13 things to do in Shinjuku after dark

From glamourous drag queens to late night shopping spree and spy games, here’s how you can keep yourself entertained through the night in Shinjuku

Shinjuku Kabukicho
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Time Out in association with Humax Entertainment Inc.

If you're a night owl, you'll love Shinjuku, Tokyo’s vibrant nightlife district that really comes alive after dark. Whether you’re looking to eat and drink the night away, test your skills at a spy game, or watch a live show, Shinjuku has all you need for an action-packed night in the capital. Here's a list of 13 things you can do, all of which operates through the night until the wee hours of morning. Week days or weekends, get ready to pull an all-nighter.

Where to head when the sun sets

1
Inspyre
Attractions, Arcades and amusements

Become James Bond at Inspyre

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? Yes, 11am-5am the next day.

Drinks on offer? Yes

Like a scene right out of an action-packed spy film, get into a dangerous heist as you try to take down Black-Max, the secret crime organsation behind threatening deals that include arms trafficking and hacking into national defense systems just to sell them out to rival countries. On arrival, you'll be initiated as an agent with international intelligence organisation Inspyre, where you'll be given an important mission that needs to be solved within a 10-minute time frame.

Continue to test your skills late into the night throughout various missions, which change each time you enter the game zone. These include using your spy skills to break the codes hidden around the Inspyre warehouse, navigate your way through laser beams, and even 'shoot down' specified targets. Between games you can take a break at their food concession area, where they offer a range of food and drink options to keep you energised to crime fight all night long.

2
Sport and fitness

Get a strike at dawn

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? Yes, 11.30am-6am the next day.

Drinks on offer? Yes

If you thought ten-pin bowling was passé, check out Shinjuku Copa Bowl; this late-night bowling alley has reimagined the game with 'Fantasic Lanes' featuring striking light and sound special effects. Located just five minutes' walk from Shinjuku Station, this boisterous bowling centre is the perfect spot to complete your night out in town. Aside from bowling, the space also features a ping pong area, darts and a food concession stand for when you get the munchies. 

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3
The OPEN BOOK
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Fall in love with literature and sours

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? Yes, 7.30pm-1.30am the next day.

Drinks on offer? Yes

A mixture of shochu, club soda and lemon juice, the humble lemon sour isn't the kind of drink one would think merits a specialist bar. Library and bar The Open Book will prove you wrong. Upon entering, your eyes are sure to fixate on the massive back wall, covered with books all the way to the ceiling. The owner Mr Tanaka is actually a grandchild of the late Komimasa Tanaka, a Naoki Award-winning author and translator who is of course well represented in the Open Book library.

The unique collection also includes tomes brought over by Komimasa Tanaka fans, which you can peruse while sipping on one of bartender Tanaka's signature sour mixtures. He uses a double-chamber Randall filter to bring out the lemon's zesty flavours while mixing them with power-packed shochu and homemade lemon syrup, resulting in a well-balanced tipple that's sweet, sour and crisp. 

4
Clubs

Experience Jamaica in Shinjuku

icon-location-pin Shinjuku-Nichome

Open till the wee hours? No, 6pm-12midnight

Drinks on offer? Yes

Located in Shinjuku, not far from another similar joint called Garam, Open is a small and cosy reggae club that's open nightly. It is the place to go for music genres such as roots and dub. A well-established spot that hosts regular live events, Open provides an enjoyable atmosphere and has a quality sound system that’s more than capable of kicking out a good level of bass.

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5
Cinemas

Relax with a late night movie

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? Yes, depends on movie times.

Drinks on offer? Yes

Toho Cinema's newest multiplex is impressive; it's fitted with 12 screens, a full-scale Dolby Atmos audio system, and enough shops to rival your average city mall. But what really gets us excited is the giant Godzilla head glaring at passers-by from the roof of this Kabukicho tower. This massive cinema is the place to go for a late night flick as it offers the latest releases and Hollywood blockbusters. Just don't forget to snap a selfie with Godzilla before you leave. 

6
Benfiddich
Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Sip on cocktails made by a 'chemist'

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? Yes, 6pm-3am the next day.

Drinks on offer? Yes

Hiroyasu Kayama opened BenFiddich in 2013, after working for years as the head bartender at Nishi-Azabu mixology bar Amber. It’s given him free rein to pursue a longstanding interest in traditional elixirs and herbal liquors, often using ingredients – anise, fennel, wormwood – grown on his family’s plot in Chichibu, Saitama. The bar has an impressive whisky selection too, but Kayama’s apothecary style cocktails are the main attraction. Jars of spices and housemade infusions line the shelves behind the counter, and he’s as likely to prepare your drink with a pestle and mortar as a cocktail shaker. 

