5 must-visit bars in Shinjuku Golden-Gai in Tokyo

1) Akabana

This bar serves a good selection of awamori (Okinawa’s shochu) and Okinawan cuisine. You can drink awamori diluted with turmeric tea or sanpin-cha (jasmine tea) just like in Okinawa. It is always crowded with regulars who love the friendly owner’s home cooking.

Akabana small tea stall in Tokyo city

1-1-8 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku

2) Ishi No Hana

A small Russian izakaya that opened in 1973, making it one of the oldest in the area. The owner will gladly get out his guitar when asked. Do try their selection of vodkas if you go – some of them are quite rare.

street with many signs in Tokyo

1-1-10 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku

+81 (0)3-3200-8458

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3) Bar 5Gallon

This friendly ambience in this bar will immediately make you feel at ease. They became famous for their curry after a popular TV presenter gave it a rave review. Homemade otoshi (a small dish served as a cover charge) changes daily and is much more than a small dish. Here you definitely won’t leave hungry.

Interior of bar 5Gallon

1-1-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku

+81 (0)70-6985-7055


4) Bar Uramen

A themed otaku bar: home electrical appliances and digital gadgets as wel as retro games. Enjoy drinks and games here, as they have roughly 600 FamiCon cassettes, while listening to some weirdly cool music.

decorative wall at Bar Uramen in Tokyo

1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku

+81 (0)80-4369-9713


5) Tachibana Shinsatsushitsu

This bar’s concept is that of a waiting room at a hospital. The staff wear nurse uniforms. All the cocktails have unique names. If you do not understand Japanese, ask the nurse. But be warned, some of the names are rather outrageous. Don’t be disgusted, it is just their unique sense of humour.

street entrance of Tachibana Shinsatsushitsu

1-1-8 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku

+81 (0)3-3208-4148

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