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Night Out in Shinjuku Tips (42)

Night Out in Shinjuku: My favorite town, Shinjuku Nichome!!

Shinjuku is the busiest area in Tokyo but Shinjuku Nichome is pretty quiet during the week days.
However, on weekends, there are so many people walking along the main street NakaDori and saying hi to each other. My regular spot, AiiRO CAFE offer Beer all you can drink from 6pm to 9pm so I will always start my night with my friends here. On the Halloween, It was soooooo packed!!
Sunday night is open and not so quiet but not busy as weekends.
Manager, Nozomi is really nice and I love her!

Dress Code If you carrying big bags, you can ask staffs to keep it somewhere that will not disturb your fun night:)

ichiroTK
Nov 05, 2015

Night Out in Shinjuku: met a Japanese GBFF!

Don’t miss out Shinjyuku 2chome. It is Japan’s Gay mecca and it’s very interesting to see and talk to people here. They are very sweet.
One of my favorite open air cafe, advocates cafe was renovated to AiiRO CAFE.
Really popular among foreigners in Japan.

Not only meeting someone I can date, I made a lot of good friends in there too.
On the weekend, street will be crowded, so it is fun to check out guys walking the street too!
Their drinks are awesome, btw.

Dress Code anything will be fine

ichiroTK
Mar 27, 2015

Night Out in Shinjuku: The biggest Gay Town in Japan, Shinjuku Nichome

The most exciting and friendly town, Shinjuku Nichome!
Largest Gay town in Japan. There are about 300 gay bars and night club.
I was surprised to see Japanese Shrine Gate, Torii on the main street.
It was a open air Bar called "AiiRO CAFE". from 6pm to 9pm, they have all-you-can-drink
for beer! just 1000yen(about 10 dollars US).

erikavt
Mar 05, 2015

Golden Gai Area, Shinjuku

Golden Gai is a small area of Shinjuku that is known for its tiny bars that date back to the end of World War II. The area has six main alleys, connecting about 200 ramshackle bars and restaurants, most of which are just big enough to seat five to ten customers. While this is a very unique area of modern Tokyo, it is said that most of Tokyo was comprised of similar neighborhoods following the last World War, and up until the economic boom of the 1980s and 1990s.

Golden Gai is famous for its nightlife, and despite the rickety appearance of the bars, the area is somewhat trendy and expensive. Golden Gai is specially known as an area that attracts artists, including musicians, painters, actors and writers. Many of the tiny establishments have a few regular customers, and they save seats for these regulars, sometimes even refusing to serve new faces, especially Westerners. However, if you see English signs and menus, that is said to be a good indicator that the bar welcomes foreigners.

One Sunday evening, we were in the area and decided to get a drink in Golden Gai. We did a loop around the bar district, which was very quiet at 7pm, but one of the bars with an English sign was open. We stopped in and immediately struck up a conversation with the friendly middle-aged bartender who learned his English in Europe. Later, three other Westerners showed up, and we had a great time. While we originally planned to have only one or two beers, we ended up staying for 4 or 5 each.

Golden Gai is a quick five-minute walk from the northeast side of Shinjuku Station.

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Ewingjr98
Mar 08, 2014
 
 
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various: Shinjuko at night

On our return to Tokyo at the end of the tour we had dinner with most of the group and a farewell drink at the hotel. Some had to get up early the next day for flights home, but Chris and I were staying in Japan for a few more days and our train to Nikko wasn’t until mid morning. The night was young and the bright lights of Shinjuku were calling! So we went out to explore and take some photos.

This is one of the most vibrant night-life areas of the city, and was a real contrast to Asakusa where we had stayed at the start of our trip – and even more to beautiful Kamikochi where we had been for the previous two nights. We wandered through the streets near our hotel and took lots of photos of the neon lights and all the activity. In some ways we could have been in any major city; in others, it was uniquely Japan.

