There are a few nightlife districts in Tokyo, and each one had its own different style and class. Roppongi district is usually the place where foreigners are going out in and as such, it offers almost everywhere bilingual staff and is very tourist friendly area. Ginza district is considered a very expensive and high class district to go out in and is mostly catering to Japanese, although in the past few years, it has become such a big tourist attraction that most of the establishments now are getting used to cater to foreigners. Shibuya and Harajuku are the area where mostly very young crowds are going out in, both Japanese and Foreigners. Shinjuku, is known to be the wildest and most diverse of all night out districts in Tokyo. Going out in Shinjuku allows you to choose from 3 completely different types of nightlife styles in one large area which starts in Shinjuku Station and continue all the way to Shinjuku Koen park. In all three areas of Shinjuku you will find clubs, bars, restaurants and other attractions to cater the type of crowds each area attracts.
The first and largest nightlife area in Shinjuku is Kabukicho. The area starts right when you go out of Shinjuku Station. Kabukicho is a massive complex of over 3000 night clubs, host and hostess bars, restaurants, arcades, pachinko parlors, massage parlors, love hotels and is considered by foreigners as the “Red Light District” of Tokyos. It is where almost any kind of entertainment is available all night long. This district is also a pretty cool area just to walk around and enjoy the street atmosphere. There around thousands of people in the streets all night long and it has a very special flavor to it that might look a bit chaotic to many who have never seen it. The bright neon lights everywhere, the clubs runners who advertise the clubs and establishments to potential customers, and the overall feeling of a very wild district is hard to ignore.
The second nightlife area in Shinjuku is called Golden Gai (Golden Town) and is located between Kabukicho and Shinjuku Sanchome. The area is actually network of six narrow alleys, connected by even narrower passageways which are just about wide enough for a single person to pass through. This dense nightlife area is offering about 200 very small shanty-style bars, clubs and eateries with are all squeezed one next to the other.When visiting Golden Gai, don’t expect to see any massive buildings or luxury of any kind. Golden Gai is simply a tiny piece of old Tokyo that has somehow survived the hyper development of Shinjuku around it. It allows a glimpse of what the Tokyo was like in before it turned into its current mega-city and is a unique opportunity to see the way of life that has long been bulldozed off the map everywhere else in Shinjuku. Be aware that many bars and eateries are only allow regulars to use the place. As strange as it might sound, it is a nightlife area which do not try to attract any foreigners or new clientele. The place is so established, it has its own crowds that come there every night and enjoy the special atmosphere. If you want to try any of the bars, simply try a nice big smile and ask politely if it is cool to have a place. Expect for rejection but if you are lucky and have good energy the owner would be interested in, you will find your spot in Golden Gai.
The third area of Shinjuku which is known for its nightlife adventure is called Shinjuku-Ni-chome or in Tokyo lingo “Nicho”. This 5 blocks area centers around Naka-Dori Street, starts at Shinjuku Dori street and into the Shinjuku-Nichrome neighborhood and all the way to Shinjuku Gyoen National Park. This area is the Gay district of Tokyo and is housing the world’s highest concentration of gay bars and nightclubs. The district offers a specialized mix of bars, restaurants, cafes, saunas, love hotels, gay pride boutiques, cruising boxes, host clubs, nightclubs, massage parlors, and gay book and video stores. Most of Nichome’s hundreds of night clubs are very small places offering about a space for about 10 to 15 customers at a time, who are interested in the particular club’s specialized subset of the gay subculture. The bars and clubs are all foreigners friendly and most of the staff and customers speaks English and would love to mingle with foreigners.
1. New York Grill
The New York Grill located at the top of the Park Hyatt hotel, offers one of the best places to spend a night out in Shinjuku with a magnificent view of the city below. New York Grill restaurant offers seafood and grilled meat dishes prepared in “New World style” looking all sharp and cool. While waiting for the food to be prepared, guests have an actual view into the kitchen and it is quite a beauty to watch them prepare the food. This restaurant is an excellent choice if you are looking for luxurious evening is a beautiful spot in the middle of wild Shinjuku. The restaurant has also nice selection of North American wines. Although the restaurant is open in day time as well, night time is the best time to go there because in evening the restaurant start offering cocktails in the New York Bar which is connected to the restaurant itself.
