Ohh Friday… so nice to have you around again! I’m hoping to have a quiet one this weekend, because quite honestly, I’m exhausted, but let’s have a bit of weekend party inspiration anyway for everyone else who’s still full of beans after the week we’ve just had! Shinjuku’s Golden Gai district was recommended to us by some lovely American ladies we met on our Kagurazaka walking tour, and those ladies were spot on.
A few minutes walk from Shinjuku station and you’re transported to a completely different world; in stark contrast to the big shiny buildings and modern shopping malls, Golden Gai is comprised of 6 teeny tiny alleyways full of even tinier bars (most only a few feet wide) that remain as a testament to the good old days.
Tokyo’s been hit by hard times – war, earthquakes, fires, and almost worst of all, re-development. The new friend we made at the bar we decided on, coincidentally a city planner, told us that the Golden Gai was pretty much the only area left in Tokyo that’s still as it was back in the 1960’s.
Turns out it was also a pretty big area for artists and eccentrics not so long ago, with many painters, musicians and actors calling the area home. Now, this dicey looking area still attracts the artsy scene, as well as businessmen and celebrities and a few adventurous tourists and just every day folk just wanting a drink.
Most places have a cover charge in place, a few have English menus, and some even serve food. The one thing they all have in common is that they are tiny – the one we stopped in at seated maybe 10 people, and we were all but sitting on each others’ laps by the end of the night!
But our bar tender was such a great guy, we made some new friends who couldn’t have been friendlier or tried harder to speak English with us, and we had a fantastic night! When you visit Tokyo, make it a priority to spend a night in the Golden Gai!