridays-but I walked around the side streets three times before actually finding the entrance to this club- there was a long queue waiting to get into the lift.
Spread out onto 3 floors, this club attracts a younger crowd - and many Americans - drinks are from 600 Yen, and there is very attentive service. The signs on the wall tell you that you have to order a drink or else you can't hang around. The lower floor (2nd floor?) was filled to the brim, so I went upstairs where it was quieter. Good choice: large video screen, less noisy, cosy little round tables with high stools and three women doing a spot of bar-top dancing. I believe they were customers and did not actually work there!
At Roppongi Intersection, you’re sure to find something just for you.
Tips for Women Travellers: There were a few men hanging around on the streets (handing out flyers or surveying the crowd for potential customers), so if you don't want any unwanted attention, it might be better to go with a friend or in a group, especially at night.
Dress Code: Casual or formal, but above all, try to fit in. For example, you might want to be cool and trendy at some dance clubs, and others have a more relaxed atmosphere and you can wear jeans and nice shirt or tops. Anyway, the Japanese always look well-groomed and well-dressed, so take your cue from there.
2F & 3F Gaspanic Bldg.
Tokyo, 106-0032 Japan
Phone: +81 (0)3 3405 0633
(Gaspanics has a branch in Shibuya too)
No. 2 Togensha Bldg.
2F 3-15-24 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Tokyo, 106-0032 Japan
Phone: +81 (0)3 5415 3251
El Cafe Latino
Win Roppongi 1F
3-15-24 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Phone: +81 (0)3 3402 8989
Clubs open from 5 or 6pm till the early hours.
we went to several bars, lounges but ended up at this huge mega club called vanilla. it was a huge 5 story bldg. each floor had different themes and rooms with different music. even a really nice restaurant. all kinds of people went. good looking/not good looking. rich/socialites/working bugs/pathetic drunks. i think there were 3000 ppl there minimum. partied til the sun came up and shut the place down. great place to meet ppl and to ppl watch. good music too. reggae is big in japan.
Dress Code: u can be as weird as u want and no one will bat an eyelash...come however u want.
velfarre is a highclass and expensive disco. Owned and operated by Japanese music label avex trax, this club has its own special "theme" nights. Regular theme nights include Thursday's SEF Gold and Saturday's Cyber Trance. Other nights include Salsa, Oldies, and R&B. velfarre occasionally holds special VIP Parties for some top artists, including Destiny's Child and Ashanti.
On the particular night I went to, it was Thursday's SEF Gold night. I brought an old velfarre entrance ticket from 2001 and got 50% off the entrance fee. The entrance level is 2F, and it includes a very nice lounge and a locker room. There is a "trail" that leads to the 2 elevators to get to the dance floor. When you enter the elevator, the lights go off. As you are going down, the ceiling lights turn all different types of colours and it plays music! The dance floor includes 2 bars on each side of the club with chairs and tables. There is a huge discoball hanging from the ceiling that is in the center of the club, and it is one of velfarre's signature pieces. Also in the center is the DJ Box, where you can request songs. The stage is also one of velfarre's signature pieces. They have very nice screens that play videos during the time. Most people who come here are regulars, so expect most of the people to know each other. Bring a friend with you if you don't feel comfortable being by yourself!
Bring your own water! If you do not want to purchase more drink tickets, I would suggest bringing your own in! For the regular entrance price, you usually only get 1 or 2 drinks. The only vending machine in the whole club is for Asahi beer, which is located next to the washrooms.
If you know what you're doing at this club, then it can be very enjoyable. I do not recommend this for people who just want to go drinking. If you just want to go drinking and look for cute Japanese girls, head over to GasPanic.
Dress Code: Dress nice! It is usually conservative casual, but it can usually depend on each different theme night. If you are too casual you might not be allowed inside!
I was part of a 2 week excursion to Japan as the culmination of a class that I participated in at my University in Philadelphia, USA. We traveled to Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima, Shodoshima Island, Meiyajima Island, and of course, Tokyo.
We stayed at a small hostel in Azabu Juban (right next to Roppongi). My group consisted of about 15 students (several of whom are international students from such countrries as Ghana and the Dominican Republic).