- Name: New York Grill
- Address: 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo 163-1055
- Tel: 03-5323-3458
- Opening hour: 5:30 pm – 10 pm
- Website: http://tokyo.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining.html
2. Shot Bar Zeotrope
Shot Bar Zoetrope is located right next to Shinjuku Station and is combines two concepts into one amazing place, Japanese whisky and the movies. The bar has been described as being the “best place to drink Japanese whisky in the world” by many and it has an wide selection of whisky from many Japanese whisky makers. The bar is pretty much a one man show, and the owner who is also the bar tender able to offer customers an excellent insight into a whisky making tradition in Japan and allow the visitors to learn what is the story behind the whisky industry in Japan which is taking the whisky world by storm. Other than whisky, there is a selection of Japanese rum, brandy, grappa, beer and other alcohols distilled or brewed in Japan only. I you are looking for a more traditional taste, try ask for Japanese Sake! The interior was designed by on of the most famous Japanese art directors, Takeo Kimura, and offers constant background music which comes from soundtracks of all sort of movies from all across the globe while one large screen plays a continuous selection of comedy films from the silent era.
- Name: Shot Bar Zeotrope
- Address: 7-10-14 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Tel: 03-3363-0162
- Opening hour: 7pm-4am / Closed on Sundays
- Website: http://homepage2.nifty.com/zoetrope
3. Tokyo Loose Bar & Club
Tokyo Loose is a wild bar & night club located in front of the police box in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho. The bar is situated on the basement floor of the building and offers a small dim lighting dancing area with green lasers and mirrors all around the walls. As with most drinking establishments in Tokyo, smoking is allowed but if you are not into smoking cigarettes, try the bar hookah! The bar offers hookah hourly rental with wide selection of flavors. The bar attracts a mixture of 20’s to 50’s men, and women around their 30’s and most of the customers are African, Southeast Asian, and Japanese. Menu and staff are all bilingual and it is in general a very tourist friendly place. The var has a small DJ booth which plays usually popular old and new school beats, with a mix of African and South American rap.
- Name: Tokyo Loose Bar & Club
- Address: 2-37-3 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0021
- Tel: 03-3207-5677
- Opening hour: 8pm ~
- Website: http://www.tokyoloose.com
4. Dubliners Irish Pub
By far, the Dubliner is the most popular bar among foreigners in Shinjuku. Located right off Shinjuku Station East Exit, the spacious bar is situated on the second floor of the building, and constantly filled with people who like a beer, a chat and entertaining company. This bar attracts almost al ages groups, from teenagers and people in their early 20s to middle aged people in their 50s and 60s. The bar stay true with its origins and often you can get a real live taste of world famous Irish traditional music playing. Although this bar can get quite crowded quickly by early evening, it is an excellent place to find friendly people eager to chat and the mixed crowds of both Japanese and Foreigners is making this place one of the most tourists friendly in the area. This bar is also very casual and there is no need to get stiff or worry about looking sharp for the night. It is a wild place and as such, anything goes in it, just go and have some fun, Irish style!
- Name: Dubliners Irish Pub
- Address: 3-28-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
- Tel: 03-3352-6606
- Opening hour:
Mon-Thu / 3pm-11:30pm
Fri / 3pm-1am
Sat / 12pm-1am
Sun & Public Holiday / 12pm-11pm
- Website: http://www.dubliners.jp/en.html
5. Shinjuku Copa Bowl – 24 Hours Bowling Alley
If you are into bowling, Shinjuku Copa Bowl is the place for you. This place is open 24 hours a day and is especially cool at night with its glow in the dark night lanes and constant party atmosphere. The place is located on the West Exit of Shinjuku Station and in front of the Toho Cinemas Shinjuku building. Its hard to miss this building with its giant Godzilla head! The Copa Bowl is an amusement spot right in the heart of Kabukicho offering a black-light floors in a beautifully designed space with powerful music which can rival a night club easily. It is a great place where you can enjoy in a group, even large groups, both for playing bowling and for eating or just hanging out all night long.
- Name: Shinjuku Copa Bowl
- Address: 1-20-1 Kabukicho, Shinjukuku, Tokyo 160-0021
- Tel: 03-3200-6947
- Opening hour:
Monday–Thursday 11am – 6:30am
Friday, Saturday, and the day before a national holiday 11:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m.
Sunday and national holidays 10:00 a.m.–7:00 a.m.
- Website: http://hmx-entame.com/copa/shinjuku
6. Taito Station Game World
TAITO STATION is one of the leading names in Japanese arcade gaming and the network has massive arcades all around Japan. Tito Station arcades always features the latest selection of arcade games and prize games with popular anime and manga memorabilia, ultra-realistic and high-tech virtual games, photo sticker booths and snack machines everywhere. The prize games are sort of cranes looking machine in which you insert a few coins in and try your luck to get any of the prizes in the glass boxes. The prizes can be character merchandise, plush toys, PVC figures, key chains, or candies. The virtual reality section offers cockpit-style driving games, shooting games or rhythm games featuring realistic musical instrument controllers. The medal game section featuring cards, bingo, horse racing, and other fun and eye-catching games allowing the gamers to win as many medals as possible which are then can be replaced by prizes. While gambling for money is prohibited by Japanese law, medal games offer all the excitement of casino games in a safe, legal fashion.
