Tokyo Nightlife: Top 19 Things To Do
It’s not exaggerating to say that Tokyo is a city that never sleeps. Without some experience of Tokyo nightlife, it’s impossible to get to know this city. Spending a night out then you’ll realize that there are even more things to do in the city at night than during the day. So, in case you are confused, don’t know where to start your evening, let’s check out our blog Tokyo nightlife: 19 things to do in Tokyo at night. This blog will introduce to you 19 activities you should try after the sunset. Remember that this is only a small sampling of what’s out there and many great places are still in secret to foreign tourists. Just hope that this blog can inspire you to set off your journey into neon-filled streets, the heated air and enjoy the most out of it.
- 1 Top 19 Thing To Do To Enjoy Tokyo Nightlife
- 1.1 1. Enjoy the night view
- 1.2 2. Night cruise at Tokyo Bay
- 1.3 3. Take a helicopter to enjoy Tokyo’s night sky
- 1.4 4. Visit Japan’s largest red-light district in Shinjuku
- 1.5 5. Witness the famous robot show
- 1.6 6. Watch a baseball game
- 1.7 7. Head to an all-night karaoke
- 1.8 8. See a temple lit up
- 1.9 9. Have dinner in Tokyo.
- 1.10 10. Check out some best theme café in Tokyo
- 1.11 11. Visit a theme park at night
- 1.12 12. Take a night stroll
- 1.13 13. Go to an over-night onsen
- 1.14 14. Come to a live performance
- 1.15 15. Go shopping
- 1.16 16. See winter illumination
- 1.17 17. Take part in an Izakaya hopping tour
- 1.18 18. Party in Tokyo
- 1.19 19. Try hole-in-the-walls bars
Top 19 Thing To Do To Enjoy Tokyo Nightlife
1. Enjoy the night view
When the sun goes down, the city gradually transforms into the land of bright lights. The sky is black tranquility married to the poetry of stars. Gazing the panoramic view of the city should be on your must-do list. You can choose to visit one of the observatories in the city such as those at Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Another way to enjoy a city view, if you can afford, is to have dinner at a top-floor restaurant. Although it can be pricey, the high-quality food and the incredible view of the city really worth your money.
For anyone who wants to admire Tokyo’s skyline over a cocktail, you should check out New York Bar. Located on the 52nd floor of Park Hyatt Tokyo building, New York Bar features not only cocktail but also jazz and live music, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering a stunning view of glittering skyscrapers.
2. Night cruise at Tokyo Bay
Would you like to watch the night scenery of the city from the ocean? Taking Tokyo Bay Night Cruise is an alternative for you to enjoy the city’s view. During an hour-long cruise, you will have excellent views of Tokyo’s symbolic landmarks like Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Skytree, Odaiba and more. Each landmark show different faces when time passes and the dusk falls. Spend this precious, luxurious time with someone you love, enjoy the delicious French cuisine which is specially prepared for you and soak up the romantic, relaxing atmosphere.
In addition, you can opt for a Tokyo Bay Night Cruise with a traditional entertainment show. The cruise offers great live performances as well as a high-quality Maguro Tuna dinner course with fresh tuna directly transported from Tsukiji Fish Market.
3. Take a helicopter to enjoy Tokyo’s night sky
If you want the most impressive and unique experience of Tokyo nightlife, this is definitely the perfect choice for you. With a 15-minute ride over the city, it will give you one of the best moments in your life. Looking from the sky, the whole city is a black ocean lit up by thousands of stars of light. Living in this moment with your lover and the starry night absolutely worths your 25 000 yen.
4. Visit Japan’s largest red-light district in Shinjuku
Despite its shady reputation, Kabukicho or the largest red-light district in Japan is somewhere you should come if you want to explore parts of Tokyo’s nightlife. The street is lit up by many large billboards and neon signs. Here lies numerous hostess clubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and massage parlors as well as local music venues. Considered as an adult area, it’s common to catch sight of beautiful Japanese women in scanty clad walking busily on the streets. Amongst the madness of the area, you still can spend a good time here with a number of entertainment activities.
5. Witness the famous robot show
If you come to Shinjuku, you can’t miss out on Robot Restaurant. Although it’s located right in Kabukicho, the experience you find here is one-of-a-kind on the planet. It’s named Robot Restaurant but actually, it is a performance show featuring neon lights, laser beams, unique robots, and loud music. This extravagant show is nothing that you’ve ever seen anywhere else. In addition, if you are lucky enough, you will be able to pump into a celebrity as many famous stars choose this place for their photo and video shoots. Recently, it has become one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Tokyo, so you are recommended to book your seat in advance.
