We all go through it when you are new to a country or city and you don’t know the best places to visit or what to do during your spare time. Now it is Friday night, you just got home after a long day of work, school, sightseeing or doing the bare minimum, and you want to do something fun alone or with friends but you can’t figure out what. Luckily, as I have been living in Tokyo for over 5 months I have a fair share of ideas that might be of interest for you. A nice side note is that all Come on Up share houses are located relatively close to the city centre, meaning that you can easily work down this list in your spare time.
1. Japanese Izakaya
New to Japan or not, you most likely will hear the term ‘’izakaya’’ quite often. This term simply means ‘’a place where they sell alcohol and serve food’’. However, most foreigners would refer to izakaya as a Japanese style hub. There are thousands of izakaya spread throughout Tokyo and some even offer an all you can eat or all you can drink menu for a bargain price. These are some of the most popular izakaya around Tokyo.
- Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho (also known as the Piss Ally or Memory Lane) this is a small alley with several small izayaka where you can enjoy a cosy atmosphere and escape Shinjuku’s modern fast life.
- Gonpachi (also known as the Kill Bill restaurant) there are several locations such as Ginza, Shibuya and Asakusa.
- Robata Izakaya Jomon in Roppongi is one of the best Robota (grilled food) izakaya in town, definitely worth a visit.
Tokyo has the highest number of Michelin star restaurants worldwide (234 restaurants). In these high quality (but also relatively pricey) restaurants you can enjoy foods such as: Teppanyaki, Shabu-Shabu, Tempura, Sukiyaki and Sushi. However, Tokyo isn’t only full of fancy restaurants it has more than enough smaller more local restaurants with just as high quality but for a lower price. Either way you are sure to have a great meal while enjoying great atmospheres.
- Joël Robuchon ジョエル・ロブション – ¥¥¥¥ A French-styled 3 Michelin star restaurant located in Ebisu. It has a frequently changing menu and provides a classic and comfortable atmosphere. If you feel like having a French-style fancy dinner than this is the place to go.
- Haciendo del Cielo – ¥¥-¥¥¥ A Spanish-styled restaurant located in Daikanyama. The restaurant is located on the 9th floor providing its guests with a beautiful view of the skyline in Tokyo. You can both choose to sit outside and enjoy the weather or sit inside and enjoy the warm atmosphere combined with Latin music.
- Sushiro スシロ – ¥ A sushi chain restaurant with multiple locations in Tokyo with Ikebukuro being my favourite. Each table works with a tablet on which you can order your items followed by your food being delivered to you on a conveyer belt. It is the right place to go whether you eat alone or with friends.
3. Bar and Cafe’s
After enjoying a meal or 3 its a nice feeling to relax while having a drink in your hand whether its apple juice or fine wine. Luckily just like izakaya there are hundreds of nice bars and cafes in Tokyo. These are my top 3 recommendations for bars
- Rigoletto Roppongi Hills ¥¥-¥¥¥ A beautiful semi casual bar / restaurant with a calming and romantic atmosphere. There is pleasant music and an amazing view on the skyline of Tokyo where you can see you Tokyo tower. I definitely recommend to enjoy this view at night.
- Hub ¥-¥¥ A chain of pubs spread throughout Tokyo. The hub is know for its national vibes. It is the perfect place to meet new people and make great friends. They have a very nice menu of drinks but also several small dishes that you can enjoy.
- Shinjuku Golden Gai ¥-¥¥¥ The Golden Gai is a small alley with tons of small bars, which seem to be built into small houses. It is very touristic place and there are bars for all prices and atmospheres.
Who doesn’t like a good night of karaoke? Tokyo is overflowing of random karaoke bars here and there. The karaoke culture within Japan is huge. It is great as night out with your friends but if you don’t have friends don’t fear! Some bars offer company staff that will sing and clap along while you are having the time of your life. Usually karaoke bars also offer costumes making it an even more adventurous experience.
Last but not least clubs! The clubbing scene in Japan is completely different from what I am used to back home in the Netherlands. However this does not take away that its an entertaining night out in the nightclubs of Tokyo! Shibuya and Roppongi are the most popular locations to go clubbing during the weekend. These are the top 3 clubs in these areas according to us.
- Alife Roppongi A huge and international club . It has 3 floors with each a different genre of music. You can enjoy edm, urban and pop music throughout the whole club. Compared to other clubs it is reasonably priced for the entertainment and service that is provided.
- Camelot Shibuya This club is similar to Alife with music and service. However Camelot is fairly smaller and only has 2 floors but 3 dance floors. Usually ladies get in for free!
- Club Womb Shibuya A world famous club where lots of big DJ’s play. According to locals the usual genre of music is tech-house and drum and base, however this differs per event. There are 4 floors to party on and reasonable prices for drinks.
Go and try these out and let us know in the comments what you think of these tips or if you have any recommendations we would love to hear about them!