Nighttime in Tokyo is rather different than what you experience in the day. There is so much more to see and explore in Tokyo under the mysterious and sexy shade of the night. Tokyo nightlife can be more complicated than learning to say “cheers” in Japanese. There are districts specific to clubbing—like Kabukicho, which is the biggest red-light district in Japan. Shinjuku, the neon-bathed streets of the Kabukicho red-light district, in particular, has dozens of karaoke bars, Izakaya pubs, and hostess clubs to boot. Shinjuku is also home to Ni-chome, which is Japan’s largest gay nightlife area. Tokyo is a city that never sleeps and has plenty of places to keep you entertained for the night.
Izakayas, Music, and Nightclubs for a taste of nightlife in Tokyo
When you think of Japan, all that bizarre and amazing craziness is what this robot restaurant is made of. Robot Restaurant is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo. It is located at the largest red-light district, Kabukicho, in the Shinjuku area. Although called “restaurant”, it is more like a performance show that features dazzling neon lights, laser beams, colorful decor, unique robots, acrobatic Kawaii dancers and loud music.
(Credit: the Culture Map)
The 90 mins. show at Robot Restaurant is formed with 4 kinds of performances in total, and each one lasts about 15 mins.
The show at Robot Restaurant can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Children age 3 or below may enter for free (no seat, sit on parent’s lap) and it is a family-friendly show with no age limit.
Address: B2F, 1-7-7, Kabukicho, Shinjuku 160-0021 Tokyo Prefecture
Omoide Yokocho is a narrow alley near Shinjuku Station West Exit with over 50 small restaurants and Izakaya pubs. Most Izakayas in this alley only has a kitchen counter with 5–6 seats. The red lanterns and the smoky street attract huge numbers of tourists. Now, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in Tokyo. Originally started as a place to drink your sake and have some snacks, the Izakayas in Omoide Yokocho slowly became one of Japan’s most exciting and fastest-growing food joints. It is a real must-go for anyone who wants to experience the real Japanese food and drinking culture that is a far cry from conveyor belt sushi chains and California rolls.
(Credit: Stephen Kelly)
Address: 1 Chome-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
Gem by Moto
Sake is on the menu at Gem (pronounced “gem,” as in jewel), a counter-only specialist in between Ebisu and Hiroo. This space is calming and uncluttered- softly illuminated by cute and quirky mismatched glass lamps. Messages in black ink from brewery owners and sake personalities cover the bar’s white walls.
Address: 1 Chome-30-9 Ebisu, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0013, Japan
A Tokyo nightlife institution that blends performance with personable service, and high-tech entertainment with low-tech mixology and pounding beats, Kujira Entertainment might be the best nightclub in Shinjuku. This innovative nightlife venue in Shinjuku features the latest in digital equipment and art, and has been designed to create an “immersive space production”. Colorful LED screens illuminate the walls and there’s everything from food to drinks, hookah, and even artworks to keep you entertained.
Address: 2-23-1, Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0021
Japanese Address: 〒160-0021 東京都新宿区歌舞伎町2-23-1 風林会館B2 (for accuracy, please use the Japanese address when checking Google Maps for the location)
Seeing Tokyo through Night’s eyes
Catch the best views of Tokyo at this 360° open-air observation deck at the rooftop of Shibuya Scramble Square. Shibuya Sky is approximately 230 meters above the ground and is the highest point in the district of Shibuya. The ‘Sky Edge’, a corner where you can look down at the cityscape below without any obstruction, is a particularly good photo spot that provides a panoramic view of the city. The rooftop also features hammocks for cloud watching and an observation compass to help you identify major landmarks in the distance such as Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Stadium and even Mt. Fuji (on a clear day). At night, you’ll be able to see a light show called the ‘Crossing Light’ as 18 beams illuminate the city sky.
Address: 14, 45, 46, Rooftop, 2-24-12 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, 150-0002 Tokyo Prefecture, Tokyo
Although you can see Skytree from almost anywhere in Asakusa, you want to see it from a place where you can take great photos of it as well. The best spot to get the perfect shot is at Komagatabashi Bridge. This bridge is even less crowded than Kototoibashi, and you can see the whole tower.
(Credit: KUMI0523 on Pixabay)
Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-8634, Japan
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
This tourist information center provides free guided walking tours of Asakusa each weekend (in English, by TOKYO SGG CLUB) and sightseeing information in four languages (Japanese, English, Mandarin Chinese, Korean). Maps or brochures in each language are also available. The center also provides information on Japanese cultural experiences, including Kimono experiences, making Kaminariokoshi crackers (a specialty of Asakusa), and making soba noodles. The bonus is that at its 8th floor is a sick view of Tokyo with the breathtaking Asakusa temple and markets in the background.
Address: 2 Chome-18-9 Kaminarimon, 台東区 Taito City, Tokyo 111-0034, Japan
Cherry blossoms glows at night magically! Yozakura (cherry blossoms at night) is an amazing way to enjoy cherry blossoms in Japan. Meguro River is one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan, and the scenic view of the 4km canal lined with cherry blossoms attracts millions of visitors every year. The view gets even more romantic at night as trees are lightened up by charming paper lanterns. The lights are available from 6 pm to 9 pm in late March to early April.
(Credit: Japan Travel)
Address: Nakameguro, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0000, Japan
Its name is a play on the Japanese words kitte (postage stamp) and kite (come on over)—each floor is delineated by each special concept. One floor is dedicated to popular local dishes across Japan, another to Japanese aesthetics, and another to the fusion of old and new sensibilities. The 6th-floor rooftop garden overlooks Tokyo Station, providing a one-of-a-kind angle for trainspotting and photography. Guests can enjoy a profound view of the beautiful, illuminated red-brick Tokyo Station building until 9 P.M. The romantic atmosphere created by the ambient lighting makes this rooftop a perfect date spot.
(Credit: Macha JP)
Address: 2 Chome-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan