As the sun falls beyond the skyscrapers and darkness creeps through the streets, a spectacular sea of light washes through the city transforming Tokyo into a twinkling gem. With towering observation decks, restaurants sporting incredible vantage points, vibrant nightlife, helicopter rides and boat cruises all on offer, narrowing down the best ways to indulge in Tokyo by night is an unenviable task. If you’re looking for a wide spread of culture, views, bustle and neon madness, here are five ideas to send you off into the night.
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Five Ways to Enjoy Tokyo by Night
The familiar glow of neon signage, towering buildings and the flow of footsteps on the sidewalks all around will no doubt remind you that this is an incredibly lively and vibrant place. Hailed as the world’s busiest transport hub with an incredible 3.64 million people per day passing through, the Shinjuku Station area is a spectacle that comes alive at night.
The Metropolitan Government Building
Just a 15 minute walk from Shinjuku is one of the city’s best spots to soak up the skyline. Although both Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree tower above the government building, what it lacks in height it more than makes up for in other areas. At 202 metres above the city, the two observations decks are both free to access and away from the masses, providing sweeping views across this sprawling metropolis that truly highlight its colossal size. The building itself is iconic and symbolic of the city, first being cast into the public eye back in 1991 in the film Godzilla.
Wander the Bay
Collecting solar energy during the day and illuminating in a wealth of colours by night, the Rainbow Bridge connects Tokyo Bay with the waterfront area of Minato. Home to eight traffic lanes, two train lines and a number of observation towers, there are several walkways across the bridge offering up views of the bay, and on a clear day, Mount Fuji. The lighting display changes seasonally, offering up cooler hues in the summer and warming shades in the winter. Take an evening to amble along the banks of the bay or book onto a yakatabune boat for a more refined experience taking in the sights and sounds of Tokyo, passing the city’s major landmarks along the way.
Sing Your Heart Out
No evening spent in Tokyo would be complete without participating in the local nightlife. And whilst many chose to dine in robot restaurants, drink local spirits amid the Golden Gai or even take to the dancefloor in one of Rapongi’s many clubs – karaoke is our activity of choice. You’d not be alone in thinking that karaoke is obviously considered some kind of national sport in Japan, as for locals, whether you’re old, young, a businessman or a group of school friends – you know how to rock the mic right. You’ll find books jam packed with thousands of songs, many of which are in English, and you’ll be able to eat, drink and sing you heart out until the earlier hours of the morning without fear of judgement in your private booth. Book into a luxury hotel in Tokyo to ensure that when you do eventually hang up the mic, a night of refreshing sleep awaits to allow you to do it all again tomorrow!
Time for a Shrine
Whilst the majority of shrines and temples close their gates to the public around 6-7pm, there are a handful that remain open after dusk. Not only is this a fantastic time to explore as the crowds start to thin out, but it’s a great opportunity to see these historically and culturally significant structures lit up and glowing in full force. Head to Kanda-myojin to admire the majestic lanterns and be guided by the light cast upon its collection of gracious statues as you absorb the Japanese spirituality.