After-Dark in Tokyo: Best Things to Do in the World’s Biggest City at Night
With over 35 million residents, it’s only natural that the Greater Tokyo Area has plenty to do both day and night. With a profusion of late-night shops, bars, restaurants, activities, and sightseeing spots, expeditions in Tokyo don’t have to stop once the sun disappears. In fact, the darkness brings out a new side to the city, entertaining the sleepless with both typical night-time fun like clubbing and drinking alongside unexpected activities like sports, spas, and shrine hopping. Best of all, with one of the lowest crime rates in the world, Tokyo remains safe for all deep into the night. To help get your after-dark itinerary kick-started, we’ve picked out 15 of the best things to do in Tokyo at night. Night-owls, read on!
May 20 2022 (Jun 06 2022)
*Due to COVID-19, some facilities have shortened their opening hours. Check official websites for the latest information.
Get Tokyo Views
No Tokyo trip is complete without a panorama of the city’s endless urban sprawl. Fortunately, there are loads of observation decks open until late, allowing plenty of views no matter how crammed the itinerary. One of the most popular is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which opens until 11:00 pm (North Observatory) with free admission. While you won’t be able to spot as many landmarks as during the day, the infinite ocean of twinkling lights will take your breath away.
Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world, opens until 9:00 pm, with admission until 8:00 pm, so you can still catch some night panoramas from here too. Tokyo Skytree itself can be viewed from the neighboring Solamachi Dining SKYTREE VIEW, open until 11:00 pm. Tokyo Tower, another unmissable icon, opens until 11:00 pm on the “Main Deck” and 10:45 pm on the “Top Deck.” For super late-night views of Tokyo Station, “marunouchi HOUSE” in the Shin-Marunouchi Building is open until a staggering 4:00 am! There are also the following:
- Tokyo City View in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, open until 1:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Sky Lounge in the Yebisu Garden Place Tower, open until 11:00 pm.
- SKY CIRCUS Sunshine 60 Observation Deck, open until 10:00 pm.
- Observation Terrace in the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center, open until 10:00 pm.
- Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, open until 1:00 am.
- Odaiba Seaside Park, open 24 hrs.
Scratch That Shopping Itch
Alongside the ever-present convenience store, there are several shops open late in Tokyo, adding breathing room to your souvenir scheduling. One of the most famous is Don Quijote, a discount store stocking virtually everything one can imagine, from snacks and drinks to kitchenware and even luxury brands. Outlets like the MEGA Don Quijote in Shibuya and the whopping six Don Quijotes in Shinjuku are open 24 hrs, making them great places to see the latest trends and snap up some bargains without the daytime crowds…or just gawk at the weird stuff! There are also 24 hr Don Quijote in Roppongi, Akihabara, Asakusa, Ikebukuro, and more.
Go Bar Hopping
Naturally, the ocean of bars in Tokyo don’t get going until late, giving those looking to drink and mingle plenty of opportunity. Many are set in narrow “yokocho” alleyways, often unseen from the main streets. These hole-in-the-wall joints usually only seat a few, flaunting retro Showa era (1926–1989) vibes and an authentic, homely character.
Two of the most popular bar hopping streets in Tokyo are the tourist-friendly Golden Gai and Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku, which are great places for meeting fellow travelers, although some spots are for regulars only. For local vibes, check out the rustic Hobo Shinjuku Norengai in Shinjuku, the eccentric Ebisu Yokocho in Ebisu, the downtown Hoppy Street in Asakusa, the warm Harmonica Yokocho in Kichijoji, and the sprawling Noge in Yokohama. Most stations in Tokyo also have several bars surrounding them, so step inside and see what gems you uncover! Also, don’t forget to make a plan to get back to your accommodation after - trains in Tokyo are complex and services stop around midnight.
Get Your Club On
Clubbing is the most obvious way to enjoy a late night in any city, and Tokyo is no exception. There are dozens of clubs spread all over, with the biggest and brightest concentrations in Shibuya, Roppongi, and Ginza. Unlike most bars, clubs generally stay open well into the next morning and run on weekdays, making them a haven for party animal travelers. Some of the most popular are WARP in Shinjuku, SEL OCTAGON TOKYO, V2 TOKYO, and VILLA TOKYO in Roppongi, VISION, WOMB, CAMELOT, and ATOM TOKYO in Shibuya, Raise in Ginza, and Oak Tokyo in Azabujuban. Each boasts its own character and music style, attracting a different crowd - do some research in advance to find one that suits you. As mentioned, public transport in Tokyo winds down early, so if you’re planning to club, then booking accommodation within walking distance of a clubbing district is the best solution.
