Touring Tokyo at Night? Here’s What You Need to Know

Tourists, as of writing, are unable to travel to Japan. Even though the 2020 Summer Olympics is set to happen next month, there’s no telling when the country will open up to foreign travelers.

If you want to visit Tokyo, Japan, you’re going to have to wait like everybody else. While you’re waiting, you might as well plan what you’re going to do once you arrive at the capital.

When planning your trip itinerary, don’t simply write down what you’re going to do during the day. Think about what you’re going to do when you tour Tokyo at night. The city has a different vibe after the sun goes down.

How Safe is Tokyo at Night?

Before we recommend the things to do and places to see in Tokyo at night, let’s first answer this question: is this city safe to explore at night?

The answer is yes. The streets of Tokyo at night are generally safe to walk around, and visitors experience minimal (if any) trouble from the locals.

So why is Tokyo, Japan safe at night?

Here are a few possible reasons:

Plenty of Police Presence

Police stations aren’t widespread in Japan, but kōban are. This Japanese term refers to a makeshift police area that often includes one room, a desk and chairs. Given that they’re so easy to build, you can find kōban all over a city.

Kōban police areas go beyond reducing crime in a city. They’re also handy for reporting any suspicious behavior you witnessed and getting directions in case you lose your way in the city.

ATMs Are Inside Buildings

You are unlikely to find an outdoor ATM in Japan. You can find these machines in banks and other buildings. If you need to withdraw money from your travel fund, you could do that safely and discreetly in Tokyo at night.

Strict Immigration Rules

The strict immigration laws of Japan limit the outsiders who can get into the country. This has enabled the country to maintain Japanese beliefs and values that keep both locals and foreigners safe.

What to Do in Tokyo at Night

Tokyo is incredibly vibrant at night. This thriving metropolitan city never sleeps. If you’re looking to explore downtown Tokyo at night or any area of the capital, you’ll realize two things: there’s always something to do and there’s never a dull moment.

When planning your Tokyo, Japan trip itinerary, include these activities in your to-do list:

Visit Sensoji Temple

Photo by hans-johnson via Flickr Creative Commons

Japanese shrines and temples are teeming with locals and tourists during the day. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, consider visiting these tourist attractions at night.

Take Sensoji Temple as an example. This temple becomes a completely different universe at night. The famous five-story pagoda and the gates that guard the temple light up, enchanting the place in a unique way. The experience of walking through a sacred (and now quiet) place is meditative and calm.

Sing Your Heart Out at Japanese-style Karaoke

One of the popular activities that you can do in Tokyo at night is to sing at a karaoke bar. Unlike the western counterpart wherein you need to stand in front of strangers (and possibly endure public humiliation), Japanese-style karaoke is much more private. You could rent a room that accommodates a few people or rent out a single-person booth.

Here’s the best part: the majority of karaoke places in Tokyo are open 24 hours. If you want, you could sing all night long.

Relax in a Traditional Japanese Hot Spring (Onsen or Sento)

Exploring the capital during the day can be tiresome. If you’re free and have nothing to do in Tokyo at night, why not relax in a hot spring?

Japan is a volcanically active country. This means that you’ll find numerous hot springs scattered throughout the country.

Tokyo has many onsen or sento facilities. If you’re going to relax at a Japanese hot spring, take note that guests are expected to be fully nude when bathing. This may sound strange from a western point of view, but this is completely normal in Japan.

One more thing: people with tattoos cannot enter a sento or an onsen. If you have a tattoo, you’ll need to look for something else to do.

Where to Go in Tokyo at Night

Looking for the best places to experience nightlife in Tokyo? Check out these top spots:

Shibuya

Photo by Bruce Baker via Flickr Creative Commons

This Tokyo nightlife destination is particularly popular with young people. Shibuya has a fantastic selection of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and entertainment to keep you partying until the sun rises.

Also, shops in Shibuya stay open quite late. If you’re looking to do some late-night shopping in Tokyo at Night, you could hit up malls like Shibuya 109.

Roppongi

This nightlife district is popular with foreigners. Roppongi is an expensive area with many high-class restaurants and bars. It’s packed with dive bars, strip joints, upscale bars and dance clubs. If you’re looking to let loose and mingle with people in Tokyo at night, Roppongi is the place for you.

Ginza

Ginza is the best place to experience upscale and sophisticated nightlife in Tokyo. This district is the place for you if you prefer to enjoy high-class bars and fine dining.

If you want to see neon in Tokyo at night, Ginza is also a great place. You’ll find streets transformed into a light show after dark as the clubs and bars begin to open their doors.

When you visit (or revisit) Japan, make sure you have plans to explore Tokyo at night. This city is awake all day (and night) long, so don’t hesitate to check out the beauty of the capital after the sun sets.

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