Shinjuku Golden Gai
1-chōme-1-6 Kabukichō, Shinjuku City, Tōkyō-to 160-0021, Japan
Shinjuku Golden Gai: Bar–HoppingGolden Gai is located a few minutes from the East exit of Shinjuku Station. Originally known to be a red light district, it changed course when prostitution became illegal in Japan in the late 50s. Today it is a cluster of creative, ramshackle bars whose owners outdo each others with outlandish interior designs and themes.
If you've hit a plateau frequenting some of the over-the-top, ultra-elegant bars that Tokyo offers, you'll enjoy the authenticity of the dives here. Not all are open to the general public, some of the bars only cater to their regulars. It's easy to pick up on that 'private' vibe quickly, when you're told there's no space, or being ignored altogether. Don't take it to heart, just move on to a place that welcome you.
We had a great time at Pearl and Albatross. The bars are so tiny, you will make friends with your bar buddies, immediately. At Pearl we were served a snack and generous, delicous Whiskey highballs. Those potent highballs made me forget what we drank at Albatross later that night...
Take your time to explore the alleys, low old buildings and bars at Golden Gai. The athmosphere of a place that hasn't bowed to the surrounding developments and highrises is unique. And of course: Kanpai – cheers and bottoms up!
My warmest thank you – domo arigato gozai masu – to the @SuntoryGlobal team, who went above and beyond, introducing me to Japan's food and drink culture. I'm forever in your debt. #SuntoryTime #SuntoryTimeTour