6 Exciting Things to Do in Tokyo At Night
When your day of touring or business comes to an end, then what? Here are exciting, fun things to do when night falls in Tokyo, Japan.
Choosing what to do in the evenings during your stay in Tokyo can be a hell of a challenge. Such big cities have so much to offer it is hard to make a choice between all of them. This said, if you are only in Tokyo for a vacation it is worth researching some of the most unique experiences the city has to offer. Below are some of the top picks of exciting things to do in Tokyo at night.
“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!”
“Bong! Bing! Crash! Kampai! Pika, pika, pika! ‘P p p poker face, p p p poker face’.”
“Geez, what is all that racket, Igor?”
“Now, now, Master, don't get your cape in a bunch. You knew the deal when you were invited as Keynote speaker this year. Everything is kind of wonky in this place.”
“Ahhh, should have declined the offer, but when Godzilla gives you a First Class ticket, and tells you: ‘Dracky, would you be interested in presenting this year's best fight award?’ you can't say no. Last thing my home insurance needs is for that prat to throw a hissy fit in the parlor room.”
“I’ve said it a hundred times, Igor, this place is way too weird. Tokyo, were even teh undead are lost in the sounds.”
Sight Seeing at Night
Tokyo feels big during the day but you should really experience it at night to see it in its full glory! When night falls, the tall skyscrapers become never ending lights flying into the sky. In the day there are a number of towers where tourists can go and get a full view of the big city. At night a lot of these close at approximately 22:00. Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo tower, and Tokyo Metropolitan government Building are just a few of the amazing skyscrapers that offer this awesome opportunity. If you want to go the whole hog you should opt for one of the skyscrapers that has an evening restaurant. These are the best opportunity for a bit of romance and passion. For those willing to splash a bit more cash you can get a helicopter ride that isn’t completely ridiculously priced.
Museums and Other Tourist Attractions
Some of the museums and tourist attractions are either open at night or offer some form of entertainment or special events. Two of the aquariums: Sumida Aquarium and Sunshine International Aquarium open later during the tourist seasons. The Mori Museum and Epson Aqua Stadium also open later than other places. If you really want to take the kids on an adventure you will be happy to know that Disneyland and Disneysea are open until 22:00 during the peak of tourist season. Not only will you be able to explore the wonders of Disneyland at night but they also normally offer a discounted price. Tokyo Joypolis is another famous family attraction and offers entertainment and a variety of rides all the way through until 22:00.
Yes, we did mention it above. Slightly and marginally, but let’s not boggle around the plain fact of the matter. This is Disneyland! The land of the mouse and, thankfully to some shark-like marketing demons - the sort that specializes in hostile takeovers and the like - Disney has also become Shangrila to every nerd on planet Earth. Let's say a couple of words in a holy chant: “blessed be the Captain and his Avengers, hallelujah to Darth Vader and his son and amen, to the Mighty corporation joined them under one flagship! Praise the lord!”
Hence, why Disney truly deserve a little bit more wiggle room in this article. At night, everything else can be postponed, everything but the empire of Walt and his cronies.
Disneyland, as you can expect, does not shy away from excess. It does everything so off the top and out of this world that, after a while, the real life version of that thing, they so masterfully constructed, starts to seem a bit tame and weak by comparison. Main street, shopping windows, restaurants, fake palm trees and hibiscuses, the complete perfectly maintained house of cards is simply spellbinding. In comparison, out the gates, the grit and meat of Tokyo, seems a bit dull.
During the day, Disney cranks out all the stops. At night, past sunset, it injects napalm into their suntanned attractions. One of it's most remarkable achievements and one that has garnered it share of prizes and commendations, is the Nighttime Parade: "Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights." This march, of floats, display and every Disney Character inside Walts roster is without a doubt a sight for every kids eye. It's the sort of experience that tattoos its way into your corneas and instantly warms your heart.
A Special Dinner on the Town
Obviously, you will be looking for food during your trip. This said, there are so many places to choose from you probably will not need this page to tell you about every restaurant in the city. This is why we will tell you about the ones you won’t want to miss. Whether you are on a budget or have got some cash to splash you will not be disappointed with the amount of options available to you. Most people visiting this city want to experience some real traditional Japanese cuisine. Shinjuku, Shiodome, and the Tokyo Station are some of the restaurants situated on the skyscrapers in the city. If you really want to see something different, you may want to visit one of the themed restaurants in Tokyo. The Ninja restaurant is one you may want to visit. It offers traditional Japanese food alongside an omen to ancient ninjas.