Our first night out, the hostel manager walked us to Roppongi. He said we wouldn't have a problem finding anything we could possibly want. I told him that I felt like dancing with cute Japanese girls, and he walked us to Vanilla, nestled in a small alleyway. Just look for the guy in the suit and tie out front - if you're a foreigner he will give you a 1000 yen discount coupon (as opposed to the typical 3000 yen cover). The 1000 yen included 2 drink coupons (at 500 yen each, it is esentially free admission).
Being a 6 foot tall white dude... well, I guess it went this way for my whole group of 'gaijin' - no pat down, no card-checking...
Once up the stairs, there were lockers to the left and a bar/dancefloor to the right. It was playing rap/R&B type stuff. The floor was pretty crowded, as well as the 'seating area' behind it. There were too many people to even notice it, but on another night spent at Roppongi, I discovered another huge room behind this area. If you follow the hallway around, theres another big bar with tons of tables and chairs, as well as another enourmous dancefloor. The DJ is spinning hip-hop/reggae/rap type music. This is where I saw some of the more "ghetto" Japanese people, but everyone was super friendly. I had guys talking to me, inviting me to dance with their girls... *** that would NEVERRRR happen in the US! I had a good time here, but it wasn't really my scene. Upstairs again, on the 3rd floor, is a small bar area at the top of the stairs. There are pictures behind the bar of Japanese people showing off their tattoos - Yakuza?
Dress Code: Around the bend is the biggest dancefloor in the club. The DJ plays trance/house/rave/techno, and it is an excellent assortment. There is a bar 5 steps away from the dance floor and i never had to wait for a drink even though the floor was COVERED with people. Gorgeous Japanese girls were up on the boxes dancing... just walk up and offer a hand - I can almost assure you that they will climb down and dance with you. I was surrounded in seconds, and it was GLORIOUS.
I met people from over a dozen different countries, but Japanese people made up most of the clinetelle (contrary to popular belief). Drinks were reasonable for the area (500-1200 yen). I bumped into some US military dudes, who actually bough me drinks for introducing them to the "white girls" on my trip, haha.
Check this place out! It won't disappoint! Even if you dont speak ANY Nihongo, you will do just fine!
It was all over the place. Jeans and Tees, up to shirts and ties. I wore nice jeans, a solid color dress shirt, and pennyloafers, and felt just right. Some of the Japanese girls were rocking cut up wifebeaters and short denim skirts with stilettos... amazing. Watch out for the group of hotties on the *** box to the right. They are tattoo'd up and undoubtedly the best looking in the club. Like I said, just offer a hand..........
I'm transferring to Sophia University in Tokyo as a direct result of the amazing time I had in Japan. Vanilla definately added to the fun!
If you're going to Roppongi you can expect to be surrounded by drunken American tourists, eurotrash-clubbers, cheap Japanese girls looking for a Gaijin for the night and a lot of drunken Japanese Businessmen. 80% of the clubs and bars are pure rubbish. If you are the typical low-brow tourist looking for fun in a familiar environment as you could have found at home where you came from, without being interested in the real thing, then stay on the main tracks and you will probably be pissed in 1 hour, hook up with a faux-blond Japanese girl in extra-high stilettos and get thrown out of the Hard Rock Cafe (yawn) when they're closing to find yourself puking into the Hibya-Metro-entrance before passing out. You'll find any American standardized food- & booze- chain there (HRC, Starbucks, TGI, MacDo, ...) and a lot of similar Japanese places where you can party like an idiot and lose the last bit of brains you brought here.
If you are more the kinda tourist who does not want to go to "familiar places" and wants to get drunk in style then check out the surrounding small streets. My tip: go to Super Deluxe. It's by far the best play to hang out in Roppongi. They have really good parties and DJ-gigs with pill-popping Japanese Hipsters as well as completely weird art-events and exhibitions. Oh my: they even brew their own beer in their very own "micro-brewery" (Tokyo Lager). The Gaijin:Japanese ratio is around 50:50. Check out the program before you go. Sometimes it can be boring, too (as it is with most of the really exciting things in life: no high without low).
