Where to Party in Tokyo? A Complete Nightlife Guide.

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars)
So you've just arrived in Tokyo? You've checked into your room and you were finally able to connect to the Wifi? Now, you must be wondering, “Where should I go for partying?” and “How to meet a nice Japanese girl”.

You are reading the right guide. I'm a French expat, single, and I have been living in Tokyo for 3 years. I will tell you where the best party districts are located, the best bars and the best nightclubs. I'll also share some tips to those of you who want to meet Japanese girls.

So let’s dive right into it! Let’s start with the most famous nightlife areas of Tokyo


Nightlife Areas - Where to Party?

Roppongi 
Roppongi, 六本木, literally “six trees”, is well-known as the city’s most popular nightlife district for foreigners (or "gaijin"). If you don’t speak Japanese, this is definitely where you should go first. Japanese in Roppongi are more open-minded towards expats or tourists, and you'll have more chances to bump into English speakers.

The most famous clubs in Roppongi are AlifeV2New LexGas Panic and ELE. All of them have mostly commercial, mainstream music (Top 40, EDM, Hip-Hop).

Roppongi can be reached by the Hibiya and Oedo Subway Lines (Roppongi Station) and the Nanboku Subway Line (Roppongi-Icchome Station). Actually, it is not too expensive to sleep there, so you should really consider choosing a hotel in this area.

Most Recommended Hotels in Roppongi Near the Nightlife:
Candeo Hotels Roppongi (rated 9/10 - About 130$ per night): New hotel, comfortable, ideal position for clubbers, affordable price, near the subway.
Remm Roppongi (rated 9/10 - About 115$ per night): Conveniently located next to Roppongi station, great price, rooms a bit small.

Shibuya
Shibuya (渋谷区) is probably one of the most iconic areas of the city. Any trip to Tokyo should include a visit there, and particularly to the famous Shibuya Crossing. It’s a major commercial, shopping and business center, served by two enormous railway stations.

It is also a great nightlife area, where you'll find many of Tokyo's hippest clubs and bars. Compared with Roppongi, it is more popular among Japanese trendy youngsters.

Within Shibuya, the most popular venues are Womb (EDM, techno), Contact (Techno), Camelot (All Music), Sound Museum Vision (All Music), Atom (All Music), TK Shibuya (All Music) and Harlem (Hip Hop, Rn'B, Old School).

Most Recommended Hotel in Shibuya Near the Nightlife:
Excel Hotel Shibuya (rated 8.4/10 - About 350$ per night): Business hotel, great location in Shibuya walking distance to bars and restaurants, fantastic view from the upper floors.

Shinjuku
Shinjuku, 新宿, the world’s busiest railway station, is handling more than two million passengers every day! Try Golden Gai, a network of several alleys packed with tiny bars, each with an original style. It is packed with an alternative crowd of artists and students.  The Robot Restaurant is also a must-see.

Nearby, you will find Kabukicho, Japan’s largest and wildest red light district! I will give more information about it at the end of this review.

Most Recommended Hotel in Shinjuku Near the Nightlife:
APA Hotel and Resort (rated 9.2/10 - About 100$ per night): New property, next to the red light district of Kabuchiko, low price.

Azabu
Azabu, 麻布, Tokyo’s most expensive and upscale residential district, is home to many actors, singers, businessmen, and celebrities. If you have a more refined taste, enjoy high-end venues and have deep pockets, here is where you should hang out. It's also where I like to bring dates that I want to impress. 

My 10 Best Clubs and Bars in Tokyo

Contact
If you are a techno head like me, then this is where you should go to attend the best events in town. Recent famous international DJs who mixed there include Ben UFO, Pan-Pot, Laurent Garnier, Ame, and Dubfire. If these names mean anything to you, then you know what kind of club I’m talking about. It is only 100 meters from the Shibuya subway station. Prices: ¥1,500 entrance fee during the week and up to ¥4,000 for special events.

Facebook: Contact Tokyo

Womb
Also in Shibuya, this is probably the most renowned clubs in Tokyo. It is huge, with a capacity for 1,000 clubbers spread across four floors! They host daily special events, with different genres of music (Trance, EDM, Techno, Drum and Bass, Hip-Hop - mostly good quality) in each room.

Backpackers and tourists love it, and also the Japanese girls hunting them. On weekends, it is very likely that an international DJ will play there. Prices: Between ¥1,000 (with flyer, weekdays) and ¥4,000 (special DJ).

