An essential part of The Dragon Trip is accessing Tokyo’s culturally rich and ever-evolving nightlife – and letting your adventure leaders (the Japan travel experts) take you to the city’s most interesting night-spots. Here’s our guide to Tokyo nightlife to help you find the city’s best bars and discover the stories behind them.
First things first, here’s some context: just after the Second World War, the price of beer skyrocketed to such an extent that the Japanese created a substitute called “Hoppy.” In the city’s izakayas (pubs) the locals would mix a shot of “shochu” (distilled spirits) with the “Hoppy” and created their own beer. This is a culture where innovation and hedonism go hand in hand. If they were able to do this when times were tough, then imagine how dynamic and exciting the Tokyo nightlife is now times are booming.
Craft beer has been exploding around the world in recent times and Japan is no exception with a growing army of hipsters adding ultra-trendy joints to the city. The best of these combine the uniqueness of Japan with a modern twist such as the uber-cool Baird Beer.
This Harajuku taproom has been open since 2009 and mixes the izakaya style pubs of the Japanese tradition with the crafty revolution. They claim to infuse the thoughtful dignity and generosity of Japanese culture into the DNA of their beer. We can’t really comment on that but we can tell you that it tastes fantastic.
Japan and Scotland have recently been discussing their political and cultural ties and one thing that binds these two nations together is their mutual adoration of whisky. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the new Tokyo Whisky Library– a classy haunt designed to appeal to scotch, bourbon and rye lovers everywhere. The walls are adorned with bottles upon bottles of the stuff from a whole range of places including a vast selection from Japan. It’s not cheap but it’s certainly classy and a great place to feel immersed in the world of whiskies.
Our hostel is located in the beating heart of Tokyo’s most electric nightlife destination: Shinjuku. You can wander amidst the labyrinth of bars in the Golden Gai area and sample delicious drinks in tiny, carved out bars with elaborate décor. One favourite of The Dragon Trip is Albatross. It’s a two-storey establishment with a range of cocktails on the menu. If it’s not to your taste, then you won’t have to go far to discover somewhere that is as there’s an astonishing number of bars per square mile in this district.
All these places may well end up leading to one place for the final hurrah and that place is Roppongi. There’s a whole host of potential night-ending hotspots to dance the night away. Our Japan travel experts will give you the low down on what’s currently the place to go.
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