What Tokyo’s nightlife has to offer the tourist

Entertainment and nightlife in Japan Neon lights and bars izakaya

Japan’s nightlife is legendary around the world, and understandably so. From craft beer bars to high-end whiskey bars to trendy cafes, there really is a lot to choose from. The hackneyed phrase “there’s something for everyone” certainly rings true here. Whether you want to mingle with locals over a pint in a cozy Izakaya pub or dance till dawn in one of Tokyo’s mega-clubs. The options for a night out are endless.

Visit NOCTIVE, Japan’s nightlife website, to find out more.

Night Culture

Nightlife is an important part of Japanese culture. That’s partly why there’s such a vibrant and varied nightlife here. Dining and drinking together is the order of the day. In traditional places like izzakaya, the snack and food menu is just as important as the bar menu: drinks are usually accompanied by snacks or a light dinner.

Alcohol plays a significant role in Japanese life. Drinking together is an important part of working and social life. Sake (Japanese rice wine) is not the only drink; other hard liquors such as gin and whiskey are also popular. Craft beer has also grown rapidly in popularity in recent years.

This drinking culture is not surprising in a country known for its late-night work and business traditions. Going out for a drink (or even more) after work with clients and colleagues is commonplace.

Nevertheless, in Japan, you can spend the evening without booze. Nighttime bowling clubs, karaoke, manga cafes and slot machine halls are a great alternative to bars.

All about Idzakaya

Spending an evening at one of the izakaya is a great way to experience Japan’s nightlife. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for relaxing with a group of friends or colleagues.

Food in izakaya is no less important than drinks. The menu usually offers a variety of inexpensive dishes to share with others. Usually they are edamame (soy beans), yakitori (meat on skewers), karaage (fried chicken), tofu, and grilled fish. You can also get a small dish included in the entrance fee (some places require it).

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There’s a wide range of drinks on offer, from the standard selection of beer and spirits to classic Japanese drinks like sake (hot and cold), umesu (plum wine), and shoyu (Japanese distillate). If you want to drink properly, many izakaya offer a “drink as much as you want” plan: for a certain time (usually one to two hours) you are allowed to take as many drinks as you like from a certain section of the menu.

Some iksakaya have a time limit: If there are a lot of customers, after two hours you will be asked to leave the table.

Karaoke

Japan is known around the world as the birthplace of karaoke. To this day, it is loved by everyone, from small to large. Where else to try it than here!

Most modern Japanese karaoke rooms consist of a set of separate rooms – boxes. In each of them is a karaoke system with a big screen, microphones and touch screen control panel as well as a table and sofas. Most major karaoke chains offer songs in different languages.

To rent a room, tell the front desk how many people are in your group and how long you plan to sing. You can choose smoking or non-smoking rooms. Prices are usually reasonable, especially not in the evening: one customer pays between 100 and 600 yen per half hour. If you plan to stay for a few hours, check to see if there are any offers without a time limit.

Food and drinks can be ordered separately, although in some places you can pay a certain amount and drink non-alcoholic beverages as much as you like. For those who stay late, there is also a no liquor limit.

Other nightlife options

The choice of evening activities in Japan is not limited to bars and karaoke. Some museums, aquariums, and amusement parks are open until ten to eleven pm.

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Sports and entertainment centers are also open late, and some are open around the clock. There you can play bowling, table tennis, billiards, darts and computer games. A perfect place to spend a varied night! There are also 24-hour manga cafes where you can relax or even take a nap before the first morning train.

Many department stores and shopping malls are open at all hours, and observation decks like the Tokyo Skytree offer a spectacular nighttime view of the glittering city. If the view from the top doesn’t appeal to you, go for a boat ride and admire the view of the coast over dinner.

There are various nighttime illuminations throughout the country year-round. In spring, you can admire the cherry blossoms in gardens and parks, in autumn – the red and yellow leaves, but the brightest night scenes in winter.

If you want an unforgettable experience, try a night ascent of Mount Fuji. The season lasts from July to September. Climb to the summit in darkness to see the first rays of the sun: it will be memorable for a lifetime.

Tokyo nightlife: where to go in search of fun

Nightlife in Tokyo

The nightlife in Tokyo is rich and varied. However, unlike in Europe, for example, it can be called almost safe. About some specific points and we will talk today.