But, what truly makes Tokyo, like most of Japan a unique culinary experience it is its food. It's carnival of odd names, funky smelling delicacy and delectable meals, that under any other circumstance might very well have you questioning the dynamics of Pacific wildlife. The food, the tastes, the taste bud nuclear explosions in this town, know no bounds. They up the ante on anything your stomach has previously before held and spank you silly with a lesson on what's real exotic cuisine. Below, as an added bonus to this section, I've compiled a must eat or die list. The sort of condiment heavy, soy sauce, panko fried, ginger infested, a smorgasbord that every traveler is urged, nay COMMANDED by the very voice of their sacred deity, to try out during their "Going Japanese" Experience. Most everything, on this carefully, chef-approved and Tums highlighted tally can be found anywhere in Tokyo. The Capital of Japan brimming with restaurants, tea-houses, street vendors, fast food joints, culinary markets each place stuffed with the brilliance of a cook that takes his job beyond the norm and transforms each bite of their art into a scintillating world of delights.
- KUSHIYAKI: Skewered everything; mushrooms, pork, chicken, meat, prawns. If it has been pricked, by a stick and barbecued than it's Kashiyaki. Best place to have it, and I kid you not, "Piss Alley"/ "Yakatori Lane," also known as Omoide Yokocho.
- RAMEN: part of the native's stable and food pyramid, Ramen is the go-to meal in Tokyo. Going to the shore of The Rising Sun and coming back without a lengthy ramen story, is the equivalent of going to Mexico and never having a taco.
- TONKATSU: a fine pork chop deep fried in crunchy panko breadcrumbs. Tasty and sublime.
- SUSHI: there's western sushi, then there's the real, no Philly cream cheese, fresh produce mana that the Japanse create. In Tokyo, sushi is everywhere and almost all venues due it justice. Best place to get it? Very early in the morning at the local fish market. There, in that open air bazaar, they'll give you the best tuna you've ever had. Mouthwatering pieces from the Gods.
- TAMAGOYAKI: the Japanese take on the french omelet. It's sweet, spongy and out of this world.
- SUKIYAKI: thin sliced beef, slowly cooked and simmered in a pot. Broiled to a tender finish in a stew of vegetables, seaweed, mirin, sugar and soy sauce. What makes Sukiyaki the dish to try while in Tokyo? Two words: Wagyu beef.
- Tempura: a deep fried dish, made from a light batter, The trick is to use spring sparkling water. It's is finger licking good.
- Unagi: fresh eel, barbecued over an oak grill and baked with a sweet teriyaki sauce. Mouthwatering goodness that will have you looking with gluttony on those two knaves from The Little Mermaid.
Do Not Forget About the Nightlife
Roppongi is one of the more popular tourist nightclub areas in the city. this said, the area is become more and more well known for its unfortunate bad practices. There have been reports of fights and drink spiking in recent times. Other districts known for their nightlife are: Ginza, Shibuya and Shinjuku amongst others. You will be able to find a combination of bars,clubs, restaurants, massage parlors and the list goes on. Tokyo is not necessarily the safest place to go out at night but then again there are very few cities that are 100% safe. Although not a huge risk it is worth keeping your belongings close and your drinks within watching distance. For a more upmarket experience, visit Ginza, the premium upmarket district with a number of clubs that offer hostess services. These are all great for those that do not speak the language and don’t want to struggle with a constant language barrier.
Once again I’m about to get sidetracked. I'm on my way to the pulpit, to jump on its oak wood face and preach. Speak high of the word. To give homilies on the merits of a key point, a GPS hotspot, mentioned but not given its due diligence. Pass sermon and prophesy on what is just and true. “The Roppongi Evangelion,” it's time I proclaim of its virtue.
A varied nightlife held up by the pillars of wanton excess and frivolous over indulges. A scene constructed out of castles in the sky and made real by the abundance of eager patrons, with disposable income. There was a void, and Roppongi was more than happy to fill it way past its brim.
