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“Good, seedy fun”

Shinjuku Golden Gai
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Nocturnal Walking Tour of Shinjuku
Ranked #4 of 332 things to do in Shinjuku
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Los Angeles, California
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Good, seedy fun”
Reviewed August 9, 2014

We'd seen Golden Gai on travel shows and were delighted to find that this interesting neighborhood chocked full of teensy bars was so close to our hotel.
We wound up going back a few times, as there are so many different little places with different vibes to try out. Our first night, we went to a tiny, upstairs Jazz bar with a gruff, one armed bartender. He eventually took to us and gave us bamboo treats when we reacted favorably to the music.
Second night found us in a box-like, hot, standing-room for maybe three people place with a classic rock vibe and was way too bright, so we found a charming little sit-down place that resembled a teeny-tiny bordello. A few Japanese fellows spoke English and chatted with us, and we really had a great time.
It's worth noting that not all of the bars want us tourists there (who can blame them?) and that's kind of the surly charm of the place. Almost all of the bars have a cover charge, once having paid, the drinks are inexpensive. We wouldn't go in a place with a cover charge of more than 500 yen and that worked out pretty well for us.

Visited August 2014
4 Thank therealmissrita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Small, but awesome area, unique.”
Reviewed August 5, 2014

The highest number of bars per square meter in the entire world. Unique in its own, the pubs and bars are very small and have a laid back mood. I visited the 'death match' pub, which is horror themed. Had a great chat with the owner, who is very friendly and customer oriented. Not as scary as it looks. Very much worth a visit. Some pubs have a table charge of 1,000Y/person, but many don't. Prices are not low, but still reasonable in my opinion. Would definitely re-visit the next time in Tokyo.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank WJvS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Death Match in Hell! & Cambiare”
Reviewed July 30, 2014

Me being a horror film nut I focused on the two places that cater for my interests.
I did go to a few other bars but nothing quite topped the experience I had in Death Match. The walls completely covered in posters, figures, VHS along the bar and DVDs around, as well as a couple of TVs playing movies - all horror of course.
The owner named Go was awesome, spoke great English and was happy to talk endlessly about all things horror and metal music. This place was more like a museum than a pub, but it's a museum you can have a sweet time in, if you like the subject. Also, there's no cover charge which is a bonus.

Next we went to Cambiare, the bar which is themed on Dario Argento's Suspiria. On the night I went it was some kind of anniversary of Kaiju (giant monsters), so the Suspiria theme was pretty lacking on this night, but as soon as we entered, some man shoved an octopus suit on me and a turtle suit on my friend and we battled it out Kaiju style! The people had a great atmosphere and I had a good convo to one of the regulars about Giallo's, who bought us a bottle of Dario Argento Dracula wine. Also no cover charge here, but after the wine we went back to Death Match.

Visited May 2014
3 Thank Guy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalmar, Sweden
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Golden Gai”
Reviewed July 29, 2014

Just my favorite place ever! Drinks, cute little bars and fun to discover new places. This is the perfect place to start an evening!

Visited August 2013
Thank Elin J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Cute Bars, Welcoming Bartenders”
Reviewed July 27, 2014

This area is one of the only parts of Tokyo that is not completely "modernized". It is charming, and worth a visit just to walk around and peek into the tiny bars even if you don't drink or you have children. We looked for bars without cover charges, and went to two. One was clean and modern inside, and we had draft Kirin beers ($8/each). The other was Rock & Roll themed with concert memorabilia and classic concerts on the TVs. We had a homemade tea-flavored sake and a homemade plum wine (all drinks are $7). Both drinks were good. We also enjoyed short chats with both of the bartender/owners, who were very nice and welcoming. The highlight of our night was a stop for ramen just down the road! Ask the bartenders for recommendations (which they will happily provide), or look for the place with the longest line!

Visited July 2014
Thank Alissa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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