Tokyo is one of the cities on Earth, also contains a nightlife that is legendary.
It is possible to start your evening in a tachinomi stand pub, dine and drink in a comfy izakaya, love seasonal cocktails in an only-in-Tokyo mixology counter, venture into a hole-in-the-wall rock or hip hop club, sing all-night karaoke à la Bill Murray at Lost in Translation, and dance before dawn into the beats of DJs from around the world.
In this huge metropolis, and with so many amazing choices, trying to determine what to do could be overwhelming (for daylight tips, be sure you visit our One Day in Tokyo).
To help you figure out where to start, until you see where the night takes you, we have put together this guide to Tokyo nightlife, featuring a synopsis of Tokyo nightlife districts and much more!
Obviously, using a complicated and ever-changing nightlife scene, this is only a small sampling of what’s out there — and many of the finest spots are firmly off the radar of most travelers (and even locals), with some venues lacking speeches.
But we expect our guide helps inspire you to venture out to the neon-filled roads, and discover for yourself what makes Tokyo’s nightlife!
Tokyo’s Top Nightlife Districts
Keen to indulge in cocktails at a den, sample craft beer or let loose in a mega club?
To get you started, here is a synopsis of what you can expect from a handful of Tokyo’s most prominent nightlife areas.
Shimokitazawa (Shimokita, for short) is a bohemian neighbourhood less frequented by casual travellers, despite just being a short jump from Shibuya and using plenty to offer in regard to classic shopping, quirky eateries and indie entertainment choices.
Shimokitazawa is a magnet for Tokyo’s hipster and other audiences, and is packed full of vibrant (and reasonably-priced) bars and izakayas, many of which can be hidden away down nooks and crannies that may take some drifting to find.
Shinjuku is just another city-within-the-city that never sleeps. Only a couple stations away from Shibuya, boredom is not a potential in this southern part of Tokyo.
Shinjuku’s Kabukicho section is the most well known red-light district of Tokyo. Despite the shady reputation of the area, it can be an interesting and rewarding district and one of the insanity you may find great bars and restaurants, as well as local music venues and much more.
Unfamiliar or while not concealed as it was, the Golden Gai place is a wonderful and brilliant portion of Shinjuku to research. This drinking area is a warren of alleyways packed with heaps of bars, a lot of which can be welcoming regardless of the chairs to non-regulars.
As one of Tokyo’s most densely populated and districts, it is no surprise that Shibuya remains up late, together with countless eateries, boutiques, watering holes, clubs, arcades and karaoke bars catering into the tiny hours.
If you are likely to miss the last train (most trains and subways only run till around the midnight hour), this is the place to be.
Shibuya is particularly popular with Tokyo’s childhood, but is accessible to and full of non-Japanese visitors and locals as well. Shibuya is among the dance music celebrities of the city with heaps of clubs featuring top local and international DJs.
There are also countless smaller establishments worth checking out, for instance, character-filled Nonbei Yokocho, an old-fashioned region of side roads filled with charming tiny bars and restaurants that are intriguing.
By day, Ginza is an upscale business district and shopping destination boasting one of the largest concentrations of luxury brands in the world.
A lot of the nightlife of Ginza is hidden from view, with many of the pubs and restaurants tucked away on nondescript buildings’ top floors. At establishments, you can expect to be fulfilled with hefty invoices along with exclusive entry policies.
In which a number of Tokyo’s many wealthy and best-dressed come genius is the Ginza luxury clubbing experience. If you are seeking a more casual setting, Ginza is also home to a couple of famous cocktail bars, for example Star Bar, in addition to its fair share of trendy artsy bars (attempt 300 Bar or Suki Bar) for some thing a bit easier on the pocket.
Packed to the brim with clubs, pubs, and revellers, Roppongi is without a doubt one of the most famous districts of Tokyo.
Since the postwar era, when it functioned as a hangout for Allied forces, it has been popular with non-Japanese, and to this day brings an outsize proportion of ex-pats, global tourists, as well as Japanese salary-men, which can be reflected in the region’s greater than average entry and beverage prices.
Roppongi is a real mishmash, filled with everything from jazz places, upscale pubs and nightclubs that are western-style, to countless dive bars combined with much more sleazy establishments. Some areas are, but the place is packed on weekends and an option if you’re searching for a night out.
Be aware that Roppongi can get quite loud and crowded at night, as well as attracting its fair share of touts, although generally safe.
We hope our introduction to the nightlife of Tokyo helps you get the most from your time in this amazingly exciting city!