There’s no shortage of things to do and places to go in Tokyo during the day, but what about when the attractions close? Whether you’re jetlagged, a night owl, or trying to fit in everything at once, you’ll be glad to hear that there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Tokyo at night.
In fact, Japan’s capital comes alive in a new way when the sun goes down, the glow of neon lights beckoning people for after-work drinks and decorating the urban landscape with color. But even if drinks aren’t what you fancy, you can easily find yourself caught up in exploring until the early hours.
From dinner to midnight snacks, Tokyo has great food for every occasion and budget. Experience traditional and modern culture on the same street, and get some delicious fuel for the night’s adventures ahead!
Izakaya is a Japanese traditional bar serving food and alcohol. In Tokyo, you can practically trip over one on every corner, especially close to train stations. Everyone has their favorite, and you can be sure to find the weird and wonderful across the price spectrum, no matter which district you’re in. From 4-5pm, hop from one to another, or stay for a couple of hours and order nomihoudai (all you can drink) while nibbling on typical Japanese snacks such as edamame and karaage.
|Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku|
A guide will take you to three different hidden Japanese izakayas (Japanese styled bar) where you can enjoy different types of authentic food and drinks in Shinjuku.
Japan is infamous for its themed eateries, and you can find the ultimate amongst them in Tokyo. You could go to The Lockup in Shibuya or Shinjuku, a prison-themed restaurant where the drinks are served in syringes and test tubes; Ninja Akasaka, with stealthy wait staff; Robot Restaurant in Kabukicho which provides dinner with a truly unique show; or the simply-named Vampire Cafe in Ginza. Good luck trying to describe your experience to family and friends – if they even believe you.
Here are some more food and drink tours to consider:
|Tokyo Bay Dinner Cruise|
Enjoy an elegant meal as you take in iconic Tokyo sights such as the Skytree during this 2.5-hour luxury cruise.
|Tokyo Local Food and Drink Experience with a Bar Hopping Master|
Get to know the best izakaya in Ueno, Shinbashi, or Ikebukuro with a local guide. Snacks and beverages will be included.
|Tokyo by Night: Japanese Food Tour|
A 3-hour walking tour with typical Japanese food, led by a local guide. Find the secret local areas serving the most authentic Japanese cuisine.
2/ Tokyo Nightlife Districts
Shibuya is just a short 20 minute train ride from Shinjuku, where many of the Japanese youth hang out at night. There are plenty of late cafes to try Japanese food, shop for souvenirs or get active in a game of bowling or karaoke, however, this is the best district to enjoy a few drinks and party at nightclubs. Here are a couple of recommended tours.
|Shibuya Bar Hopping Tour|
A guide will show you where to eat and drink like a local in Shibuya. Hop around to 3 izakaya bars, experience Japanese culture and take plenty of photos after a few drinks!
|Sushi Tasting Culinary Tour in Tokyo|
A family friendly food tour that you can fill your belly with authentic Sushi and more at the hidden gems in Tokyo!
Roppongi is well known for its nightlife activities and it’s where many tourists hangout. The general meeting point is at Roppongi crossing, and from there most groups would pick out nightclubs to spend the night. Some popular places to drink the night away include V2 Tokyo Restaurant & Nightclub, Odeon Tokyo and Espirit Tokyo.
This is another lively neighbourhood in Tokyo where many young Japanese locals and tourists entertain themselves. A smaller area, Kabukicho, is well known for its red light district activities so keep that in mind if you do have kids with you. There are literally hundreds of hostess bars, adult dvd stores and love hotels.
Here are some Shinjuku night tours you could consider:
|Shinjuku – Nocturnal Walking Tour|
Discover the highlights of Shinjuku at night over a 4-hour tour from a local guide. A light meal will be included.
|Tokyo Night Photography Tour|
Pro tips and lesser-known spots in Shinjuku and Shibuya make for a great 2.5 hours of photography.
3/ Active Entertainment
Sure, you could sit down to a show, or watch a movie, but why not get involved? There’ll be no chance you’ll fall asleep doing these activities.
Everyone’s heard of it, and now’s your chance to try it Japanese style, away from a bar full of strangers. Book a booth, order snacks and drinks, and sing your heart out in front of your friends – you’ll have a ball. There are a number of chains to choose from, which offer plenty of pop hits you’re familiar with, and prices can be surprisingly reasonable to rent a room all night.
|Night Time Karaoke Bar Experience in Tokyo|
You can also try Japanese karaoke with a local guide as if you are having party there with your old friends! We also highly recommend this tour to those visiting Japan on your own to have a fun night!
