2019-02-22

Top 17 Drinking Districts for Nightlife in Tokyo

Area Guide

Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, with countless places where you can drink and be merry at all hours of the day and night. From glitzy bars to hidden watering holes, there’s something to suit all tastes. But if you’re looking for “must-go” drinking districts during your Japan travel adventure, here are 17 of the top destinations to experience Tokyo’s famous yokocho nightlife and mingle with the locals.

  • Shinjuku Nishiguchi - Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane)

    This ramshackle cluster of tiny bars and eateries in Shinjuku sprung up during the post-war years. Following a fire that destroyed much of the area in 1999, it was rebuilt as the popular drinking den known as “Memory Lane”. It’s easy to access from JR Shinjuku station’s east exit, with a pedestrian underpass to your left leading to the entrance.

    Omoide Yokocho
  • Omoide Yokocho
  • Omoide Yokocho
  • Ebisu Yokocho

    This covered alleyway is packed with lively pubs, trendy wine bars and quaint eateries, with glowing akachochin lanterns lighting the way. It’s a popular destination to begin an evening out, with everything from grilled meats to Japanese-inspired mushroom dishes on offer. Ebisu Yokocho is easily accessed from the East Exit of Ebisu Station.

    Ebisu Yokocho
  • Ebisu Yokocho
  • Ebisu Yokocho
  • Kichijoji - Hamonica Yokocho

    Originally established as a flea market following World War II, this cluster of alleyways accessed from the north side of Kichijoji Station is now known as a dining and nightlife hub. Standing-room-only bars and tiny eateries serve cold beers, taiyaki pancakes and grilled meats, with so many choices you can spend an entire night hopping between them.

    Kichijoji - Hamonica Yokocho
  • Kichijoji - Hamonica Yokocho
  • Kichijoji - Hamonica Yokocho
  • Shinbashi Yurakucho Gado-shita

    Nicknamed “Salaryman Heaven”, this area between Shinbashi and Yurakucho stations is lined with standing-only bars and yakitori joints that ignite once the offices close for the day. Mingle with the locals at one of the Korean barbecue houses or Chinese-style eateries, with the strip accessed from either the Shinbashi or Yurakucho Stations.

    Shinbashi Yurakucho Gado-shita
  • Shinbashi Yurakucho Gado-shita
  • Shinbashi Yurakucho Gado-shita
  • Asakusa Hoppy Street

    Famed for serving hoppy - a cheap, alcoholic beverage featuring shochu - this atmospheric street in Asakusa is the place to come for an old-fashioned night out. Settle in at one of the street-side tables while feasting on nikomi beef stew, with each bar having their own, unique recipe. It’s easily accessed from Exit 5 of the Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station.

    Asakusa Hoppy Street
  • Asakusa Hoppy Street
  • Asakusa Hoppy Street
  • Shibuya - Nonbei Yokocho

    Translating as “Drunkard's Alley”, this ramshackle street in Shibuya is clustered with tiny bars that are designed for just four or five patrons. It’s one of Tokyo’s most iconic yokocho and dates back to the 1950s when it hosted the Tokyu Railway Corporation's head office. Nonbei Yokocho is easily accessed from Shibuya Station.

    Shibuya - Nonbei Yokocho
  • Shibuya - Nonbei Yokocho
  • Shibuya - Nonbei Yokocho
  • Shinjuku - Golden Gai (Golden Street)

    If you want to experience a night out with Tokyo’s salarymen, then down-to-earth Golden Gai is the place to head. Each bar has its own charm and quirky theme, with karaoke ringing through the street at all hours of the night. It’s a short stroll from Shinjuku station’s Exit 4.

    Shinjuku - Golden Gai (Golden Street)
  • Ueno - Ameyoko Shopping Street

    Stretching from Ueno Station to Okachimachi Station, this iconic shopping street boasts more than 400 shops, including numerous bars and eateries. It’s a popular place for locals to tabearuki or “eat around”, with small portions that allow you to sample a little bit of everything. Access is from either Ueno Station or Okachimachi Station.