Where to go in search of nightlife in Tokyo

The areas where nightlife in Tokyo is bustling are not limited to Shibuya, Ebisu or Shinjuku. In fact, the diverse Japanese capital is teeming with life around the clock, so it’s easy to find a good fit.

In the more elegant areas, such as Ginza, Shimbashi or Aoyama, there are expensive and elegant clubs on the upper floors of office buildings which cannot be entered from the street. Tickets are sold exclusively in advance and cost a lot. They host nightly fashion shows and host one-night-only DJs from the other side of the world.

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So where to start? If you can’t get a ticket to a fancy club on Ginjo and want to experience Tokyo’s night life, don’t despair. There is a democratic way to immerse yourself in the fun. Why not go to one of the tachinomi bars on Shibuya in the evening?

tachinomi-a traditional Japanese bar

The name speaks for itself – these bars have no chairs and diners eat standing up. Once upon a time, they were inexpensive establishments that were built in the extremely crowded conditions of the capital. Today, they have become rather chic and expensive. But the prices don’t stop the Japanese, who can be seen here even on weekdays after a hard day at the office.

After an aperitif at the stand-up bar, check out any of the izakaya taverns. Not only will they serve traditional Japanese snacks, but also special seasonal cocktails you won’t find anywhere else. By the way, many izakaya work as restaurants during the day, serving lunch for a modest fee. In the evening, they transform, and the prices become much higher.

izakaya- Japanese tavern

After izakaya, a good Japanese option is karaoke or the nearest nightclub, where you can dance until morning. Latin clubs on Roppongi are quite affordable, and for 2,000 yen you can not only get in, but also get one drink for free. And then dance the night away.

Karaoke in Japan

The Japanese love to sing, and they do it quite well. The effect of many years of going to karaoke, where the locals began to go when they were students and where they continue to strive even at the age of 90. Each karaoke room is soundproof, so you can rant there even if a bear steps on your ear. Inside the rooms are equipped very simply: screen, a catalog with the names of songs, microphones, a tablet with a menu, sofas and a table. Karaoke is often peeked at by passengers who didn’t make it to the last train. In any case, it is cheaper to pay for a room at the karaoke than for a room in the most inexpensive hotel.

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Drinks and snacks are at your service, but the menu of songs can be a hitch: most of them are in Japanese. Occasionally, however, you can find a modest repertoire in English. In general, you have to pay for every 30 minutes in karaoke.

karaoke

The cost of visiting differs on weekdays and at weekends as well as at daytime and at night. If you come to karaoke at night on a weekend, every 30 minutes may cost about 500 yen. This price does not include the cost of drinks and snacks. There are also cramped rooms, and there are comfortable larger rooms where you can even change into the costumes of your favorite singers. Of course, the prices in such places are higher.

When all the songs are sung, you can say goodbye to the nearest coffee shop, and then go to bed with a sense of accomplishment: nightlife Tokyo is already subdued.

What else does Tokyo have to offer

Tokyo nightlife

In addition to the above types of entertainment in Tokyo, of course, there are discos, pubs, and bars open late into the night. After the expensive VIP club on Ginza, they may seem too plain. But each has its own charm, music and entertainment program, different from the neighboring competitors, so it is worth the risk and go. By the way, in some places girls can get in for free. Somewhere you’ll be surprised by unusual decor and pictures hanging on the smoky walls, and somewhere unexpectedly you’ll find yourself on a roof terrace with a pool and a view of Tokyo at night.

Useful Tips for Tourists

We advise you to plan the night out, because the subway and trains stop carrying passengers at midnight. If you don’t want to pay for an expensive cab, try to get back to the hotel before the last train leaves the terminal station.

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In case you didn’t plan to sing songs, but all the fun stopped at 3 am, it is advisable to go to a karaoke. It’s cheaper than going to the nearest hotel. Another student nighttime tip: go to the nearest Subway and drink your coffee there until 5 am, the time when the first trains leave.

So, as you can see, Tokyo has places to go and things to do even at night! And on the next day after you have had a busy nightlife in the Japanese capital, we recommend you to go for a calm but fascinating walk through Asakusa with our audio guide. All you need to do is to download it to your smartphone.

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