What’s the first place that comes to mind when someone mentions an evening out in Tokyo? No doubt you might think of Ueno’s street food and izakayas, Shibuya’s nightclubs, or Shinjuku’s red light district. These areas, among others, are definitely great places to hang out in Tokyo. However, at the weekends, these places can get incredibly packed and it can be difficult to find anywhere that isn’t crowded or even full. Busy streets can get stressful and popular venues often overcharge if they get a lot of tourists.
Just a ten-minute train ride on the Tokyu Toyoko Line from Shibuya Station is Gakugei-daigaku in Meguro Ward. Although not always mentioned in guidebooks, it’s a fun place to hang out and is home to many local restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as the usual McDonald’s, Baskin Robbins, KFC, and Starbucks. This mix of local and international eateries give the area a fun, modern vibe.
Just a minute or so from Gakugei-daigaku Station is a small street called Jyujigai where you can spend an entire evening and still not see everything. Here are just a few of the restaurants and bars you’ll find on Jyujigai!
If you’d like to start your evening with some meat on a stick, or “yakitori” in Japanese, then hit Takaban Golden Sakaba first. There are some great dishes on offer including chicken and beef yakitori, and a delicious soup consisting of meat, spring onions, and tofu called “nikudofu.”
The dishes are affordable and the place doesn’t get too crowded. There is a good selection of beers and spirits, too.
At ESOLA, you can get a pizza for just 480 yen. Many toppings are involved such as basil-based or tomato-based sauce, chicken, vegetables, pepperoni, sausage, Margherita, and more. There is also an all-you-can-drink option for less than 2,000 yen, which is very affordable for Tokyo.
ESOLA is in the opposite building to Takaban Golden Sakaba and you can see it as soon as you come out.
If you’d like to check out different kinds of Japanese sake, try Kei’s bar just a few doors down from Takaban Golden Sakaba and ESOLA. It’s a Japanese standing bar serving all kinds of nihonshu that you can order by the glass or by the bottle. If you go, try Dassai – it’s a great sake that’s easy to drink.
There is even karaoke on this street! Although there is a COTE D’AZUR karaoke branch just five minutes away, there is a bar and public karaoke restaurant on Jyujigai Street where you have a chance to meet new people and watch as they sing. Munch on Japanese snacks and sip beer as locals drunkenly sing classics after a hard week at work. Private karaoke is great for those who are shy, but public bars such as Snack Saika can help you meet new people and experience a real Japanese-style evening out.
Finally, there is a Thai restaurant at the end of the street for those craving something a little exotic. This yummy eatery has stairs decorated with lotus flowers to give you a real sense of Thailand before you enter. Their menu includes garlic pork, classic Thai curry, Singaporean-style chicken, spicy stir fried noodles, and soup with prawns. LOTUS AsiA is also renowned for its cocktails.
Tokyo is a gigantic city packed with little-known streets and shops just waiting to be explored. Next time you’re planning an evening out in Japan’s capital, why not head to Gakugei-daigaku and see all that Jyujigai has to offer? Eat, drink, and sing the night away without the crowds!