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7
Tokyo Shooting Gallery
Attractions, Arcades and amusements

Step back in time to the Showa era

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? Yes, 5pm-1am the next day.

Drinks on offer? Yes

Step back in time and file on your marksmanship at Tokyo Shooting Gallery located right next to Shinjuku’s Golden Gai. With its tiled roof, wooden sliding door and red lanterns, the facade looks like it came straight out of a Showa era (1926–1989) movie. Grab an air gun for ¥500 and show off your skills at a traditional shooting game popular during Japanese festivals, and don't forget to change into a traditional yukata to enjoy the full experience. Don’t worry, you won’t leave empty handed − you'll get prizes based on the points you earn during the game. 

8
Restaurants, Cafés

Stay up all night with a caffeine fix

icon-location-pin Shinjuku-Sanchome

Open till the wee hours? Yes, open 24 hours a day.

Drinks on offer? No, just coffee and non-alcoholic beverages.

The Scottish capital is famous for many things, but coffee isn't normally one of them. Except at Shinjuku's Edinburgh – or Coffee Kizoku (literally 'aristocratic coffee') Edinburgh, to give it its full name. Furnished in a faux ostentatious Western style, this café dispenses cups of siphon coffee 24 hours a day, at prices ranging from higher-than-average (¥800 for the Kizoku original blend) to eye-watering (Royal Blend, a snip at ¥3,000). That said, you can easily get a couple of cups out of each pot of coffee, while the free wi-fi will help you linger a little longer. 

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9
Black Swan Lake
Nightlife, Cabaret and burlesque

Meet a drag queen in Kabukicho

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? No, 6pm-12midnight

Drinks on offer? Yes

This show pub (and self-styled 'neo-tavern') has managed to survive on the Kabukicho scene for a good 40 years. Sit down, have your dinner and drinks, and enjoy a dazzling, over the top drag show. At Black Swan Lake there are two sittings each evening, one at 7.30pm and later at 10pm. 

10
Yakiniku Gen-Chan
Restaurants

Satisfy a late night yakiniku craving

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? Yes, 7am-6.30am the next day

Drinks on offer? Yes

If you’re craving tender, juicy grilled meat at 3am, Yakiniku Genchan located in Shinjuku’s lively Kabukicho district is your place to go. Open daily from 7am to 6.30am the next day, this eatery is highly regarded amongst the city's barbecue lovers, thanks to the charcoal grills that enhance the meat with a unique smoky flavour. The all-you-can-eat course menus range from ¥3,480 for the girls and ¥3,980 for the guys (all-you-can-drink plan included). Choose from more than 70 dishes including A4-grade meats and Korean delicacies such as bibimbap. For hungry foodies during lunch time, order the ‘kalbi (spare rib) set meal’ (¥950) or the ‘harami (pork belly) set meal’ (¥850).

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11
The Four Eyed
Shopping, Fashion

Shop for eclectic fashion in a love hotel district

icon-location-pin Higashi-Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? No, 1pm-9pm

Drinks on offer? No

The journey here alone is a minor crash course in Kabukicho: you'll have to walk through the arches leading to a love hotel to actually find the entrance to select fashion shop The Four-Eyed, which is located in a building vacated by, yes, another love hotel. Creative director Keisuke Fujita used to be the photographer for Street magazine, and wanted to not just create an apparel shop, but also a community space for people from a variety of different backgrounds. Clothing-wise, you'll find both domestic and international brands, with a strong focus on the emerging and funky – shopping for a party in nearby Ni-chome should be easy here.

12
Shopping

Go on a late night shopping spree

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? Yes, open 24 hours a day.

Drinks on offer? Yes

The concept of 'pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap' gets taken to the extreme at Don Quijote. This mega shop is cluttered, disorganised and disorientating, but you’ll find everything from snacks to washing machines, 24 hours a day. This latest branch – the fifth in Shinjuku ward – is perfect for anyone taking a highway bus and in need of last-minute souvenirs, travel bags and more, considering its proximity to the Busta terminal. 

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13
Robot Restaurant 2018
Restaurants

Watch a robot battle

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

Open till the wee hours? No, 4pm-11pm

Drinks on offer? Yes

Every night in a basement in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district, the energetic crew at Robot Restaurant stages mock battles using enormous robots – though it's more steroid-enhanced fairground attraction than modern-day Gundam. Customers pay a ¥8,000 charge (bring along our magazine for a discount), and once you're in your seats you can order a bento box and drinks to go along with the lively show. There are three to four 90-minute shows each night, in which the performers take to the floor on giant robots, everything from neon tanks and enormous female 'borgs to giant sushi boat floats and flashing daruma dolls fitted with drum sets. Interested? Remember to bring a copy of our print magazine for a ¥2,000 discount!

More to explore

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