Even though the current energy savings plan has dimmed the famous Tokyo nighttime neon skyline, Tokyo streets and tourist areas remain safe and tourist friendly. You would definitely want to experience Tokyo nightlife and include it on your itinerary during your visit to Tokyo. Just walking the busy streets of Roppongi or Shibuya after dark will give you a view of giant neon lights, Japanese lanterns, and a multitude of people. Vast crowds of locals; all escaping the office to enjoy the hustle and bustle of this dynamic city, looking for a snack, a dinner, or simply to have a good time.
Tokyo is a huge metropolis. To cater to the varied tastes of this population, there are lots of pubs and clubs hosted in this city. This is definitely the place to enjoy nightlife. It will be nothing like your hometown.
Before starting your adventure, make sure you have enough cash. Tokyo is expensive (but well worth it!), and 24 hour ATM’s can be hard to find. The ATM’s also charge a lot of fees for after-hours use. Instead of spending time searching for a fee free ATM or an open 7-11, just make sure you have twice as much money as you think you will need. The streets are very safe, compared to US cities, so basic precautions (don’t put all of your money in one pocket, don’t flash a lot of cash, don’t leave a purse full of cash at the bar while you go to the bathroom, etc.), will be all you need.
A word of warning for the first time traveler; the Japanese have a culture of restraint. However, once the restraint is lifted by heavy drinking, a wild side emerges. You may see well-dressed drunks asleep in bars (or occasionally on the street) and the occasional drunken altercation. Ignore the sleepers and walk away from the fights, it’s just another facet of Tokyo nightlife.
Here are some of the areas you will need to visit to enjoy Tokyo nightlife:
Roppongi – This area is flocked with foreigners of all types, frequenting the bars and clubs. This is the best place for bar hopping, as you cannot walk more than a few feet without finding a new place. Many of the best places are tiny by US standards, accommodating 25 to 30 people at most. Remember, you are not here looking for the Wal-Mart bar experience, you are looking for the boutique bar.
Kabukicho – a subdivision of Shinjuku, Tokyo. A place famous for its red-light district, nightclubs, love hotels, gay bars, hostess bars, restaurants and shops. Kabukicho is also known as the Sleepless Town. Although this area is crowded, chaotic, and crazy, it has an energy that will make the courageous bar-hopper love it. Beware the touts and the extravagant cover charges in some bars.
Shibuya – or rather the area close to the Metro station is the major entertainment and shopping district of Tokyo. It is known as Japan’s fashion center, you’ll definitely want to try a visit to this area. The shopping area is concentrated on Takeshita Street in the Harajuku area. In the Ometesando area you will find boutiques of famous brands. The area known as Dogenzaka is famous for its nightclubs and love hotels. Love Hotel Hill concentrates on Love Hotels (of course). A must do is to have a beer in one of the bars overlooking Shibuya Crossing at the Hachiko exit. You will be amazed by the organized chaos that ensues every three minutes as thousands of pedestrians race across the walkways.
Ginza – this upscale area of Tokyo is distinguished as one of the world’s most luxurious shopping districts. It is packed with shopping centers, restaurants, boutiques, coffeehouses, and nightclubs. It is Japan’s fashion center, home to dozens of high quality (and high priced) stores. Once the shopping centers close for the night, the bar hopping can begin; with an internationally diverse collection of pubs and diners, karaoke, and even theaters that feature traditional Japanese arts. Here you can dance, drink, and sing all night long.
This short list just scratches the surface of all the things that you can see and do to enjoy Tokyo nightlife. You can drink, sing karaoke, flirt with a hostess (at not-so-reasonable rates), or just have fun with the other tourists. You can also shop, eat at fancy restaurants, and enjoy entertaining shows. There is a lot of fun and excitement in Tokyo nightlife.
Phil Gabriel is a world travelling engineer, author, and expert at getting the most from life.
He has visited more countries than he can keep track of, on all continents except Antarctica (maybe next year). In each of the countries visited, he has always tried to find the best places to eat, drink, and enjoy life. His dedication to the search has resulted in some awesome memories; only some of which can be discussed in public.
He also wonders if anyone ever reads these author bios. Give him some proof by visiting him at http://www.tokyojapanlife.com
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