The “Golden Gai” in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Kabuki-cho is certainly an area with a distinctly peculiar atmosphere and architecture reminiscent of the past. Such nostalgic air of the area attracts many directors and producers to shoot their movies or TV dramas here. The narrow alleys are lined with over 200 shops, restaurants and bars, all small and clustered together in the cramped space. The alleys crisscross, as if to create an intricate maze. Take a walk around in the “maze” and experience the atmosphere!
The area is known to attract prominent writers and poets, people in the movie or theater industries, or manga artists, but despite what you do or who you are, it is a place where anyone can casually stop by and enjoy a drink or two. Although it is an area particular known for its nightlife, it is quite safe and it is not rare for a woman to visit just by herself.
Some of the shops may look shabby on the outside, but once you go inside, you will see that you can enjoy a drink or a meal without any worries. But, it should be noted is that it is considered a taboo to stay for a long time when its crowded and there are people waiting outside - respect the rules, and you will have no trouble!
Another thing is that all shops are quite small in size.
There is a limit to the number of people that can enter at once so going with a bunch of people may not be welcome here. Going with just two or three people would be best.
On the streets, there will be several people touting for customers, and you will most likely be stopped by one of them.
Some of them could be very friendly, but there have been reported cases of rip-offs and overcharging regarding these touts and their shops, and unsuspecting tourists may be targeted.
Stay vigilant, and just to be on the safe side, we recommend just staying away from these people over all.
In order to stay well away from trouble, we just want to mention one more thing. Taking pictures without permission is not something we can recommend. The area has a unique atmosphere and we know it's tempting to snap some photos for your Instagram. But this is an area famous for its nightlife, and some people just do not like pictures of themselves or their shops taken without their permission. To stay away from any unnecessary trouble, we think it’s best if you simply capture these moments with your mind, and not with your camera.
|Shinjuku Golden Gai|
|1-1-6, kabukicyo, shinjuku-ku, Tokyo|
|5 minutes walk from “Shinjuku Sanchome” station|