Tokyo really comes alive at night, both socially and visually. It is once darkness falls that its famous neon lights begin to glow. Shinjuku, which is just west of the Imperial Palace, is where these lights are at their brightest. Shinjuku also happens to be one of the liveliest parts of the city and there are an abundance of bars and restaurants in the area.
Roppongi, just south of Shinjuku, is the liveliest part of Tokyo in terms of nightlife. There is more of a Western vibe here and the streets are packed with bars and nightclubs. Ex-pats and tourists tend to frequent the different hotspots here and even if you don’t feel like going into any of them, there is enough activity on the streets to catch your attention for a while.
Rather than spend all your time in westernised bars and clubs, spend some time enjoying some traditional Japanese forms of entertainment. All around Tokyo are Kabuki Theatres. These are a traditional type of theatre with plays where all the parts are played by men. If you decide to go to one leave enough time as performances can go on for four or five hours. But rather than being staged at night, the morning is when most plays in these theatres are shown.
Another Japanese tradition, one which is famous the world over, is karaoke. In the Japanese capital there are hundreds of karaoke bars and they are always a good place to go for a night.
2nd Fl, Yamamuro Bldg 7-14-10, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Titling itself as a 'shot bar', this tiny Roppongi venue draws mostly ex-pats who go to down shooter after shooter after shooter. If you really want to leave your mark on the bar, down 15 shots in a row and they'll inscribe your name on a small plaque and stick it on the wall that is holding you up.
Open nightly from 6pm-6am.
, Tokyo, Japan
Scattered all over Tokyo are karaoke bars. Different to doing karaoke in other countries, here you rent your own private booth for 1 or 2 hours. After paying for your time you are ushered to your booth with a song book bigger than most phone books and your dignity. Whether you leave with or without the latter is entirely up to you.
Open from 6pm-5am.
Rene No. 2 Bldg 3F, 5-3-1 Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
"Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!" Get ready to hear this chant in this bar which is a favourite with those from the land Down Under. It has a good selection of Aussie beers and is also renowned for staying open extremely late, or early as the case may be.
Open daily from 7pm-late.
2F Shintaiso Bldg II, 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Tokyo, Japan
This is just one of 3 Gas Panics scattered throughout the city. One other is also in Shibuya, another is in Roppongi and each one is packed every weekend. Thanks to signs up such as 'you must be holding a drink at all times', things can get pretty interesting.
Open daily from 6pm-5am.
3-16-33 Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
If there’s an international sporting event taking place in Europe or America you can be guaranteed of a good atmosphere in these bars which stand side-by-side. Between both bars are innumerous TVs and hundreds of fans shouting on their beloved teams.
Open daily from 2pm-late.