Top Nighttime Hangouts in Japan


Bars and izakayas, Japanese style pubs, have been around since the fermentation of alcohol in Japan. There are so many places that each new establishment gets competitive, creating better menus and more diverse drink choices. From the large chain city izakayas to the smallest hole in the walls in rural towns, Japan knows how to spend a night out. There are many contenders throughout Japan for the best night hangouts but these places are the perfect spots to grab a quick drink, chat with friendly locals and try a taste of Japan’s smaller nightlife outside of Tokyo.

  • Drink a Corona in Kumamoto

    Drink a Corona in Kumamoto
  • Kumamoto, down southwest in Kyushu, is known for its castle and warm weather. Bar Corazon is a cozy bar right in the heart of Kumamoto’s nightlife center and attracts a fair amount of both locals and foreigners. The outdoor patio space resembles a beach shack which helps diners relax like they are on the beach. Bar Corazon specializes in Mexican food and drinks, serving burritos, guacamole, and Corona and Tecate beer. The bar is very English friendly with a large expat crowd, and the host, Hillary, helps strangers become friends.

  • Mingle with local farmers in rural Jumonji

    Mingle with local farmers in rural Jumonji
  • Jumonji, located in Yokote city in Akita, is a small farming village best known for its fresh produce and apples. The owner, Madoka san, is determined to spread the beauty of her hometown through the travelers traveling through Akita. She has since opened Camosiba Hostel and Bar, where visitors explore the farm during the day and mingle with locals in the evening. The bar serves Akita sake and homemade dinners, sometimes made from the produce picked that day. Camosiba encourages conversation between the local farmers and visitors, blending country and city life. The local farmers are friendly and enjoy talking about their hometown. The ambiance is mellow and cozy, perfect for a relaxing evening in the countryside.

  • Make friends with locals in Morioka

    Make friends with locals in Morioka
  • Sundance is a two story pub popular with both travelers and locals. Located in Morioka, the capital of Iwate Prefecture, Sundance not only provides good drinks and food, it is also one of the friendliest places in the city. The owner is friendly and the staff can speak some English.
    The bar occasionally hosts live shows by local artists, a great way to see how the locals spend their evenings in Morioka. The food is an eclectic selection, as Sundance calls itself an Irish Pub with Tex Mex food. From fish and chips to tacos to Guinness, Sundance truly has everything to offer.

  • Drink an IPA in Sapporo

    Drink an IPA in Sapporo
  • In need of some hops? Beer Inn Mugishutei in Sapporo has everything a craft beer lover needs, practically everything. The walls are covered in both domestic and imported craft beers from around the world and the English speaking owner is very friendly and happy to provide recommendations. There are six taps all providing craft beer along with hundreds of bottles of craft beer from all around the world. Feeling hungry? Be sure to try the house made American style burgers, some of the best in Japan.

  • Mexican and Okinawan themed fusion food in Borrachos

    Mexican and Okinawan themed fusion food in Borrachos
  • For a colorful night out in the warm city of Naha stop by Borrachos for Mexican and Okinawan themed fusion food. One of the popular dishes is the Mexican soba, a blend of Mexican spices with Okinawan soba and vegetables. Borrachos occasionally hosts live shows with local bands that draws in crowds from all over the city. The restaurant closes at 5AM which gives ample time for drinking margaritas and enjoying the warm island air.




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