There's also some really cool Shisha-bar somewhere on the 4th or 5th floor directly at the crossing, but I always forget how to get there...
Dress Code: Dandies. Rockers. Hipsters. Artists. Drunkards.
the place with the so called abundance of foreigners.Although there are many, you dont take so much notice.Just walk the main drag and pick and choose which club or nite spot you want to visit.Each club has a representative outside calling you in, offering free shots and cheap drinks, go have a look.
Dress Code: very relaxed
Roppongi is a popular district for nightlife, particularly with foreigners. If you don't speak Japanese and are feeling a little daunted by menus you can't read then head to Outback Steakhouse in Roppongi for dinner (see my Tokyo restaurant tips for more details).
We didn't get hassled by anyone during our time in Japan but there are some big burly looking men who stand outside bars and clubs in Roppongi, passing out flyers and trying to get you into their bars. I think I read somewhere as a rule that if you can't see inside the bar from the street then don't go in as you'll probably get ripped off.
Another thing we did while in Roppongi was go into a pet shop. There were loads of puppies and kittens all in glass cages and they were BEYOND CUTE! I've never seen a pet shop that sells cats and dogs before (my local in the UK only has rodents, rabbits, fish etc). I couldn't tell if it was cruel or cute but the animals all looked healthy. It was cuteness overload while I was in the shop but when I walked out I felt a bit guilty... (type 'japanese pet shop' into google images and you will see what I mean).
Dress Code: We only walked about and went to the restaurant and pet shop in Roppongi so I don't know about dress codes.
Nightlife in Roppongi pulsates with life, they have dirrent clubs for specific nationality, like the Brazilian one...You will love Roppongi if your a night time person!
Dress Code: Jeans would be okay but dress good! Japanese people dress well...
If you look for some western style nightlife (but not just) than the place to go in Tokyo is Roppongi. There you will find many pubs and clubs like Gas Panic or Motown House and you can spend the whole night till down when the first trains are leaving. (this is when the pic was made)
Dress Code: Depends where you go but the usual jeans and T-shirt will do at most of the places.
Roppongi is a place full of boisterous young expats (mostly males), so if you are looking for a drunken sausage fest- head there! If you want more authentic fun after hours, head to Shibuya or West Shinjuku.
Most of the bars are located along Gaien-Higashi street. It is the road which heads towards Tokyo Tower from Roppongi station.
If you are looking for a quiet place to go for a drink on a Friday night, Roppongi probably isn't the place to go.
Here are a few suggestions..
Bar, Isn't It
One of the first discount bars in Tokyo which offers all drinks for just 500 yen.
Bar which plays plenty of 70s and 80s music with one of the largest LP collections in Tokyo.
One of the first loud rock-and-roll, cash bars, with one of the cheapest happy hours in Tokyo. Until 9:30 pm, all drinks are only 400 yen and on Thursdays they are 400 yen all night. They actually have 3 bars in Roppongi with another one in Shibuya.
Small narrow bar which gets pretty crowded quickly. Be careful if you ring the bell as you will be buying everyone drinks in the bar.
Similar in style to Geronimo, on busy nights the crowd spills out on to the street.
One of Tokyo's more lively Irish Pubs
Tokyo Sports Cafe
One of Tokyo's most popular sports bars.
The Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills is a great place to spend an early evening. Catch the sunset view of Tokyo from the rooftop overlook, then dine in one of the many flavorful restaurants. Or you can take in the latest exhibition at the contemporary art museum on the 51st floor -- usually highlighting the work of an emerging Asian artist like China's Ai Wei Wei, designer of the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium and modern sculptor. Then you might decide to relax with a drink overlooking Tokyo at CityView. We chose to do all three, finishing off with a memorable Teppanyaki dinner at Hildalgo's on the 5th floor. I had shabu shabu but Janet had an unforgetable pancake concoction called okonomiyaki that she still raves about. It's a tasty melange of meat, cabbage, and onions in a thick batter that is fried right in front of you. Topped with tuna shavings and a tangy sauce -- it's yummy!