Before Roppongi was ROPPONGI, this district was simply a variable run-of-the-mill region with nothing to actually offer. The place was dull and normal, not exactly the hot-spot and den of activity it now professes itself to be. So overly plain that it hardly mattered as far as city planning went. During a great deal of its turgid history, Roppongi was simply there, nothing more and nothing less. It didn’t shine. No mutant power. No seductive energy to catch the visitor or the native’s fancy. Then, after the eternal dry spell, things started to shake in Japan, literary in certain circumstance. In 1890, the Imperial Guard of The Japanese Army moved to a site near Roppongi. Their headquarters, now the Pacific’s Stars and Stripes Bureau, a mere stone’s throw away from the central plaza of the hamlet. Things started to heat up, as the influx of soldiers and governmental personnel instantly demanded a greater presence of the wild and varied entertainment. The meager Roppongi nightlife shot up like a teen with a growth sprout. Nothing could brunt the expansion of the beast. Families relocated, businessmen wagered their life’s worth on new endeavors, Geishas flocked to the scene, corporations and restaurants took a sledgehammer to the ground and staked their claim on the land. In less than 10 years, Roppongi had Gollum-ed the Japanese night for itself. “My precious,” it told all other pretenders.It had cemented its shoes on the hilltop of that coveted price. Nothing but the mighty finger of God would flick Roppongi from such a lofty station.
Daring fate hasn’t always proved beneficial to man. Man plans God laughs and decides to throw a tantrum. In 1923, while the town was swinging, the Big Guy resolved to make his voice heard. He went all Sodom and Gomorrah on Tokyo, and Roppongi suffered most of his offense. The Great Kanto Earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale, rumbled its way into the main island of Japan. its focus point deep beneath Izu Ōshima Island in Sagami Bay expanded outwards, a radius of absolute destruction slapped most of the Honshu isle. The quake devastated most of Tokyo and, the port city of Yokohama, as well as the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka. Firestorms, landslide, floods, tsunamis, fissures, ruptures and collapsing edifices crumbled the landscape. The human cost was unbearable, the economic fallout would plague Japan for years. Roppongi, in less than a turn of the second’s dial, was flattened; reduced to ash, dirt and rubble.
Reconstruction started right away, but already the damage was felt. There were far too many other priorities, in the blemished and sorry land, that superseded the nightlife district. Echelons of importance were made, steps that came first and where to relocate, responsibly, all humanitarian as well as capitalists help; Roppongi in this pyramid construct was shoehorned right in the bottom rungs. Japan continued on its way and, by the late 30’s and early 40’s found itself once more in crisis. A mayhem perpetrated not by the whims of the Gods, but by the folly of man. The Imperial Army entered World War Two and with it, the Pacific Ocean instantly became a theater for all sorts of assaults and battles. Tokyo once again became the central protagonist. Its city punched, garroted and manhandled since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Allied Forces, seeing it as a symbol of Japan’s strength, K.O-ed the blighted Capital with absolutely everything they had at their disposal. The city became ground zero for all sorts of attacks and strategies, although heavily protected, it bared on a constant axis the full force of aerial bombings. In 45, after two Atomic bombs, Japan surrendered. The Allied’s entered as a conquering army into Tokyo and they briskly set up shop. It was during this period, that Roppongi once more started amassing followers. Perhaps one of the only parts of town that had not been heavily bombed, Roppongi began the focal point for all sort of mischievous activities from foreigners. At the drop of the hat, nightlife and entertainment started blossoming like weeds in a garden. The dollar heavy American G.I.s needed a place to blow off some postwar steam, and Roppongi fit the bill.
Since that period, the place has mushroomed out. The Yakuza, local street gangs and the mafia supplying every sort of vice on its demand heavy street; from legal to dodgy.
The area is a miasma, a labyrinth of swanky bars and cheap dives; upscale strip clubs and the sort pole dance-heavy establishment that needs a Hazmat suit; tea houses and Starbucks; swinging classy nightclubs and hole in the walls with a boombox. Roppongi offers the weary and perhaps insomniac traveler all sorts of entertainment. As the night slinks past twilight into the wee hours, the opportunities grow. Overall, the neighborhood caters to everyone and everything with dough to swing around, it doesn’t discriminate. It’s a popular spot among tourist, Expats, army personal, business people, students, otakus… Anything with a pulse and a bank account will be treated as royalty.
As a whole, the district does not disappoint. It is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. You can find, at any given time a Kobe approved Steakhouse, next to a tapioca tea stand, across from a Peking Duck selling street vendor, from the corner of a Nigerian restaurant.
Places that are DaringPenguin approved:
- Mamam Spider, the sculpture at Roku Roku Plaza, get a pic. Snap the photo and, since at the night the museum is closed, get your camera and vacate the premise.
- Steakhouses: 37 Steakhouse & Bar, Oak Door, Wolfgang's Steakhouse, Steak House Hama Roppongi.
- Shopping: Mori Tower (high priced shopping plaza) and Azabu-Juban (urban commercial district in Roppongi Hills.)
