A small area connected by narrow alleys, which is seemingly out of place in a contemporary Tokyo, and is a famous hangout area for musicians, artists, writers, academe, actors and even famous celebrities, is the Shinjuku Golden Gai.
This used to be popular for prostitution before the year 1958 but gradually, it developed into a drinking area. There was also a time in the past when the Yakuza set the area on fire for developmental reasons but it was only the Golden Gai which survived.
You can reach this area by walking a few minutes from the East Exit of Shinjuku Station. This is a narrow place with buildings close to each other that they almost touch. However, there has been a recent development done to make it more appealing to tourists during the latter half of the 20th century. Street plans have been changed to create much wider roads and larger buildings.
There are over 200 bars and eateries crammed in this tiny space. The place may look narrow and a little shabby but this is not a cheap place to drink. There are lots of well-off personalities who are attracted to this place. Most of the bars are two-storeys. Every bar is so small that it can only accommodate up to 5 customers at a time. This is quite an adventurous place in Tokyo!
To soothe the mood of clients, every bar has its own theme, such as jazz, flamenco, hip-hop and karaoke. Most of these bars open only from 9 PM onward. Expect the area to be quiet during the daytime.
If you’re up for some comedy shows, you better go along the alley till you reach one of Golden Gai’s tiny corners. There you’ll find a small space where the best comedies are shown.