6. Watch a baseball game
Tokyo nightlife can be sporty and enthusiastic during baseball season. You can say that baseball is the most popular sport in Japan. From souvenirs to anime and manga, it’s common to catch sight of famous baseball characters like Ren Mihashi, Goro Shigeno and so on. What’s you need to know is baseball is a seasonal sport. If you expect to watch the greatest baseball match in Tokyo, you need to check the time when the season starts. The biggest baseball stadium, Tokyo Dome, is the home to Yomiuri Giants and located right in the center of the city. Attend a baseball match then you will understand how Japanese people love this sport.
7. Head to an all-night karaoke
For many people, karaoke seems to be a quite embarrassing experience, you only come to karaoke when your life becomes disastrous. That misconception doesn’t exist in Tokyo. Japanese people often go to karaoke after drinking, even if they like singing or not. In Tokyo, even the shiest singers turn into Lady Gaga, taking over their stage and making the most out of this moment. Going to karaoke is a way to have fun with friends and enjoy the night especially when you are completely affordable. Japan can be known for the expensive cost of living but karaoke is definitely one of the cheapest things in Japan. You only need to spend 6$ for a night in a private room including alcohol and soft drinks. So let’s stop crying your heart out and start singing your heart out instead.
8. See a temple lit up
Every city in Japan is full of impressive and beautiful temples. These temples can be so crowded during the day but after the sun goes down, they wear a different face that you don’t expect. If you have time, you should visit a temple at night. One spot we recommend for you is Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Japan. During the day, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tokyo with thousands of visitors per day. When the dusk falls, its entire structure is lit up and glows at night. Wooden and paper lanterns will illuminate the whole temple compounds and the surrounding gardens. It’s time for you to enjoy the silence in a peaceful night.
9. Have dinner in Tokyo.
Dining is part of Tokyo nightlife. The city is full of dining establishments ready to serve the abundance of starving visitors. There are many options for you to choose: from traditional Japanese styled Izakaya to posh three-starred Michelin restaurants. In case you don’t know where to start, just remember that each district in Tokyo is famous for a typical type of food. For example, Asakusa, the traditional downtown area of Tokyo, has many old-fashioned izakayas serving authentic traditional Japanese food. Shibuya, Ginza or Shiodome is considered the upper town in the city, home to numerous skyscrapers with top floor restaurants. This is where you can enjoy the high-end food and indulge in the night scenery at the same time. Just follow your heart and stomach, Tokyo will lead you to where you need to go.
10. Check out some best theme café in Tokyo
To experience something unique, why don’t you check out some best theme café in Tokyo. Japan is surprisingly good at weird things and theme café is no exception. It has become part of modern Japanese culture. There are hundreds of theme café in Tokyo to satisfy the pickiest customers. If you want to show off with your friends, let’s visit Kawaii Monster Café, which is colorful, trendy and totally Instagram worthy. Maid Cafes is another famous theme café in Asakusa, where you enjoy the unique food and chat with the waitress dressed in maid costumes. In addition, there is vampire café in Ginza, cat café, Eorzea café in Akihabara and so on. There are so many options to choose that can make your head spin.
11. Visit a theme park at night
If you are looking for some indoor activities, remember that many themed parks in Tokyo open until 22:00. Tokyo Disneyland for example, the park closes at 22:00 in the evening. Especially, Disneyland offers a special discount for foreign tourists on most nights. Tokyo City Dome also stays open in the evening and a discounted night pass is available. Another indoor amusement themed park to consider is Tokyo Joypolis in Odaiba. Besides, several aquariums still accept entry at night such as Sumida Aquarium, Maxell Aqua Park, Sunshine International Aquarium,… These are all favorite places for family travel.
12. Take a night stroll
Another way to explore Tokyo nightlife is to take a night stroll. After having dinner, it’s time you went for a walk to see the city after dusk. For anyone who is looking for a peaceful moment in this busy city, you should consider the waterfront area of Odaiba. Walking in the sea breeze, with the view looking over the illuminated Rainbow Bridge is the best treatment for yourself. But Tokyo has another side at night waiting for you to explore. It’s the vibrancy that has threaded its way through the city nightlife. The easiest way to emerge into the heated air and enjoy the myriad of neon lights is taking a troll through the streets of Shinjuku, Ginza or Shibuya.
13. Go to an over-night onsen
Japan is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world. As a result, natural hot springs or onsen has become an indispensable feature in their tradition and culture since the 18th century. People used to travel to spa towns like Hakone and Atami if they wanted to soak themselves in a hot spring. But, nowadays, thanks to modern technology, you can enjoy the best onsen right in Tokyo. Onsen spots like these in the city often include both outdoor and indoor bathing facilities, coming along with other additional services which help to entertain you and the whole family. Besides, the water from geothermally-heated springs is believed to do good for your health like alleviating muscle pains, fatigue or stress and healing skin problems.
These hot spring establishments often open overnight and even offer separated relaxation space for customers to rest. Usually, you have to pay extra fees if you want to stay overnight, but with the slogan of most onsen spots “make yourself at home”, this experience will never let you down. Let’s refer our below blog about Top 15 best onsen in Tokyo and choose one to spend your night at.