I was especially intrigued by the narrow alleyways north of the station, known variously as Omoide Yokocho (which means “memory lane”), Yakitori Alley or more crudely, P**s Alley. They are lined with a myriad of the tiniest restaurants I think I have ever seen, most with just a counter and a handful of stools. Big bowls of noodles (ramen, soba, udon) bubble on the stoves and yakitori skewers are lined up on the grills. Fragrant steam rises on the air to tempt diners. Unfortunately we had already eaten so we just strolled through and took in all the sights.

A less appealing area for many will be Kabukicho, Japan’s largest red light district, which lies to the north east of the station. When we passed here I spotted several men obviously out to tout for business so we gave it a miss! It’s probably safe enough with so many other people around, but there were plenty of other streets to explore and bright lights to photograph.

Dress Code No need to dress up if you’re just walking the streets and looking for photo opps, and even if you plan to go in a bar or restaurant, those we saw were not fancy.

And talking of bars, you could do worse than visit the cosy 82 Ale House

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toonsarah
Nov 18, 2013

82 Ale House: A British? Pub

After we’d spent some time wandering around Shinjuku’s brightly lit streets we decided it was time for another drink. We had spotted the narrow frontage of this bar and thought it looked welcoming so decided to give it a try. It was quite an interesting experience! The aim here was to recreate a British pub in the heart of Tokyo and I imagine for Japanese visitors it could feel very exotic and foreign. Certainly there were plenty of them there – the small space was almost full and mostly with Japanese drinkers though there were a few Westerners too. In appearance it has managed to create a fair impression of a UK pub (we were chuffed to see old pictures of Northumberland on the walls) and they have also replicated the custom of ordering and paying for your drinks at the bar. But it was very odd to be greeted at the door, after descending the short flight of steps to the basement, and seated as if we were in a restaurant – “Table for two? Over here please”!

Once settled at our table (which we were lucky to get) we found that there was a decent selection of drinks including some British ales, naturally, but also local ones. Chris had a Kirin while I was persuaded by the pub’s Jack Daniels promotion to try a cocktail based on their Tennessee Honey whiskey which was rather nice. We also shared a bowl of mixed nuts. I can’t remember what we paid but it was reasonable.

We had really enjoyed our visit here so when we returned to Shinjuku after our weekend in Nikko we were keen to come back. Although the weather was terrible, the worst of the rain had passed by this time so we grabbed our umbrellas and headed out. It was a Sunday evening and the place was as busy as before but luckily not totally packed, and again we were welcomed and shown to a table.
I had developed a taste for Japanese whisky so sampled two of the four on the menu, deciding that the Yoichi was my preferred one. Chris again had local beer (Kirin) and we had a lovely last evening in Japan in this cosy spot.

We had already eaten but the pub does a range of British pub food dishes (sausages, fish and chips) though I don’t know how authentic these are, and it also has some Japanese food I think.

But there is more to Shinjuku than nightlife, as a walk in its skyscraper district reveals.

Dress Code Smart casual or even just casual is fine!

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toonsarah
Nov 16, 2013

Golden Gai Festival

Dress Code Golden Gai has an annual festival on a Sunday night in late August. At other times of the year, the bars have expensive cover charges and even more expensive drinks, but on this one night, everything changes. During the Golden Gai Festival, about 150 of the more than 200 bars in the neighborhood open their doors to visitors. They drop the cover charges and each offers a number of drinks for jsut 500 Yen. We visited 4 or 5 different establishments over the course of a few hours, and we really had a great time! We tried out several bars that we normally wouldn't have visited since they dropped their cover charges for the evening.

Golden Gai is a small area of Shinjuku that is known for its tiny bars that date back to the end of World War II. The area has six main alleys, connecting these miniature ramshackle bars and restaurants, most of which are just big enough to seat five to ten customers. While this is a very unique area of modern Tokyo, it is said that most of Tokyo was comprised of similar neighborhoods following the last World War, and up until the economic boom of the 1980s and 1990s.

Golden Gai is known for for its nightlife, and despite the rickety appearance of the bars, the area is somewhat trendy and expensive. Golden Gai is specially known as an area that attracts artists, including musicians, painters, actors and writers. Many of the tiny establishments have a few regular customers, and they save seats for these regulars, often refusing to serve new faces in the area, especially Westerners. However, if you see English signs and menus, that is said to be a good indicator that the bar welcomes foreigners.

