Golden Gai: a mysterious place in Shinjuku, Tokyo


Golden Gai is truly a magical place, located in Kabuki-cho, the Shinjuku district that never sleeps in Tokyo.

Golden Gai doesn’t contain any grand buildings or monuments, but is simply a tiny fragment of old Tokyo that has miraculously survived : this is an area with about 200 small bar that accommodate five to ten customers each.

This place was famous in the past, and still is very popular : often they accommodate artists, musicians, actors and directors.


The buildings in Golden Gai are ramshackle and the alleys dimly lit, but if you are worried about visit this area, bear in mind that Tokyo has one of the lowest crime rates of any big city, so the whole place is much safer than appearances suggest.

Each building is only a few feet wide and built almost touching the one next door. Many have a steep set of stairs leading to a separate establishment, or a tiny flat, upstairs.

The bar advertise themselves with an eclectic mix of artwork and enigmatic logos, from cats and acoustic guitars to painted lips and nudes.

Some establishments in Golden Gai are so small that can only fit five or six customers at one time.

The beautiful appeal of Golden Gai is that it is actually the best place in Tokyo where you can meet people and socialize.

It is easy to tell which bars are open to new customers : they are the ones that display menus and lists of prices outside, some even having signs in English to attract visitors from overseas.


Golden Gai is a fascinating area to explore at any time of the day, but it only really comes alive late at night, as most of the bars are not even open before 9 or 10p.m.

So enjoy your time at night in one of the wonderful and unique bar of Golden Gai !

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