14. Come to a live performance
The next thing you should try out in Tokyo at night is to attend a live performance. There are a wide variety of live shows ranging from the traditional Japanese show, comedy shows to unique themed performance like in Robot Restaurant. In addition, Tokyo is home to live music with venues such as Club Quattro, O-nest and more. Jazz, punk, hip hop or any type of music you can think of, you can always find it due to many genre-specific venues in the city. Many world-renowned stars has chosen Tokyo for their tour destination. Visitors can check the schedule online through the website of Metropolis and Time Out Tokyo.
15. Go shopping
If you are a shopaholic, Tokyo is definitely your city. After a day busy sightseeing and touring the city, night shopping will bring your energy back. In Japan, most department stores and shops, as well as malls, close around 22:00. However, it’s not difficult to find a night market in this night city. You don’t mind walking, you would like to see the crowded streets and moreover bunch of lovely, impressive souvenirs and street food with reasonable price that you can’t find elsewhere, you have to come here. Although Tokyo is not known for night markets, there are several spots you can find around the city like Ekoda Night Bazaar, Yarakucho Yakitori Alley, Commune 2nd,…
16. See winter illumination
A typical Tokyo nightlife in winter can’t miss illumination. Japanese people love light-ups, you can tell it when you come to Japan during the winter. Most illumination events take place from around November to Christmas or New Year. Winter illumination is definitely the most prominent activity during this time of the year. The whole city is lit up by thousands of tiny stars, which makes you feel you are lost in the fairyland. Late autumn and early spring is an alternative chance to admire Tokyo as the city of light. Many important events are held during this time of the year such as cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, which is the main tourist attraction. Let’s come to some bests viewing spots across the city like temples, gardens or parks to see spectacular light-ups.
17. Take part in an Izakaya hopping tour
An izakaya is a Japanese-styled pub. Joining an Izakaya hopping tour with some native friends is a good idea to explore Tokyo nightlife. It’s a great chance for you to learn about the local drinking culture and have fun with friends. Shibuya and Asakusa are the two districts that have a large concentration of izakayas, but they are not all the same. Asakusa is a traditional downtown area in Tokyo, home to the oldest temple in the city which makes it famous to foreign tourists. The area is old-fashioned with the absence of tall buildings and neon signs. On the other hand, Shibuya is a holy city for young people. The nightlife in Shibuya is full of lights and noise. This is a perfect place for trendy foodie travelers. But is you are more into Japanese nightlife of the good old days rather than its contemporary one, Asakusa is more for you.
18. Party in Tokyo
When it comes to partying and clubbing, Tokyo puts cities like New York to shame thanks to its renowned DJs, sound system, and enthusiasm of the participants. It is such a big mistake if you don’t visit at least one club in Tokyo. Without it, Tokyo nightlife can never be completed. To start with, Shibuya, the holy city to young people, is home to the most notable clubs, one of them is Sound Museum Vision. The four-floor structure has one of the best custom-made sounds in the world. The place is always crowded all night long. One special thing about SMV is that it is divided into different themed rooms, each of them caters for different moods. (Japan is always good at weird things as expected)
In addition, another well-known club in Tokyo is ageHa in Shin-Kiba. As the largest bar in Tokyo, this is the favorite destination of many world-class DJs with three dance floors, several bars and chill area. So for many club lovers out there, hopping in at some most famous clubs in Tokyo and feeling with amazing music all night long should be on your bucket list.
19. Try hole-in-the-walls bars
Have you heard about Golden Gai, a legendary drinking quarter in Shinjuku? If not, you should head to Golden Gai right away or else you will be regret for your whole life. What can you find in Golden Gai? The answer is nomi-ya or tiny bars in the walls. This is one special feature of Japan that you can’t find elsewhere in the world. It’s easy to catch sight of these convivial tiny bars almost every street and back alley across the city. But Golden Gai is the best area to start. Narrow lanes are packed with hundreds of tiny bars with only enough seats to cater for a few people at one time. If you are refused to serve, don’t be so surprised as some bars here are only reserved for regular patrons.
Despite its humble size, nomi-ya varies greatly in its theme and atmosphere from vintage to tropical vibe as well as artsy with an amazing collection of rare Japanese photography. Some names for you to refer to Bar Plastic Model, Bali Bar, Bar Kodoji and so on. Another popular address is Nonbei Yokocho (Drunkards Alley) in Shibuya where you can find post-war buildings housing the city’s best microbars. If you get a seat in these bars, you will be treated intimately as a local. Can’t find a greater way to experience Tokyo nightlife, right?
So we have gone through the list of Top 19 things you need to try to enjoy Tokyo Nightlife. Is this enough for you to make a plan tonight? We hope that with our blog, you will make the most out of your time in this vibrant city with people you love.