Editor’s note: I’ve had the great opportunity to visit Japan twice in the last five years, first in 2016 and again in 2018 and with the start of the Olympic Games in Tokyo I wanted to revisit those trips and share some of the pictures that I may or may not have already.
Sight seeing during the day is great, and expected while traveling, but what’s an adventure without experiencing the night life too?
In Tokyo, there are many areas that come alive with the glow of neon and din of crowds after the sun sets.
Within Shinjuku, an entertainment district of Tokyo known for its bright lights and night life, is an area with a bar scene like no other.
Within Shinjuku is Golden Gai, or “Golden Block,” made up of narrow walkways and squatty two story buildings that house 200 miniature bars. By miniature I mean, small. Most seat less than 10 people, and owners are very strict about capacity. Some of the bars have an entrance fee, others do not. Some are only for locals but the majority welcome visitors. Most are themed and only offer beer, wine or saki. However, some also have stronger drinks.
They are not all on the ground level. Some bars are up narrow, nearly vertical staircases. It can be even more challenging to maneuver them after spending some time inside the bar.
Golden Gai, with its cobbled buildings most dating from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, is like a time capsule. A time before Tokyo’s transformation into a futuristic mega metropolis. A stark contrast to the surrounding area.
Another area well known for representing the glint of Tokyo nightlife is Shibuya.
It’s a popular fashion district also known for its restaurants, bars and Shibuya Crossing. The Japanese landmark is an expansive intersection with 10 lanes of traffic, converging crosswalks and exterior TV screens the size of buildings.
I visited the areas in 2016 and again in 2018, the pics are from both of those visits. Kanpai