Website: Womb Tokyo

TK Shibuya
TK Shibuya (previously known as T2) is one of the most popular and largest clubs in Shibuya. It is a hit with the young EDM crowd, partly because of the cheap entrance fee and drinks. Mostly frequented by Japanese (not many foreigners), you can still have an enjoyable time as the atmosphere is friendly. The lights and the sound system are awesome! Don't miss the sexy pole dancers!

Website: TK Shibuya

AgeHa
Located about 30 minutes from Shibuya, on the artificial island of Odaiba, Ageha is Japan’s biggest nightclub. You should go there only during special events otherwise it will probably feel empty. Music is mostly EDM, with sometimes Korean pop, Hip Hop, and Techno. A free shuttle can pick you up every 30 minutes from Shibuya.

Website: AgeHa

ELE Tokyo
Located in the Roppongi area, ELE Tokyo is a very commercial nightclub with the usual EDM music, pole dancers, and bottle service. I would not recommend it normally, but I must admit girls are particularly hot there. For guys, the entrance fee varies between ¥2,000 and ¥3,000 depending on the day of the week (For ladies, it is FREE). It's better to visit with a group and order a VIP package as single guys are not treated very well. The same group also owns V2 and The Villa.

Website: ELE Tokyo

Muse
Just 10 minutes from Roppongi Station, this is a popular club among older foreigners (35+). The reason: It's rather easy to meet Japanese girls, albeit many are actually professionals. Free entrance for girls, ¥3,500 for guys with 2 drinks. The music is a mix of everything famous. Open only from Thursday to Saturday.

Website: Muse

1 OAK
1 OAK, for 1 Of A Kind, is the first Asian branch of a famous NY nightclub. It has made a reputation as the place to party for the world’s biggest celebrities and for its decadent hip-hop parties. The club is high-end, so naturally, it isn’t cheap, Expect to pay ¥4,000 on regular nights and ¥5,000 for special events.

Website: 1 OAK Tokyo

HUB 
The most popular chain of English pubs in Japan (more than 52 locations!). Relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere. The HUBs in Shibuya/Roppongi/Shinjuku are the most famous branches.

What really makes them attractive are the value-for-money drinks and food. They tend to be really busy on the weekends from 8 PM to 2 AM. Perfect for meeting people over a fresh pint of beer and some chicken wings. The crowd is a fair mix of young 20–30 years old foreigners (including English teachers) and Japanese.

Website: HUB

Bridge DJ Bar Shibuya
Bridge is an intimate restaurant/bar/nightclub just around the corner of the Shibuya Crossing! It can be a bit hard to find because you need to take a lift with no clear indication of where to go. Once you get there, you will be rewarded with an awesome view of the Shibuya Crossing and a great selection of cocktails. DJs usually play deep house and electro. The crowd and staff are fairly international so no need to be a fluent Japanese speaker to have fun there. No entrance fee. A beer costs around ¥700 and a cocktail ¥1,300.

Website: Bridge Nightclub Shibuya

Gas Panic
Located in Shibuya (the Roppongi branch has closed), this bar is an institution in Tokyo. It is often called a meat-market because it is packed to the rafters with mostly horny guys (and girls, to a lesser extent). Drinks are cheap (under ¥300 before 10 PM) and music is commercial Top 40/Rn'B.

Website: Gaspanic

After Hour Nightclubs
Some late-night clubs and bars in Tokyo that stay open until morning are:

Oath
Underground style, techno music. Close at 8 AM on weekends and 5 AM during the week.

Website: Oath Bar

Odeon
In Roppongi, friendly boutique club with reasonable prices and an international crowd. All kinds of music played. Open until 11 AM.

Website: Odeon Tokyo

Prostitution in Tokyo
Prostitution in Tokyo can take many forms: Hostess bars, cabaret clubs (Kyabakura), erotic massages (soapland), karaokes and strip clubs. Among all of these, only the massage parlors officially sell sexual services. The other ones merely connect you with prostitutes, with whom you can then negotiate a price for sex. A website like Erolin can help you understand the system, from a foreign perspective.

Kabukicho, Ikebukoro and Roppongi are the most famous red-light areas of Tokyo. There, the venues are not hidden, on the contrary. As you walk on the streets, you will be given flyers by some of the staff to try to lure you in.