Sing at Karaoke
Outside bar hopping, karaoke is the definitive nocturnal pastime of the Japanese. Simply find a karaoke joint (you shouldn’t have any trouble with this, particularly around stations), pay for a room, and sing your favorite tunes until time’s up. Karaoke is most popular on Friday and Saturday nights, so expect to pay more and perhaps even wait for a room to open up. However, if you have a free weekday night, then prices will be cheaper and time limits more generous. While karaoke is generally done in groups, it’s perfectly acceptable to book a room for yourself too!
Practice Baseball Batting
Many of Tokyo’s night-owls frequent late-night batting centers for a calorie-burning workout and satisfying stress-reliever. Batting centers are common throughout Japan, allowing a place to practice your swing and let off steam without visiting a park or stadium. Balls will be automatically shot, with some of the more advanced systems allowing complete control over pitching style, speed, and more.
The go-to spot for insomniac baseballers is Shinjuku Batting Center, just a 10 min walk from Shinjuku Station. It’s open until 4:00 am, and costs 3,000 yen for 12 rounds. There is also the Asakusa Batting Stadium just a brief walk from Asakusa Station, which is open until 1:00 am. This latter establishment is quite advanced, and offers single games for just 400 yen if you don’t wish to stay long. You can also hone your pitching skills through several fun throwing games with prizes.
Better Your Bowling
If you’re still raring to go, then one of Tokyo’s late-night bowling alleys should be your next stop. Shinjuku Copabowl, just a 5 min walk from Shinjuku Station, is open until 6:30 am on weekdays and even longer on Fridays and weekends. The venue has a surreal, futuristic vibe with lively music and black-light flooring. There’s also table tennis, darts, alcoholic drinks, and food, making it a great base for the entire night. Others include Sasazuka Bowl in Shibuya and Heiwajima Star Bowl in Heiwajima, which both open until 5:00 am, along with the 24 hr Hyper Lane in Ikebukuro. There is also the iconic Round One, which is open 24 hrs with locations all throughout Tokyo. Bowling in Japan is generally on the cheap side, costing between 500-800 yen per game.
See a Magic Show
If simply drinking seems a tad dull, enchant your evening by visiting one of Tokyo’s magic bars. Many of these bars boast surreal, otherworldly vibes, with talented bartenders entertaining with jaw-dropping tricks or professional magicians performing in spectacular shows. One such establishment is Tejinaya Magic Bar in Kabukicho, which hosts an extravagant lineup of magicians open until 4:00 am. There’s also TOTO's Bar in Ginza until 3:00 am (weekdays), Magic Bar Surprise in Akasaka until 1:00 am (weekdays), and the casual Magic Shima in Ueno open until 2:00 am. While the bars open late, shows start at different intervals, so look up the schedule in advance to better time your visit.
Soak in a Spa
Traveling takes its toll, and there’s no better place to wash away fatigue than a spa. Thankfully, Tokyo is dotted by numerous luxury and well-priced spa facilities open late into the night. These spacious shared baths are often complemented by saunas, lounges, massage services, and even casual dining for maximum relaxation. They’re great places to warm up and wind down, especially during the frigid winter months. Some are even 24 hr, so you don’t have to concern yourself with time. Renowned late-night Tokyo spas include Raku Spa in Kanda (until 8:00 am), LaQua in Korakuen (until 9:00 am), Asakusa ROX Matsuri-Yu in Asakusa (until 9:00 am, except Sundays) and the 24 hr Thermae-Yu next to Shinjuku Golden Gai. They also come with handy amenities like towels, indoor clothes, and shampoo, with free wi-fi and a place to charge up the phone. Keep in mind that some are men/women only.
Walk the Rainbow Bridge
The iconic Rainbow Bridge connects Shibaura Pier and Odaiba in the north of Tokyo Bay. The 798 m suspension bridge is most known for its colorful solar-powered lights, illuminating it from sundown to midnight. Viewing spots are plentiful, including up-close at Shibaura Minami Futo Park and Daiba Park, or the all-encompassing, sweeping view from Harumi Wharf Park. Along with cars and trains, there are also walkways on the bridge for pedestrians, crossable in roughly 25 mins. The walkways are open until 9 pm in summer and 6 pm in winter, but entry is closed 30 mins before, so don’t turn up on the dot. The scene from the bridge is equally impressive, with views of Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Harbor, and Roppongi on the north route, and Odaiba and Shinagawa on the south. The closest station to the Rainbow Bridge walkways is Shibaura-futo Station on the Yurikamome Line.
