Best things to do on a summer night
Twillo | Go on a midnight adventure in search of this wandering alcohol cart in Tokyo. The only way to find them is by following the hints in their cryptic Twitter posts. Twillo also has a BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) policy – definitely do so, as the only offerings here are drinks served in classy Baccarat crystal glass and Cuban cigars. The owner finds a way to open his stall on a daily basis; you just need to find it.
Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium | Deploying a range of light tricks, projection mapping and traditional Japanese motifs, not to mention thousands of live goldfish, self-proclaimed ‘art aquarium producer' Hidetomo Kimura’s annual exhibition is back again with an eclectic combo of stylised Edo culture and modern-day technology. Go after 7pm for a hot atmosphere, cocktails and DJ tunes courtesy of local stars including Kuniyuki Takahashi and Ken Ishii (gigs only on Saturdays and days before holidays). You can dance to your heart’s content, with a school of fish as spectators.
Free Hachijojima Glow in the Dark Mushroom Tour | Less than an hour’s flight from Haneda airport is an island filled with exotic plants including Mycena chlorophos, aka glow in the dark mushrooms. Walk around the island to look for these luminescent mushrooms, said to be the brightest in the world. You can also find green illuminating mushrooms during the summer, which look like they came straight out of a sci-fi movie.
Stardust Theater in Haramura | Watch new hits and old classics from both Hollywood and Japan in the great outdoors at the Stardust Theater in Nagano’s Yatsugatake Natural & Culture Park. Don’t forget to bring a jacket with you: the 1,300m altitude means it can get a bit chilly. Screenings are until August 19.
Momat Summer Festival | The Momat, short for the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, will be hosting a beer garden, talk show events and guided tours during the summer. A food cart in the museum’s garden will be serving beer and wine on the weekends, while interactive talk shows will be held on Friday nights – perfect for the liquor-loving art geeks. The museum will be open till 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning no need for you to rush through the large number of paintings and sculptures.
The New Otani Pools | The outdoor pool at Hotel New Otani turns into a swanky night hub with DJs with an endless supply of tropical cocktails every Friday and Saturday nights during the summer. Forget that you’re in the middle of a chaotic city and immerse yourself in the resort-like atmosphere here.
Lunatique Tokioplage | While this shabby apartment building might not look like a fancy French restaurant, you’ll be surprised to see what you find inside. Lunatique TokioPlage strips away all the rules and standards and provides you with only the essentials: good food and superb wine. Once inside, buy a ticket from a vending machine, wait for your number to be called and carry your meal to your seat. What they lack in customer service they make up for in bang for your buck: their ‘Beef Fillet Steak with Foie Gras’ is only ¥1,389, and wine is ¥2,300 per bottle.
Tokyo Tower Milky Way Illumination | Enjoy a late night stroll right under an artificial milky way at Tokyo Tower. As a temporary solution for constellation lovers, Tokyo Tower has made an artificial milky way using 154,000 LED lights so Tokyoites can gaze up at the 'stars' in the middle of the city. The blue lights can also be enjoyed from ground level, making for a night to remember.
Summer Nights at Tama Zoo | See your favourite animals at night during Tama Zoo’s night safari. You will be able to see nocturnal animals at their prime and popular species like the Sumatran Tiger getting ready to go to sleep. It’s a great opportunity to observe the animals in a way you wouldn’t normally.
Mt Takao | A popular day trip for hiking, Mt Takao isn’t just a daytime destination; it has much to explore at night too. If you’re worried about hiking on your own or if you simply want to see some flying squirrels out and about, sign up for the ‘Twilight Hike’ on September 15 to experience hiking in the dark, with lighting provided by MontBell’s headlamps.
Slow Live in Ikegami Honmonji | Unlike your typical outdoor concerts, the ‘Slow Live’ has a laid back vibe, seats, food and is even held at a highly respected temple. Enjoy a meal while listening to artists’ acoustic arrangements of their beloved songs at Ikegami Honganji this summer.
Tokyo Bay Noryosen | Hop aboard this booze cruise that’ll take you around Tokyo Bay. The cruise departs Takeshiba Terminal at 7.15 pm, passing by Tokyo highlights like Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge and even Haneda airport before returning to the initial terminal at 9pm. Don’t forget to wear a yukata if you have one, as yukata wearers will get a ¥1,000 discount from Monday to Friday.
Factory night cruise | Don’t sneak into a random factory (because that’s illegal), but sign up for a factory night cruise that will take you along mysterious canals, twinkling cranes and power plants. Plain old factories might not catch your attention during the day, but the dystopian beauty of the factories at night is a sight to behold.
Book your cruise here.
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine Wind Chime Festival | Walk down this corridor of colourful wind chimes to get to the main shrine at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. Each Edo-style wind chime has a wish from visitors, and creates a soothing melody as it sways in the wind. You can also visit the shrine after dark to witness the stream lit up in beautiful hues of blue, green and white.
Soiree Blanche Grand Hyatt Tokyo | Originating in Saint-Tropez, France in the mid-1970s, ‘Soiree Blanche’ is a summer night event with a strict all-white dress code. The Grand Hyatt Tokyo has taken the concept and turned it into a week-long extravaganza of food and booze. Adorn yourself in white, enjoy the night breeze on the terrace, and listen to some summer jams, played by a resident DJ.
Imperial Palace | The Imperial Palace (or rather, the path along the moat) is one of the most popular places to run in Tokyo. You can enjoy the twinkling lights of the city, or look down into the moat that once protected the Emperor and Empress, while running the 5km course.
Midtown Loves Summer | Another digital art exhibit is in town, but this time, it’s outdoors. You can sit on the rim of a digitalised Japanese garden covered in mist or dip your feet in cold water to cool yourself down on a hot summer’s night. You can also enjoy a refreshing vodka cocktail at the ‘Smirnoff Midpark Café’ while feasting on some BBQ with friends. But to top things off, every night will see a firework show combined with some digital hanabi art.
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