Golden Gai, Shinjuku bar district

More than 200 tiny bars and pubs are crammed into a maze of six narrow alleys. If you are feeling adventurous, you should go Golden Gai, Shinjuku bar district.

Shinjuku

A 10 minute walk from the East Exit of Shinjuku Station, there is an area of bars called Golden Gai sandwiched between the Shinjuku Ward Office and the Hanazono Shrine.

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

This area is about 50 meters square and is densely crowded with ramshackle buildings. These tiny bars and taverns may only be 10 square meters(30 square feet) in size, but may serve seven or eight people.

Shinjuku

These buildings were originally a black market after WWII. Most of them were illegal brothels known as a “blue line” area (based on the blue outline on maps indicating an illegal red light district).  After the Anti-Prostitution Law was passed in 1958, they changed to bars and restaurants.

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Golden Gai is famous as a place where musicians, filmmakers, and artists often visit, making it a place with a good reputation among intellectuals. Most of the bars accept new visitors, but some still only welcome regular customers.

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Many of the bars have a particular theme, such as rock, jazz, R&B, movies, manga, or novels. For example, there is a bar called Tachibana Shinsatsushitsu(examination room) that imitates a hospital environment. Barmaids in nurses uniforms serve drinks in glass beakers. Their original cocktails have strange names, including blood transfusion, enema, intestinal cleaning, and barium. There is a large, foreigner-friendly bar called Albatross G, with chandeliers on the ceiling and mysterious pictures on the wall.

Shinjuku

If you get hungry in Golden Gai, there are many places to eat. Bistro Pavo offers cheap spaghetti and cutlet. Nagi is a famous ramen restaurant. In Dongaragasshan you can eat kushikatsu(deep-fried breaded meat or vegetables on skewers).

Shinjuku

There are many unique bars and people, so you can have a wonderful time in Golden Gai.

Shinjuku

[How to go] a 10 minute walk from the East Exit of JR Shinjuku Station

Lonely Planet Tokyo (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Rebecca Milner Simon Richmond
Lonely Planet
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Tokyo Eating Tour (Volume 2): The Backpacker's Guide to Reasonable Standing Bars in Japan
Japan Course Inc. (2015-10-06)
Best Sellers Rank: 279,844
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