Places like Round1 are perfect if you don’t know what you want to do – or if you have a group of people who all want to do something different. There are light sports – such as bowling, darts, billiards, and table tennis – as well as karaoke, arcade games and more. Tokyo’s three “stadiums” are spread across the capital in Itabashi, DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, and Ikebukuro. The first two shut for a couple of hours at 6am, but the latter keeps on going all day and all night.
Who wouldn’t want to visit an indoor amusement park until 10pm (11pm in August)? No-one, that’s who. Not when you can play arcade games, experience VR, and go on roller coasters all in the same place, then kick back at an interactive lounge, or a café with near-panoramic views of the rest of Tokyo. When you leave, you can enjoy a walk in the sea breeze of Odaiba with more views of the Rainbow Bridge.
Most department stores close at 8pm, some malls at 9pm at the latest, but there are still options available for an insomniac shopper besides the ever-present konbini (convenience store).
This is a long ally of shops, restaurants and entertainment located near Ueno Park station. The main alley splits into two and you’ll find more side streets with random stores. At night, it does get quite crowded, but this adds to the lively atmosphere. You could easily spend 2 hours at Ameya-Yokochō exploring the different Japanese shops and cuisines.
Known as Donki to the locals for short, this shop is a crazy mishmash of everything from food to cosmetics to electronics. It’s perfect for finding wacky souvenirs and cute stationery. The Shinjuku store is open 24 hours, making last-minute purchases at 2am and shopping sprees that last for hours entirely possible.
Shimokitazawa Night Market
Shimokitazawa is a popular area with young people. It’s the location of The Cage, an event space which hosts a market every Thursday from 5pm to 10pm with goods, food and performances. If you’re still hungry, it’s also home to the restaurant Long Vá Quán, which closes later at 12am.
For a relaxing night, take a soak in some hot springs, which are said to provide many health benefits.
An “onsen theme park” set in the Edo Period, the atmosphere exudes old-fashioned charm. Even if you don’t fancy the public nudity of the onsen areas themselves, you can still walk around the food court in yukata (traditional summer kimono), enjoy spa treatments and sit by the foot bath. If you are up for a cultural experience, English-language instructions will take you through every stage of hot springs etiquette. The best part is that you can stay all night if you want to – it’s open almost 24 hours a day, from 11am to 9am.
At LaQua, three unique areas allow you to switch from riding a roller coaster to dining out to dipping in hot springs. The shops shut around 9pm, and the restaurants at about 11pm, but the onsen only shuts between 9am and 11am. The natural hot springs include an open-air bath, saunas, jacuzzis, and a nap area for a quick recharge before you continue your night.
6/ Cultural sights
This temple is Tokyo’s oldest, although the original structures were destroyed in WW2. The grounds are open to the public at all hours, and the buildings are equally impressive at night, with the nearby shrine’s pagoda lit up like a beacon.
Leave the noise of the city behind in this expansive park, one of the first public parks in Japan. The museums and temples may be closed, but there’s still plenty to see, from the picturesque Shinobazu Pond and surrounding greenery, to various impressive statues. Entry to Ueno Park is free, and it’s open until 11pm.
A cityscape at night has a unique charm, especially when seen from above. See Tokyo as you’ve never seen it before, from these viewpoints that don’t shut their doors until late.
Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, this iconic landmark is a little taller at 333m. It’s now the second-tallest tower in Japan after the Skytree, which you can see from Tokyo Tower’s observatory in good weather. The lower 4 stories are called FootTown, a tiny mall which is crammed full of museums, restaurants and souvenir shops. There’s also an attraction called One Piece Tower, where fans can enjoy activities, live shows, and One Piece souvenirs. The last admission to this is 9pm, but the tower is open until 11pm.
This record-breaking tower is almost twice as tall as its predecessor, reaching 634m at the tip of its antenna. This means it has unparalleled views of the city, which you can enjoy until 10pm. If you dare, you can stand on the glass-bottomed floor in the observation deck and look directly down at the base of the tower. Like Tokyo Tower, the base contains a shopping town with food and drink, souvenirs, and even an aquarium – there’s never a shortage of something to do.
8/ Bonus Attraction: Disneyland and DisneySea
I would definitely recommend to spend at least 2 days at the Disneyland theme parks, but if you’re on a tight schedule and just want to take in a sample of the atmosphere, going at night is a cheaper option. You might have time to catch a couple of rides and take some photos. The main showstopper though, are the fireworks. Disneyland will have their traditional fireworks with the princess castle in the background, while DisneySea will have its showpiece on the lake.
Whatever kind of nightlife you’re looking for, Tokyo has any number of things that will keep you going until the sun comes back up. You can relax or party, and spend a few hours or the whole night enjoying what Tokyo has to offer.
Have you ever spent the night in Tokyo or do you want to? Please add your comments and suggestions below.