- Cabarets: There are hundreds of them scattered throughout Roppongi. If you have the mula, the time and the inclination, go to the best. Tantra Tokyo is the only Artistic Cabaret Lounge in Roppongi. It’s costly but it will be worth every yen.
- Bars: Wall Street Bar, Propaganda, Motown, Black Horse, Abbott's Choice, BarBlue, Sake Shop Fukumitsuya, BrewDog Saito, Tafia, I Darts Tokyo, Gen Yamamoto, Maduro At the Hyatt, Legends Sports Bar and Grill, Gonpachi.
- Nightlife: Soul Sonic Boogie, IBEX, Flower (now "6"), A.I., Gaspanic, Feria Tokyo, Alife, Muse, Salsa Sudada, Wallstreet House.
A special mention goes out to the Godzilla statue. Rising from the lawn, the King Of Monster, a Japanese icon, is lit every night with the sort of splendor and majesty reserved for National Monuments. The Godzilla Statue, at Tokyo’s Midtown Park in Roppongi, is a sight for every nerd’s eyes. It is a 21-feet tall goliath with smoke and sound shows every evening. To top if off, right next to the Mothra pointing lizard, there’s a Bacardi Bar.
Oh, by the way, although I know most males won't even take it into consideration, did I mention, in any way, about the natural fauna of this joint? Well, just to perk your interest, anything mildly feminine, in Roppongi is Earth shattering. Just giving you the heads up. If you're single hurray and mazeltov. If you're in a relationship, pack some dark sunglasses, you'll need them.
Tip Of The Day: In most of Tokyo there is only one boss of that night. The only creature that can actually govern the land… The mighty bill. Be it Yen, Real, Pesos, Dollars, Rubies, Emeralds, Euros, Patacones, the smell of cash is the true, big-shot, master of this region’s nighttime monsters. Plastic is frowned upon and, in certain establishments, spit upon. Don’t take out your credit card when clubbing out. It’s not worth the hassle and, at the end of the day, the less you have on you the less the pickpocketing bandits can swindle you for.
The added Bonuses
Still hungry for the nightlife. Your inner wolf is smacking down the gates and wanting nothing more than to howl at the moon? You, despite everything I've covered, still, want more bangs for your bucks? You're high on adrenaline, Japanese coffee and soft drink caffeine? Well, thankfully, I aim to please. This is by far not the bottom of the barrel, it is simply what I couldn't wrangle into a headline. All the miscellaneous bits and bobs that end up capping the Tokyo by the moonlight tour.
- Karaoke: there's US karaoke, then there's Japanese Karaoke. In Tokyo, floor space is limited and apartments are tiny, there is no room to do a casual get together. As such, Karaoke places, with vast alcoves and funky lights have taken over that niche and served the public with an answer to their needs. Here, in these private rooms, the locals and well as the noisy foreigners can get their groove on and party like its the end of the world.
- Love Hotel: spend a night at one of this otherworldly hotels. Shower your significant other with the sort of crazy, pseudo-erotic garbage, that will either have you doing the bunny shuffle or laughing like a loon and questioning the logic behind what's considered sexy.
- Matsuri: nighttime events and festivals. They generally start early and go all the way till' dawn.
- Hanabi: firework festivals. They are held regularly since the 17-hundreds and come summer time they'll peak into weekly pyromaniac celebrations.
- Yakatabune: party boats that cruise the waterfronts and jiggy all night long.
- Gardens. several of the gardens in Japan offer a feast for the eyes come nightfall. Not only are there blooming parties, but the local places ratchet up the illuminations and create fairytale lands out the most common collection of shrubs.
- Beer Gardens: Tokyo has its fair share of love for Germany's main export. Beer Gardens abound throughout the land.
- Religious festivals: there's one every full moon or turn of the calendar. Kurama Fire Festival or Omizutori Festival, Dondo Yaki, etc.
- Mount Fuji: take a hike up Japan's most famous mountain and watch the sunrise. You can start your travels at night, or simply hike one afternoon halfway, sleep in one of the many huts and then continue your trek for an amazing photoop.
Last but not Least
Do not miss out of the hot springs which often stay open until the late hours of the night. If you have had a tough day walking around the city and your feet are a little sore you may want to go and have a dip in the hot springs offered by a few different theme parks. There is an entrance fee that differs according to the hot springs theme park you decide to go to but once you have paid this fee you are free to dip in the pools to your hearts content. If you are looking for something a little more relaxing than the busy nightlife of Tokyo there are a number of cinemas or game centers you can visit. Or, why not go and show off your singing talents in one of the many karaoke bars available to you?
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