SACRED PLACE OF THE MUSIC Shinjuku Kabukicho

A small "town" where until sunrise, precious experiences
can be had at bars reminiscent of the good old days.

1-1 Kabukicho, a small block next to Hanazono shrine which used to be known for it's black market. The black market was originally located in the area east of Shinjuku station after WW2, but it had to be moved elsewhere due to government crack-down in around 1950.
It was moved to where the Tokyo tram used to run, the site of which is now a promnade called "seasons' path". At the time, shops running illegal prostitution services were lined up side by side, and as a result the area was often referred to as a "blue line" district. After the Anti-Prostitution Act (1958) was put into action, previous operations ceased and became a strictly a bar business area, and the area was renamed "Golden Gai". During the preperations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Golden Gai faced the threat of complete abolition due to public security measures. Intellectuals and journalists who cherished the area passionately fought against it, and eventually saved Golden Gai from its dissapearance, and the place still has the 50s-60s atmosphere today. Since 2000, despite the passing of generations, Shinjuku's Golden Street has, like the rest of Tokyo; kept up with the times. The number of "modern style" bars managed by younger generations has been steadily increasing, but the spirit of the place has never changed. Searching through the maze of the various bars, and finding the perfect one to fit your mood, with a great atmosphere, and an easy to get along with bartender, is one of Golden Gai's truest characteristics. There are presently around 250 bars in the area, all keeping with the 50's-60s' atmosphere, which is still to this day adored by many. A trip to Shinjuku Golden Gai promises precious experiences, and time well spent.


"Your first time in Golden Gai?" An Interview with the owner of SUZUBAR.
Golden Gai's origins lie in the black market that existed about 60 years ago. Whilst running their legitimate businesses, restaurants of the time also managed illegal prostitution operations on the side. In 1958 it's name became Golden Gai, and the place was reestablished as a unadulterated bar area. There are supposedly around 250 bars in the Golden Gai area, but no one is really sure of the actual number. No-one can or even wants to comprehend the whole of Golden Gai. This might even be one of the reasons for the area's mysterious vibe.





What would I recommend? Well…
By the bottom of your second or third pint, you're usually already having a laugh and really getting to know the bartender. However, such interaction is not limited to between you and the bartender, and also extends to the customer sitting right next to you. Anyone that just happens to be in the same bar could also easily become your cohort. There are no titles or status barriers between you and anyone else you meet at the bar, and together you simply have the time of your life. Every bar is cramped, with little room, and you'll often encounter customers who arrived before yourself, thoughtfully moving to another bar to make space for you. The night has just begun. With around 250 bars, pub crawls are Golden Gai's style, and if you can't decide where to go next, just ask the bartender, or the person next to you. Golden Gai's synonym is "Once-in-a-life-time encounter". There will always be someone around to suggest the next drinking spot, and though it might seem bewildering at First, the more you visit the more you'll get used to it. Take your time to look around, we're all willing to help you find the perfect bar. By going to your first bar, you'll find your second, and at your second, you'll find your third. Doing things this way means you'll be able to take a good walk around Golden Gai, and have a great night out.

Thanks for dropping by.
Japanese pub-crawls are unique to Japan. There are many more places to go and drink than other countries, and the word "bar hopper" has become an everyday word, with bar hoppers prevalent in all towns and cities. There's a children's song called "Come to me, hotaru" (hotaru meaning firefly), in which there's a line that goes "Come to me, ho-ho-hotaru. The water here is sweeter than there". Similar to the song, customers out drinking in Golden Gai are the bar hoppers, with Golden Gai having the temping sweet "water". No need to be shy, come and enjoy the bar hopper experience.

Daito Nakajima, SUZUBAR's Manager.

SUZUBAR
[TEL]03-5272-6100
[ADDRESS]1F, 1-1-10 Kabukicho (G1 Street)
[Entry fee]¥1,000 (No entry fee for first time customers.)
[OPEN]20:00-3:00 Mon-Sun
SUZUBAR is a bit of a rare find in Golden Gai, with most of the other bars being themed, or having something special about them. SUZUBAR is instead quite a standard bar, where you can enjoy the seasonal fruit cocktails, or enjoy being surrounded by stained glass windows.



BRIAN BAR G
[TEL]03-3209-3255
[ADDRESS]1-1-8 Kabukicho (Akarui Hanazono Ichiban Gai)
[OPEN]17:00-9:00 Mon-Sun
This is an extremely fun bar that you won't regret coming to. It's a bar with handsome and beautiful staff, welcoming you and livening up your spirits. Whether or not it's your first time in Golden Gai, you might discover something new. Please come visit us!
MISO SOUP
[ADDRESS]Hanazono Ichiban Gai
[OPEN]21:00-2:00 Wed-Mon
Right in the heart of Golden Gai, a Showa era themed bar with lively, modern girls to contrast. We serve you onigiri (rice balls), and bottomless miso soup. Our bar is always full of people in their twenties. If you're in Golden Gai, come and drop by. MISO SOUP is waiting for you!
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[TEL]03-3209-3255
[ADDRESS]1-1-6 Kabukicho (Akarui Hanazono Goban Gai)
[OPEN]17:00-5:00 Irregular holidays
Our specialities are coffee and hotdogs. We recommend coke, or our coffee based cocktail, both of which go great with hotdogs. There's a whole upstairs floor dedicated to art exhibitions, where you can relax without trouble.
Shinjuku Golden Gai Theatre.
[TEL]03-5272-3537
[ADDRESS]1F Maruha Bldg, 1-1-7 Kabukicho
[OPEN]10:00-21:30
A small theatre in the Golden Gai with plays, live music, films, lectures or other kinds of presentations. There are always various different events on.