Tokyo Golden Gai – Six Crowded Alleys Full of Tiny Bars


Tokyo_Golden (Town of Golden Gai) consists of six narrow alleys packed with more than two hundred drinking dens – Golden Gai is Tokyo’s time-warped drinking den district, once known for black markets and adult entertainment areas, which has managed to avoid bulldozers or redevelopment, maintaining its 1950s charm despite new developments around it. Here you will find intoxicated patrons jostling for space among ramshackle structures, tiny rooms and inebriated patrons as they try not to run them over!

Bars here provide an impressive variety of sake and nihonshu, Japan’s traditional rice wine, whiskey and beer – not forgetting an unforgettable experience like drinking Snake Sake (Hakushu). Most places don’t charge cover charges but please note that certain bars may only accept members as customers; though some openly advertise as foreigner-friendly.

Many bars feature characters from anime and manga, like Bar Uramen. Champion is another otaku-themed bar popular for karaoke with English signage; be sure to arrive early as it can quickly fill up!

Access is simple – it’s only about ten minutes’ walk from Shinjuku station’s east exit along a tree-lined street behind and to the right of Mister Donut. Taxis in central areas also know their way here quickly. Many bars can only accommodate limited people at one time, so expect to share tables. Japanese skills will come in handy here when navigating menus; bring along a guidebook or translation app for extra help if needed.