My love for Tokyo nightlife is no secret. I spent almost four months living in Tokyo last year, and one of my favorite things to do in Tokyo was exploring the endless variety of nightlife.
Before we dive in, one thing to not: If you are interested in booking a nightlife tour with MagicalTrip.com, just know that all locations are subject to change on a nightly basis.
With that being said, let the good times roll…
Tokyo Nightlife: Shibuaya Bar Hopping Stops
Stop 1: Goodbeer Faucets
Like many places around the world, the craft beer scene is also on the rise here in Tokyo, and bars like Goodbeer Faucets are popping up all over the city.
This bar has 40 different beers on tap draft and an array of bottled beers primarily from Japan and the U.S. For the beer enthusiasts, I go with a delicious Rising Sun Pale Ale from Japanese-based Baird Brewing Company.
The average price for a pint is about $10 USD, but there are happy hour specials (and high-end selections).
Our first taste test of the night is a sizzling dish of creamy camembert cheese and bright orange fish eggs in a garlic oil. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it was explained to me, but it was excellent!
Stop 2: Niku Yokocho (2nd floor)
I’ve mentioned this in the Tokyo Nightlife Guide video, but it’s worth saying again…
Two of the most important words to know when it comes to Tokyo nightlife are Izakaya, which are informal Japanese pubs, something like a small, tapas-style restobar.
The second is Yokocho, which are small alleyways or side streets that are usually lined with these Izakayas.
Now that we covered that, it’s time for stop number two.
Niku Yokocho is home to over 20 Izakayas, all serving up a variety of meaty food options. Niku actually means meat in Japanese.
We start out with a pork and veggie stir-fry with cabbage, carrots, onions, and kimchi, topped with sesame seeds and a soy dressing.
Next, its an omelette called Tonpeiyaki, filled with more pork, peppers, onions, and topped with a creamy mayonnaise.
It was the third plate however, that really got me going… a ridiculously tasty, thinly sliced steak smothered in herb-covered melted cheese!
As if the food wasn’t mind blowing enough, our Magical Trip guide, Ryo, surprised us with a live magic show! A local magician came up to our table and proceeded to baffle us with sleight of hand and card tricks. It was one of those little touches that made this night so much fun.
Stop 3: YA-PPA (Niku Yokocho – 3rd floor)
Stop number three of the night is actually right upstairs, and a completely new set of Izakayas. There are actually 10 more locations in this area of the third floor alone!
This round leads off with Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a classic Japanese staple which can loosely be described as a cabbage pancake and in this case topped with bacon and the ever-present Katsuobushi (dried fish flakes).
Follow that up with a popular culinary trend here in Tokyo at the moment – meat sushi or Nikuzushi. It looks like the typical nigiri-style sushi, however rice is topped with raw or lightly cooked pork or beef.
The first one we tried was a flash-cooked beef topped with green unions, sesame seeds, and teriyaki sauce.
Saving the best for last, is one of the greatest meat experiences of my life. Thinly sliced, and quickly torched Yamagata-gyu. One of the highest grade Wagyu beefs available. This piece of meat melted in my mouth like butter. Fatty, flavorful, and so unique to a regular steak I’ve come to know.
I had to pay my respect to the owner of this Izakaya for the incredible meal…
We spent the rest of the night just enjoying conversation, learning more about Japanese culture, and drinking some very smooth sake. Another fun aspect of the night was when our guide gave us a Japanese “quiz” where he showed us photos of Japanese food and famous people, and we had to guess what and who they were.
It was truly a great evening with a small group of foreigners and a friendly, caring staff. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Tokyo, I would highly recommend this nightlife tour with Magical Trip.
Disclaimer: I was invited by MagicalTrip.com to come and experience their new Shibuya Nightlife Tour, however all opinions are 100% my own. As I mention in the video, you guys know that I don’t work with or endorse many tours, but this one has a great local element that I truly appreciate. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me directly.