Generally-speaking, you should be careful before entering random places, especially if you don't speak any Japanese. You can get scammed easily, for instead by having to pay hidden fees (membership fee, joiner fees, etc). Make everything clear from the beginning, if necessary by helping you with an online translator.

If you go into a girls' bar or hostess club, you can expect to pay anything between ¥10,000 and ¥100,000. For this price, all you get is to sit in a small room and chat with a cute girl for a few hours. You may get free-flow alcohol in the cheapest ones. Otherwise, drinks can be prohibitively expensive, costing up to 10 times what you would pay in a normal club (and still, you must add a 40% service charge).

Recommended hostess clubs are those of the Chick Group, like Chick Ginza or Chick Roppongi. Bars with no English-speaking ladies will often refuse entry to foreigners.

If you want something more straightforward, then you'll have to go to a "soapland". Most are in Yoshiwara, in the northeast of the city, or in Kawasaki, in the southwest. Again, only a few accept foreigners, for instance, Makeup, Paradise, Satin Doll, Kadoebi or Chateau Petrus. The price range for 2 hours is between ¥15,000 and ¥35,000.

Strip Clubs and Gentlemen's Clubs often feature foreign girls (Russian, Southeast Asian). The famous ones are Seventh Heaven and Tantra.

Off the street, you also have a huge online escort scene that targets mainly Japanese customers. A few websites are foreigner-friendly, you can find them easily on Google. The most famous (and probably the most expensive) is the sugar daddy website Universe Club. A better and cheaper alternative, in my opinion, is SeekingArrangement.

How to Meet Japanese Girls in Tokyo
Personally, I am not a client of prostitutes. I think it is useless as it is relatively easy to meet Japanese girls and engage in actual relationships with them.

One obvious option is Tinder.

This is how I got 80% of my Japanese dates. The most positive about this dating app is that most of its users have a fair level of English. However, on the negative side, you need time to make some progress in the relationship. 2 weeks is a minimum before you can gain a girl's trust and hang out with her in real life. For tourists, you are almost guaranteed to fail using Tinder.

A good alternative, especially for guys above 30, is to plan your trip ahead using Japan Cupid. Girls on this website tend to be a bit older (25-40) and they are generally looking for foreigners who want to marry. They won't mind if you are not physically in Japan when chatting. You can subscribe to the site a month before going to Tokyo and arrange all your dates even before arriving.

Picking up Japanese girls in clubs is possible, especially in areas like Roppongi. But this will be a hard grind because even if it’s the most famous nightlife district for foreigners, English speaking girls are still not the majority. You'll need to be lucky, confident, and particularly handsome. Good luck with that. To be honest, you have more chances hitting on foreign girls than Japanese ones.

Drugs in Japan
I recommend you to avoid consuming or obtaining drugs while traveling to Japan. Drugs aren’t very common in Japan so they are expensive and hard to find. Japan also has some of the toughest drug laws in the developed world. If you get caught using and dealing drugs the sentences are arch, usually several years in prison.

While Japanese rarely take drugs, they tend to drink very heavily, often to the point of passing out.

General Tips About Tokyo Nightlife

Dress Code:
Surprisingly, it's not that strict. Still, I recommend wearing at least a pair of jeans with a collared shirt. If you have tattoos, it may be better to hide them.

ID:
You'll need to show a valid ID to enter most clubs. Photocopies are rarely accepted, but you can bring a driver's license.

In nightclubs, you need to be 20 to enter. Bars generally don't care, unless you really look 14.

Best Time to Go to Nightclubs:
Friday and Saturday from 2 AM to 5 AM. There are often discounts if you arrive before 12 AM, or on weekdays.

Prices:
They vary a lot, but overall expensive of course. Before midnight, you'll pay ¥1,000 on average for an entrance fee. After midnight, it will be from ¥2,500 to ¥4,500 for the best clubs. On special events, expect to spend even a little bit more. Girls almost always pay less (from ¥0 to ¥2,500).

A standard drink will cost you between ¥700 to ¥1,200.

Bring cash as many venues don't accept cards.

Going Around:
Forget Uber (they don't have a license to operate as they do in Europe). Taxis cost about 4-5$ per kilometer, with a 20% surcharge from 10 PM to 5 AM.

Note that most trains and buses stop working shortly after midnight. They start again in the morning around 5.30 AM, so what most people do is just party until then. You can also hang out in a McDonald's or a 24-hour internet café.

That said, I would really recommend you to choose one of the hotels I mentioned before. They are walking distance from clubs so you'll save money and time.

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