    Ueno - Ameyoko Shopping Street
  • Ueno - Ameyoko Shopping Street
  • Ueno - Ameyoko Shopping Street
  • Ginza - Corridor Gai (Corridor Street)

    Hugging the rail tracks that link Yurakucho and Shimbashi Station, Corridor Street is lined with izakaya bars and has become a popular nampa (“girl hunting”) spot in Ginza. It’s frequented by office workers from nearby Shimbashi and Shiodome, with everything from specialist whiskey bars to simple gyoza restaurants. It’s around seven minutes’ walk from Yurakucho or Shimbashi Station.

    Ginza - Corridor Gai (Corridor Street)
  • Tsukishima Monja Street

    This street in Tsukishima is dedicated entirely to monjayaki - a delicious dish made from flour and dashi that’s topped with a myriad of different ingredients. There are more than 75 restaurants here with self-cook griddles and accompanying sauces, spices and seaweed that you can add. It’s directly in front of Tsukishima Station’s Exit 7.

    Tsukishima Monja Street
  • Shimokitazawa - Suzunari Yokocho

    This street in Tsukishima is dedicated entirely to monjayaki - a delicious dish made from flour and dashi that’s topped with a myriad of different ingredients. There are more than 75 restaurants here with self-cook griddles and accompanying sauces, spices and seaweed that you can add. It’s directly in front of Tsukishima Station’s Exit 7.

    Shimokitazawa - Suzunari Yokocho
  • Shimokitazawa - Suzunari Yokocho
  • Oimachi - Higashikoji Inshokutengai (Restaurant District)

    Packed with early post-war buildings, this maze of alleyways in Oimachi houses around 60 different bars and eateries. It’s renowned for its yaki (grilled) sushi and welcoming atmosphere, with plenty of cheap watering holes where you can grab a drink. The restaurant district is just a short walk from Oimachi Station.

    Oimachi - Higashikoji Inshokutengai (Restaurant District)
  • Oimachi - Higashikoji Inshokutengai (Restaurant District)
  • Koenji Gado-shita

    Situated in an underpass on the west side of Koenji Station, this area of cheap yakitori eateries and izakayas is popular for a late-night drink or snack. Over-turned beer crates provide seating at the no-frills establishments, which can be accessed from the North Exit of Koenji Station.

    Koenji Gado-shita
  • Koenji Gado-shita
  • Sangenjaya - Suzuran Dori (Suzuran Street)

    Packed with bars and restaurants that exude a nostalgic atmosphere, Suzuran Street is a laid-back place to grab a refreshing drink once the sun goes down. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you soak up the atmosphere, with the strip just one minute’s walk from Sangenjaya Station.

    Sangenjaya - Suzuran Dori (Suzuran Street)
  • Sangenjaya - Suzuran Dori (Suzuran Street)
  • Nakano Station North exit

    Famed for its manga and anime culture, Nakano is also home to a great dining and nightlife scene, particularly around the North Exit of Nakano Station. There are bars to suit all tastes, from bohemian-style watering holes to student drinking dens and a bar dedicated solely to 80s music.

    Nakano Station North exit
  • Jiyugaoka Yokocho

    If you’re looking for a European ambiance on your night out, head to Jiyugaoka Yokocho - a maze of narrow streets that are lined with fashionable cafes, bakeries and boutiques. There is a Venetian-style canal and gondolas for a romantic treat, with this Parisian-inspired area easily accessible from Jiyugaoka Station.

    Jiyugaoka Yokocho
  • Jiyugaoka Yokocho
  • Kabukicho Red Noren Gai

    Tokyo’s red light district is known as Kabukicho and serves as a hub of nightlife entertainment around the clock. In addition to hostess clubs and love hotels, it’s also packed with affordable restaurants and bars. It’s easily accessed through the large red gate entrance from the East Exit of Shinjuku Station.

    Kabukicho Red Noren Gai
  • Kabukicho Red Noren Gai
  • Kabukicho Red Noren Gai
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