Best things to do on a summer night in Tokyo

Make the most of those warm nights in the city with our essential list of top things to do in summer after dark
川越氷川神社 縁むすび風鈴
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Tokyo becomes boisterous and energetic once the heat cranks up. After going through our list of the best summer festivals and enjoying lots of cooling kakigori, you'll be wondering if there's anything you can do after dark. From wandering bars to DJ sets in an aquarium, make sure to use our guide to make the most of these steamy summer nights. Oh, and don't forget the summer fireworks festivals, too.

Also see: Your ultimate guide to the best summer in Tokyo

Best things to do on a summer night

Bars and pubs

Track down a wandering bar

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.

Things to do

Dance in an aquarium

icon-location-pin Nihonbashi
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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.

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Things to do

Observe glow-in-the-dark mushrooms

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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.

Film

Watch movies at an outdoor cinema

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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.

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Things to do

Enjoy a beer at an art museum

icon-location-pin Takebashi
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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.

Things to do

Lounge by a night pool

icon-location-pin Kioicho
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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.

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Restaurants, Contemporary European

Riverside drinks at a hidden French restaurant

icon-location-pin Kaminoge

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.

Things to do

Walk the milky way

icon-location-pin Shiba-Koen
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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.

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Things to do

Go on a night safari

icon-location-pin Tama area
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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.

Things to do

Take the twilight hike challenge

icon-location-pin Takaosan

Mt Takao |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.

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Music, Music festivals

Listen to music at a temple

icon-location-pin Ikegami
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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.

Things to do, Food and drink events

Go on a cruise wearing a yukata

icon-location-pin Takeshiba
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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.

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工場夜景クルーズ

Watch the mysterious scenery of factories at night

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.

Things to do

Pray for love on a summer night

icon-location-pin Saitama
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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.

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Restaurants

Have a swanky night out

icon-location-pin Roppongi
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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.

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Start working out at night

icon-location-pin Chiyoda

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.

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Things to do

Step into a digital Japanese garden

icon-location-pin Roppongi
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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.

More things to do in summer

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