- Name: Taito Station Shinjukuminamiguchi Game World
- Address: 3—35-8 Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022
- Tel: 03-3226-0395
- Opening hour: 10am – 1am
- Website: http://www.taito.com
7. Sushi Zanmai – 24 Hours Sushi Restaurant
Sushi Zanmai is a very large 24 hours a day Sushi restaurant chain with shops set in almost every district in Tokyo.The Shinjuku branch is located right next to Kabukicho in Higashi-Shinjuku area. The restaurant owner, known as the “King of Maguro”, is known to gather the best sushi ingredients from all over the world and selling them at a great price at his restaurant. The ingredients are transported fresh mainly from Tsukiji market, and as the restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you can enjoy the fresh Tsukiji taste whenever you want all year round. Although it is a sort of a fast food restaurant, it is considered in Japan as one of the best places to get a good Sushi in a very reasonable prices. If you find yourself hungry at any time throughout the night, just hop in and enjoy a great meal.
- Name: Sushizanmai Higashishinjyukugutiten
- Address: 1-13 Ohkubu 1 Shijyuku-ku Tokyo 169-0072
- Tel: 03-5155-6655
- Opening hour: 24 Hours
- Website: http://www.kiyomura.co.jp/shops/detail/22
8. Black Swan Lake Bar
Located in Kabukicho district, the Black Swan Lake Bar is a very special night life spot with an interesting concept of mixing drinks and live performances by transexuals. The bar is very dark allowing the stage with its bright and sexy atmosphere to shine bright on the guests. Here you can enjoy the alluring dances over food and drinks in 130 available seats. This bar is operating in the past 40 years in Kabukicho and is known to be one of the main places out of Shinjuku ni-chome which offers such entertainment and is very popular around foreigners living in Japan and tourists. The staff is very tourist friendly and all speaks English and will always give you a feeling that you are one of their best customers, even if it is your first time. The shows concept is glittering, dazzling, mostly very sexy, where male, female and new-half dancers dance beautifully together. Black Swan Lake Bar offers live entertainment together with dinner and drinks all week long!
- Name: Black Swan Lake Bar
- Address: 2-25-2 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Tel: 03-3205-0128
- Opening hour: 6pm – Midnight
1st Show: 6pm Door Open 7:30pm Show Start
2nd Show: 9pm Door Open 10pm Show Start
- Website: http://www.kokucho.com/en/
9. Le Luck Spa – Women Only 24 Hours Spa
If you are a women and look for a perfect night out in Shinjuku but instead of getting wild in bars and clubs, you wish to treat yourself with a special relaxing night out, try the Le Luck 24 Spa service! The place offers capsule hotel, sauna, spa or accommodation for women only right int he heart of Shinjuku. This 24 hour spa is an exclusive spa for women only and the facilities and services are specially planned for women. The place will allow you to relax and get refreshed in the jacuzzis, saunas, outdoor hot spring pools and at the resting lounge as well as reflexology, facials and aromatherapy treatments. It is a great place for every women to visit before heading out to the wild Shinjuku around you or a great place to return to after a crazy night in Kabukicho!
- Name: Le Luck Spa
- Address: 1-2902 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Tel: 03-3207-5411
- Opening hour: 24 Hours
- Website: http://www.hgpshinjuku.jp/en/spa/
10. Tokyo Robot Restaurant – Evening Cabaret Show
Looking for a real out of this world experience where robots, samurais, dinosaurs and dancers are all battling each other? Well, if you are in Shinjuku, don’t skip a visit to one of Tokyo’s most extravagant shows in town, The Robot restaurant. The restaurant offers one hour show featuring performers in full flashing light customs, taiko drums and techno music and massive circus style robots parade. Visitors to the restaurant can see the performers dance with giant panda, dinosaurs, ninjas and any kind of robot you can imagine ! Ticket includes one drink of your choice and the rest of your order will be taken by half humanoid waitresses which will be glad to take photos together and make the night unforgettable. For full information about the Robot Restaurant, see our Special article in this link!
