Where to go
Tokyo is very much spread-out, the Yamanote city loop railway alone has already 29 stations. Furthermore lots of subway lines cross the city. Considering the distances, choosing an area to be before public transport stops running (between 24 and 1 at night), is a smart thing to do. The most popular party areas are Shibuya, Roppongi and Shinjuku.
In Shibuya are plenty of clubs to be found, there is something for everyone. There are Techno clubs, R&B clubs, Indy clubs, Dance clubs, Reggae clubs and clubs offering different music styles on different floors. It is an incredibly popular party neighborhood. At night, the square in front of Shibuya station is often completely packed with people.
Two clubs you really have to check out are:
- Womb. This club often appears on “the ten best clubs in the world” rankings. This club probably has the best light and sound equipment in Tokyo. The entrance fee is at least 4000 yen, or about 50 US dollar at the time of writing.
- Pure charges a flat 3500 which includes unlimited drinks. When we will go over the costs of partying in Tokyo you will notice that this allows you to save a lot. This system is called Nomihoudai, a word you should try to remember. Apart from that, it is a cramped and narrow space, although it is a good place to meet and get to know new people.
In this neighborhood more tourists and expats can be found than anywhere else in Tokyo.
- Gaspanic is a notorious club. There is no entrance fee and therefore is very popular. On the downside, staff continuously walks through the club shining torches at your bottle to check whether it is empty. Are you done, you get the choice to order a new drink or to leave. The atmosphere is not very good, but it is a good place to quickly grab a drink and get the night started.
- Heartland is a popular bar below the Roppongi hills shopping tower. The customers are of diverse backgrounds, business people, tourists, exchange students, young and old, Japanese and gaijin. It is a great spot for socializing. Heartland even brews its own beer.
In this area you mostly find bars instead of clubs and these are mainly frequented by the locals. In Shinjuku are also a lot of host and hostess clubs, where people pay for the privilege of talking to an attractive man or woman, but that is something for another story. Shinjuku is however a great place to dine.
- In the docklands in Shin-Kiba, pretty far out of the city, you can find the largest club in Japan and maybe even in Asia: Ageha, an expensive but popular club that even sells hot meals. They also have an outdoor pool, but touching the water is strictly off limits.
In most neighborhoods all-night bars can be found. No entrance fee is charged and most customers are Japanese, which provides you with a chance to practice the language and also gives you an opportunity to gain more insight into the country.
Some points for attention
- Public transport stops between 12 and 1 at night, depending on the line. As the city is very big, walking back to your hotel is often no option.
- Most clubs will ask an entrance fee, this is usually between 1000 and 5000 yen.
- The cheapest beer usually costs 500 yen, about 6 dollar. Cocktails and imported beer are often double that.
- Taxis are the first kilometer 750 yen, then 350 yen each kilometer.
- Almost every club demands ID, so bring it. They will only allow people in from the age of 20.
- In Japanese bars and clubs smokers are plenty.
- Drugs, soft drugs included, are strictly prohibited.
As you see, costs can accumulate quickly. Here some more tips to make your yens stretch a little further.
- Start the everning at a nomihoudai izakaya restaurant. Nomihoudai means “drink as much as you like”. For a flat fee of usually about 25 dollars, you can have unlimited drinks for about 2 hours. An izakaya also sells lots of snacks, such as fried chicken and squid.
- Outside of the clubs, lots of convenience stores such as the 7/11 and Sunkiss are open at night. You can buy beer and other alcoholics there about 2 dollars, which you can drink outside. This legal in Japan and summer nights are not cold at all.
Did you have a fun night and do you want to head to bed? Between 5 and 6 AM public transport starts running again. Taking this is a fun experience. At these early hours the platforms of Shibuya station are often loaded with exhausted people going home after a night of clubbing, while the train is packed with business people heading to the office.
There is a big chance you will feel like a little bite before going to bed. That is no problem in Tokyo, on every street corner you can find a 24h restaurant.