Hi, I’m Sergio.
I’m from Spain, lived in the UK for seven years and came to Japan in 2012.
I majored in journalism in London and have been teaching English in Tokyo.
I like traveling, cycling, photography, movies, and spending time with friends.
I wrote articles about life in Japan as a foreigner and anything that I might find interesting.
Making the most out of night life in Japan
“The city that never sleeps” is a cliché expression that has been applied to numerous cities around the world, but it probably describes Tokyo better than any other place. Tokyo is the biggest metropolitan area in the world and plenty of business stay open 24h. “Salarymen” (Japanese office workers) often finish work late and entertainment districts like Shinjuku or Shibuya are bustling with people even in the small hours of the morning.
Night life still feels different in Japan than in other countries though. While in major cities like New York or London transportation runs 24 hours a day, this is not the case in Tokyo or any other city here. If you finish work late and want to go back home to sleep a few hours, you have few options but to take a taxi.
On the other hand, missing the last train on a Friday night is a good excuse to stay out till sunrise. If you’re on a date, this is a good sign that the other person is interested in you! Everyone is very aware of when their last chance to go home is, so no one truly misses the last train by accident. Take it as a hint.
If you do want to spend the night out, there are quite a few options available to you that are uniquely Japanese. First, of course, is karaoke. While in Western countries there are some karaoke places, they’re often in bars where you have to sing in front of others. Japanese karaokes have private booths where you can belt out without having to worry about your singing skills. You have a phone in the booth that you can use to order drinks.
Izakayas or Japanese-style bars are also very popular, especially among local salarymen. This is more like the bars we’re used to abroad, but they often have comfy tatami mats and private booths, so they’re more suitable for groups of friends or coworkers.
Manga cafés are a quieter option. If you just want to relax, have a coffee, and read some manga, this is an ideal place to do so. They have small but cozy booths and they are perfect for a power nap.
You haven’t truly experienced Japan if you haven’t stayed out overnight once. No matter how you want to spend the night, you will never run out of things to do, so just miss the last train (preferably on a Friday) and give it a try.