Golden Gai bar district in Shinjuku | Tokyo

I really wanted to visit Golden Gai when I went to Japan last year, as I hadn’t explored much of Shinjuku when I visited in 2014. As it turns out, the bf had been to Golden Gai before, including a famous ramen shop where the restaurant staff have to speak down to the waiting line through a pipe from upstairs (Ramen Nagi, which also now has chain stores elsewhere).

I found the area to be very quiet, with maybe one or two people at best in the bars that could be seen into from outside. There were also a few that were behind closed doors, and I didn’t see much on the second floors of the buildings. Instead, I took a few photos of the interesting storefronts I saw.

Golden gai
Two doors very close together. Even if ‘if’ led upstairs, that frame is ridiculously narrow!
Golden gai
Two doors very close together, but it’s a one storey building?? Does it lead to another dimension?
Golden gai
A street along Golden Gai. It looked like businesses were open for operation, but it was 10pm or so which is late enough for drinking, yet it was super quiet?

Perhaps this was one of the areas that is just overhyped by travellers and travel websites, and have declined in local popularity due to high tourist flow. I found it extremely underwhelming and frankly, not interesting at all.

Tourist trap? Well, at least nobody tried to sell me touristy goods there.

  • Golden Gai was in the news recently here in Japan because of a big fire. I love the atmosphere of this place, especially at night.

    • omg ._. in such a condensed space, it would be easy for a fire hazard to occur…
      I guess it must be better when you know what you’re looking for haha. All I knew to look for was people – and there weren’t many!

  • I’ve been there before and found it cool (I think?). ^__^ I suppose you gotta know where to go?

    • Yeah I didn’t know which places to look for so all I looked for were crowds of people – and I couldn’t see many of those! Think I only saw one line outside that ramen place and that’s it ;;;