Revel in Stunning Garden Light Ups
Many gardens throughout Tokyo host after-dark illumination festivals, allowing their beauty to be rediscovered in a new hue. These are largely seasonal, often taking place to celebrate the cherry blossoms of spring and foliage of autumn. Some of the most riveting springtime light-ups include those at Tokyo Midtown, Meguro River, Rikugien Gardens, Chidorigafuchi Park, and Ueno Park, which run during the peak cherry blossom season of late March/early April. Popular fall festivals are held at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, Happo-en, Otaguro Park, and Mejiro Garden. Most of these events usually wrap up around 9:00 pm, so it’s best to make them the first stop on your Tokyo night-time itinerary. Outside these periods, gardens and parks are generally not lit-up in Tokyo, however, many are still open, so feel free to take a midnight stroll amongst the tranquil darkness.
Recharge With Late-Night Food
Pulling an all-nighter in Tokyo, you’ll inevitably start to feel a bit peckish. Luckily, Tokyo is packed with late-night food options catered towards midnight cravings, serving up delicious local dishes at affordable prices. Many specialize in ramen, seafood, and fried food like "yakitori," which are the ultimate pick-me-ups for an active night out. Also tempting are the omnipresent “donburi” beef bowl joints, which sit upon virtually every corner of central Tokyo. Popular chains include Yoshinoya, Sukiya, and Matsuya, many of which are open late or 24 hrs and specialize in hearty, nourishing meals to help cure hangovers. If you don’t want to visit a restaurant, convenience store food is a worthy alternative, with affordable bento boxes available all night heated up on the spot by staff.
Relish After-Dark Coffee
If you don’t want to waste your precious time in Tokyo, then a stop-over at a late-night cafe is the perfect remedy for oncoming sleepiness. There are plenty of options offering a sanctuary of peace and caffeine amongst the midnight madness. Popular choices include Frames in Nakameguro, open until 4:00 am on weekends, Udagawa Cafe and Cafe Bohemia in Shibuya, both open until 5:00 am, Bowery Kitchen in Komazawa, open until 3:00 am, Bondi Cafe in Hiroo, open until 2:00 am, and the 24 hr Coffee Aristocrat Edinburgh in Shinjuku. While once lacking in decent coffee, Tokyo has wholly embraced authentic cafe culture, with loads of trendy, jazzy spots to sip on an artisan espresso with a book while chatting to the locals.
While Buddhist temples are often shut by the late afternoon, most Shinto shrines welcome the public all night long, giving travelers time to see as many as they please. Popular shrines are often illuminated after sunset, such as Kanda Shrine in Chiyoda, Akagi Shrine and Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku, and Tomioka Hachiman Shrine in Tomioka.
Plus, some renowned Buddhist temples are also illuminated after dark, such as the world-famous Senso-ji in Asakusa, which radiates magnificently until 11:00 pm. Many of these Tokyo shrines and temples are extremely crowded during the daytime, making the night a better time to absorb their spirituality without distraction. Just keep in mind that some of the more popular shrines will close around sunset, such as Meiji Jingu, so plan your itinerary accordingly.
Rest at a Manga Cafe
Once you’ve had enough drinking, dancing, bathing, playing, and sightseeing, it’s time to settle down. However, trains in Tokyo don’t start until 5:00 am, and even if you book a hotel, check in won’t open until around 3:00 pm! Your saviour in times like these is the humble “manga cafe,” which open 24 hrs and are fitted with private booths, refreshments, internet, showers, and enough manga to last a lifetime. Many also have computers, making them a great spot to work or surf the web. Best of all, they’re extremely cheap, with most offering stays of 3 hours or so for just over 1,000 yen.
While you’ll need to register yourself at the front desk, the process is mostly painless with some basic Japanese. Manga cafes are everywhere in Tokyo, with the largest concentrations around central train stations like Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. Some will even use them as their main form of accommodation, however, while booths are often big enough to lie down in, they are far from comfortable. For a proper bed late at night, opting for one of Tokyo’s infamous yet surprisingly comfortable love hotels is a better solution.
Tokyo Nightlife Unveiled
While there’s loads to do in the day, experiencing the full charm of Tokyo requires one or two all-nighters. From heart-racing activities like clubbing, drinking, karaoke, and sports, to blissful leisure like spa treatments, local dining, and catching up on the latest manga, Tokyo never stops being the world’s most fun city, no matter the time!
Top picture: Page Light Studios / Shutterstock.com
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.