Tokyo is Japan’s most vibrant city, and an evening out has all the familiar possibilities as well as some uniquely Japanese experiences.
In Roppongi, young visitors, expatriates, and Japanese alike dance and drink in themed bars until the first trains run at dawn. Here, early is before the last trains, and late is at closing time. If anywhere can be called a hub of Tokyo’s late-night nightlife, it is here: Roppongi is home to a good proportion of the western style clubs and there is music here to suit all tastes.
If you’re not really up for dancing, one of the best ways to enjoy Tokyo’s nightlife is the way Japanese people do – tucked in at a table in a crowded pub, or izayaka, ordering plate after plate of food… and drink after drink. Most izakaya have all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink options which make a good excuse to try a wonderful variety of food and drink, though a la carte is often of equally good value. The areas around Shibuya and Shinjuku station are packed with izakaya, and it’s difficult to find a bad one, though prices can vary wildly. Yurakucho also has its share of izakaya, but the real experience here is to be had at the yakitori barbeque stalls under the tracks, where you can wash down freshly grilled food with frosty glasses of beer.
After you’ve had your fill, the traditional Japanese thing to do is to head out for karaoke. Japanese karaoke is different from the exported version in that in that it’s strictly friends only: each group is given a private room. In Japan, karaoke is generally thought to be the best way to let off steam after a hard week, and Tokyo’s karaoke bars are an accessible and exciting way to sample Japanese nightlife the Japanese way.
For those who love music but don’t care to sing themselves, Tokyo has a vibrant live music scene, and it’s often possible to catch up with relatively famous foreign bands in the cosy “live house” venues around Shibuya.
If you’re in search of a quieter evening, Tokyo is a wonderful city to eat out in. Japan is a nation obsessed with food, and Tokyo has a variety of restaurants to rival any city in the world: and of course the best Japanese ones. Tokyo is one of the few places in the world where you can dine fifty stories up, looking out over the glittering lights of the city.
The area of Odaiba is known for its twinkling lights and a romantic atmosphere that leads to a high number of marriage proposals in the area. Built on reclaimed land, the area is now ultra-modern, boasting wonderful shopping and entertainment. High on the list of activities here is the one hundred and fifteen metre Ferris wheel, which is one of the world’s largest and an excellent way to look out over Tokyo.