Things to do in
Golden Gai

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Tokyo: Shinjuku Drinks and Neon Nights Nightlife Tour

1. Tokyo: Shinjuku Drinks and Neon Nights Nightlife Tour

Head to Shinjuku, Tokyo’s entertainment area, and join locals as you grab a bite and a drink on a walking tour in the evening. Taste local flavors as you try different drinks and snacks, learning about the area from your local guide along the way. Kick off your evening at a Japanese izakaya-style gastropub for their happy hour. As this is a favorite pastime of many Japanese, spend some leisurely time chatting with your fellow tour mates over drinks and snacks. Then, meander through Omoide Yokocho, a collection of alleyways full of tiny bars and eateries. Get a peek at the different type of food joints locals usually eat at, from yakitori restaurants and soba shops to cafes and bars. If you'd like to come visit again on your own time, Omoide Yokocho is a great place to sit and eat elbow-to-elbow with local businessmen. See how they unwind after working hours. Later on, reach Kabukicho, an area full to the brim with over 3,000 shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and karaoke. Awash in bright neon lights, Kabukicho is one of Tokyo’s most photogenic areas. With streets filled with people and music blaring from every corner, you are sure never to have a boring evening in Kabukicho. End your evening in Golden Gai, a compact neighborhood full of tiny bars that can usually only seat six to eight people at a time. It is here in Shinjuku’s most popular drinking spot where you will stumble upon one of your guide’s favorite bars and say kanpai (cheers!) over more drinks. From here, your guide can either give you directions back to your hotel, your next destination, or leave you chatting through the night with new friends.

Shinjuku: Golden Gai Food Tour

2. Shinjuku: Golden Gai Food Tour

Start your tour by walking through the busy streets of Shinjuku heading straight for Omoide Yokocho (literally “Memory Lane”) as your first stop. Omoide Yokocho is rightfully named as it is littered with rustic bars from the 1950s. Anyone of the older generation will feel as if they stepped back in time to the middle of the 20th century. Many of these bars still stay true to their roots, serving roasted giblets with beef and pork, which was a staple when food was scarce after World War II. From there you will make your way to Kabukicho, Asia’s largest, yet safest, red light district stopping at a kushikatsu stall for some authentic regional cuisine called kushikatsu (specialty food from Osaka of deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables). Each of the guests will get 4 kushikatsu and 1 drink. From here you will walk through the rest of Kabukicho, weaving in and out to give guests a sense of its intoxicating atmosphere until you arrive at your second stop, a local eatery famous for highlighting the authentic regional flavors of southern Japan where guests will get to try 4 different dishes ranging from char grilled chicken, gyoza, chicken namba, miso and vegetables, yakisoba (grilled noodles, vegetables and meat), and cod roe with rice (menus change seasonally). After this, you'll move into Shinjuku’s Golden Gai neighborhood known for being Tokyo’s most popular spot for unique izakaya, bar stall and pub nightlife. A glimpse back to what Tokyo was like during the early and middle of the 20th century, Golden Gai locations are so densely packed you can almost be in two places at once (one foot in each). Despite is run-down appearance, Golden Gai generally attracts well-off clientele and their prices match accordingly with it being one of the most expensive places to drink in the city. Golden Gai is filled with over 200 small pubs, stalls, and karaoke bars where most are only big enough for five to seven people. Boasting the most densely packed nightlight area in the world, unique in every stall measured in inches rather than feet, Golden Gai will be a glimmer of Tokyo you will never forget and you'll look forward to having a cold-one with you in this historic place. This tour covers all food costs, 1 drink at kushikatsu and 1 drink at Golden Gai. The tour operators asks for a minimum of 2 travelers for the tour. If you are 1 traveler please contact them.

Shinjuku: Private Guided Tour of Shinjuku’s Top Sights

3. Shinjuku: Private Guided Tour of Shinjuku’s Top Sights

Start your experience at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a beautiful park with vast grounds. Head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation deck to admire the panoramic view over the city. Stop at Himawari Sushi for lunch, before continuing to Omoide Yokocho, a street lined with traditional bars called Izakaya. Browse the boutiques in the BICQLO shopping center and visit Kabukicho Ichiban-Gai, Japan’s best shopping district. Marvel at the fire-breathing Godzilla Head, then explore Japanese heritage at the Samurai Museum. Wander through the historic Golden Gai neighborhood to reach the Hanazono Shrine, an impressive red building surrounded by trees.

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What people are saying about Golden Gai

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 43 reviews

What makes me know I'll remember this tour for the rest of my life was not so much the substance of the tour but the people comprising the tour group itself (guide included). Ayaka is an amazing, down to earth guide. She along with my fellow tourists became, somehow, seasoned drinking buddies by the end of the tour. Don't be shy or anti social. Get to know your guide and your fellow tourists around the table and I can almost guarantee you'll have a great night. Also, if you end up at Bar Araku, look up at the ceiling for the purple 100 PHP bill that has a little quip about "envelopes" and know you are staring at evidence of an amazing night by all whose initials dawn that bill.

Amazing tour, we really had fun and Carlos is really nice and knowledgable. Food was awesome and the places we went too !! He answered so many of my questions, fun, fun, fun !! The group was great too.

Guide is very friendly and informative. Shared with us on other spots in Tokyo to visit.

Getting to know them and their experience and impression of Tokyo

This was a great way to experience Tokyo culture and nightlife