- Name: Tokyo Robot Restaurant
- Address: 1-7-1 Kabukicho Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Tel: 03-3200-5500
- Opening hour:
Sunday ①16:00～ ②17:55～ ③19:50～ ④21:45～
Monday ①close ②17:55～ ③19:50～ ④21:45～
Tuesday ①close ②17:55～ ③19:50～ ④21:45～
Wednesday ①close ②17:55～ ③19:50～ ④21:45～
Thursday ①close ②17:55～ ③19:50～ ④21:45～
Friday ①close ②17:55～ ③19:50～ ④21:45～
Saturday ①16:00～ ②17:55～ ③19:50～ ④21:45～
- Website: https://www.shinjuku-robot.com/pc/index.php?lng=en
11. Don Quixote Shinjuku Higashiguchi Honten
Don Quixote, or as its called by Japanese “Donki” – is one of the stores you simply must visit before leaving Japan and the 24 hours Don Quixote shop in Kabukicho is one of the best one to go to when you are out and about in Kabukicho. The 24 hours shop feel like Alice in Wonderland more then a shop with floor after floor of the biggest variety you can imagine of cheap and strange Japanese products. Although it might sound strange to visit a shop at night, this is actually one of the best times to go to Don Quixote in Kabukicho. In the daytime, the shop is very busy and you will not find it very comfortable to shop in, but at nights, the shop is much less crowded, and you can enjoy hours of exploring each floor and sections to find the most bizarre products you ever seen, and best of all, in discounted prices unrivaled anywhere in Japan! This is a big convenient discount store that sells electronics, daily goods, food, watches, fashion items, sports, leisure goods and much much more!
- Name: Don Quixote
- Address: 1-16-5 Kabuki-cho Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0021
- Tel: 03-5291-9211
- Opening hour: 24 Hours
- Website: http://www.donki.com/en/store/shop_detail.php?shop_id=29
12. Ushi-no Yotare Charcoal Pit Restaurant
Ushi no Yotare is located in the heart of Kabukicho district and is a very cool restaurant if you want to enjoy one of the most interesting eating style in Tokyo while enjoying traditional drinking! Ushi-no Yotare is a reservation only restaurant in which customers can get to taste Japanese sake from all around Japan while enjoying dishes made right in front of them, on a traditional Japanese charcoal pit. Customers can sit right in front of the charcoal pit to watch the simmering food cooking or choose a ‘chabu-dai’ table on tatami mats, there is even a semi-private room seat in case you need privacy while enjoying your meal.
- Name: Ushi-no Yotare
- Address: 2-37-2 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0021
- Tel: 03-3209-7204
- Opening hour: 5:30pm – 11pm ( Last Order 10pm )
Advanced reservations required.
- Website: http://www.yotare.com/e/yotare.html
13. Club Dragon
Club Dragon is maybe one of the most famous gay clubs in Shinjuku-ni-chome and is mainly cater for men. Within the gay community in Tokyo, this club is considered a bit of aggressively male space in which women may not feel entirely comfortable. Yet, although it has this very muscular image, it is also what makes this place so special. If you are into very muscular chest bearing guys, then this place is the one for you! The place is quite small and it can get very crowded and sweaty quickly and if you are looking for a drink or a chat, the best times to come there would be before those busy early morning hours. The floor has a DJ booth and the music is mainly Euro house and EDM. If you are in a look for one of the hottest bars which also offers an intense dancing floor, then Club Dragon is the best one in Nichome to do so.
- Name: Club Dragon
- Address: 2-12-4 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Tel: 03-3341-0606
- Opening hour: 6pm – 5am
14. Bar Plastic Model
If you are into checking out Shinjuku Golden Gai area but not very much into the classic Japanese style establishments and their quite hostile attitude toward newcomers in Golden Gai, then Bar Plastic Model is the right place for you. The bar is one of the new spots in Golden Gai area and is operated by a younger generation owners. The bar is sort of a time machine into the 1980’s of Japan with soundtrack and retro decorations everywhere. The bar is attracting mainly people who love video games and appreciate the old school video game industry. If you remember Atari, and Nintendo early days of gaming where Pong and Space Invaders were the latest shocking video game software, then you would love this bar.
- Name: Bar Plastic Model
- Address: 1-1-10 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021
- Tel: 03-5273-8441
- Opening hour: 8pm-5am
- Website: http://www.plastic-model.net
15. H2 International Bar
Located a bit farther away from Kabukicho and toward Yotsuya-sanchome Station is a small but very friendly nightlife spot called H2 International Bar. The bar is known to be a hang out place where both Japanese and Foreigners are hanging out, drinking and chatting together. The place even offers live show stage and the music playing at the background is a mix of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s rock, pop, salsa, reggae and even punk music. The bar staff are all bilingual and are extremely friendly. You can even feel comfortable to go and ask for a special song to be played. If you are looking for a night out at a fully bilingual staffed place and a bit off the busy Kabukicho area, then H2 International Bar is the one for you!
Have a good trip and travel!