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Ewingjr98
Sep 07, 2013

2 x 4 = ∞

2 x 4 = ∞ is the unique name for a great place in Golden Gai. The bar is a sports themed establishment, with a big TV usually showing soccer or baseball. We stopped here the night of Golden Gai Festival 2013, and we had a great time from about 10:30pm until they kicked us out and shut the door around 11:30 or midnight. The customers were great and friendly, and the guest bartender for the night was awesome.

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Ewingjr98
Aug 27, 2013
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Baltimore Jazz Bar - Golden Gai

Baltimore (ボルチモア) Jazz Bar is a great little spot in Golden Gai. They normally have an 800 Yen seating charge, but this fee is waived one night a year during the Golden Gai Festival in late August. Beers are usually 700 Yen, but they were reduced to just 500 Yen for the festival.

The nice sign out front has the image of American jazz musician Nina Simone. She released an album called Baltimore late in her career, and the photo on the sign is from the album jacket. See the Wikipedia page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_%28album%29

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Ewingjr98
Aug 27, 2013

Ace's - Golden Gai, Shinjuku

Ace's is one of 200 or so tiny, hole-in-the-wall bars in Shinjuku's Golden Gai neighborhood.

Golden Gai is a small area of Shinjuku that is known for its tiny bars that date back to the end of World War II. The area has six main alleys, connecting these miniature ramshackle bars and restaurants, most of which are just big enough to seat five to ten customers. While this is a very unique area of modern Tokyo, it is said that most of Tokyo was comprised of similar neighborhoods following the last World War, and up until the economic boom of the 1980s and 1990s.

Golden Gai is known for for its nightlife, and despite the rickety appearance of the bars, the area is somewhat trendy and expensive. Golden Gai is specially known as an area that attracts artists, including musicians, painters, actors and writers. Many of the tiny establishments have a few regular customers, and they save seats for these regulars, often refusing to serve new faces in the area, especially Westerners. However, if you see English signs and menus, that is said to be a good indicator that the bar welcomes foreigners.

One Sunday evening, we were in the area and decided to get a drink in Golden Gai. We did a loop around the bar district, which was very quiet at 7pm, but one of the bars with an English sign was open. We stopped in and immediately struck up a conversation with the friendly middle-aged bartender who learned his English in Europe. Later, three other Westerners showed up, and we had a great time. While we originally planned to have only one or two beers, we ended up staying for 4 or 5 each.

And boy are the beers expensive here! Even at this mini establishment with no real entertainment and a basic beer and liquor selection, drinks were bout 900 Yen each.

My favorite things were the toothless old man who woke up after we were there for an hour, then entertained us by moonwalking to the restroom. Speaking of the restroom, ever see a sink built into the toilet tank? Impressive!

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Ewingjr98
Aug 27, 2013

Without a Sign Cafe - Golden Gai

Without a Sign Cafe has a sign out front that says Footsie in Japanese (あんよ). This bar, one of hundreds of tiny bars in Shujuku's Golden Gai district, took over Bar Footsie in 2002, but never removed the old sign. They did add the 無銘喫茶 above the original sign, which means Without a Sign Cafe.

Inside there are just seven seats at the tiny L-shaped bar. Quieter than many bars in Golden Gai, this one also is a tiny bit more upscale with wine, and expensive liquors, as well as Suntory beer in bottles. They also have a fancy restroom with fake stained glass and a bejeweled toilet seat.

There is a 300 Yen per person seat charge, and drinks start at about 600 Yen.

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Ewingjr98
Aug 27, 2013

Bar プラソ - Golden Gai

Bar プラソ (Puraso) is a large, second floor bar in Shinjuku's Golden Gai nightlife district. Formerly called "Bran," many maps still show this former bar's name. Seat charge at this large 15-20 seat bar is hefty at 1,000 Yen per person.

We stopped here during Golden Gai's 2013 street festival and enjoy the happy, festive atmosphere. We had a few beers, and many others at the bar were enjoying hard liquor, wine, and their small selection of food.

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Ewingjr98
Aug 27, 2013

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