Night Activities in Tokyo for Non-Clubbers
First-time visitors to Tokyo who have just finished dinner are often surprised and disappointed to find shops and malls closing as early as 8pm to 8.30pm. Now feeling re-energized after dinner and you are ready for 1 more activity/place to visit before calling it a day. If you are a late owl yet a non-clubber, where can you go? I’m happy to recommend a few places which close at 10pm or beyond in Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro – the three popular tourist destinations.
IF YOU ARE IN SHIBUYA……
Visit a themed cafe at Tower Records, Shibuya (Close at 11pm)
Spanning over 9 floors with a wide collection of up-market music albums, soundtracks, books (English book collection is available too!) and magazines, the Tower Records building is one of my favourite hunts whenever I visit Shibuya. The Tower Records Cafe on level 2 frequently collaborate with popular anime, comic, cartoon characters, and transform into a theme cafe, and I can safely vouch that Japanese are very serious with their theme cafe decorations. Their snoopy theme and Rilakkuma theme cafes, which I had visited on separate occasions simply amazed me. You will be greeted by a cute and lovely interior, completed with beautiful center piece and soft toys of different sizes on every single table!
Overview of Rilakkuma Cafe:
Overview of Snoopy Cafe:
Address: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya 神宮前6丁目3-9 井門原宿ビル2階
Miwa says: Highly recommended to visit their website and Facebook page for updated information on the featured theme prior to your visit as some of their themes are based on popular Japanese characters and anime among the Japanese, which Singaporeans may not be able to associate with.
Source for a good read at Book 1st (Close at 11pm)
Not all bookstores in Japan carry English books! If you are craving for a good read, and yet do not wish to walk all the way to Tower Records building, you may like to visit this bookstore located just at the heart of Bunkamura-dori street, near Shibuya Station. They have a peaceful and cozy environment with a small decent collection of English books.
Address: 宇田川町23-3, 渋谷区, 東京都, 150-0042, Japan
Miwa says: The task of finding English books in Shibuya is much more difficult than I had imagined and I’m so glad to finally find them in Book 1st! ?
Tsutaya: People-watching of Shibuya Scramble Crossing with Starbucks (Close at 2am)
People-watching of Shibuya Scramble Crossing. The massive crowd-crossing:
Tsutaya Shibuya, which houses a Starbucks at ground level located in QFront Building opposite JR Shibuya Station (Hachiko Exit), is a prominent landmark of Shibuya. It is somehow similar to Tower Records (or maybe a competitor) but Tsutaya does not carry any English book collection. Nevertheless, you can always browse through their wide selection of Japanese magazines, CDs and videos. If you are lucky to obtain a window seat on the second floor, it can be quite therapeutic to browse through a Japanese fashion magazine while sipping your Starbucks, and occasionally watch the bustling of the infamous Shibuya scramble crossing in front of the building.
Address: 〒150-0042, 東京都 渋谷区宇田川町21-6
Miwa says: This Starbucks is very busy and forever with a long-queue! Unless you are with a friend, it will be challenging for solo travellers to try and “chop” a seat on level 2 while queuing for drinks on level 1.
Late night megastore shopping at Don Quijote, Shibuya (Close at 4.30am)
Don Quijote (aka “Donki” or even “Penguin”) is my all-time favourite shopping store in Japan, with outlets in almost every city. You can easily recognise this discount chain store by its signature blue penguin mascot, and what sets them apart from a typical shopping mall is their operation hours. Most Donki outlets either operate 24 hours or close after 2am. The merchandise they carry is OMG – think along the line of a mega “NTUC + Diaso + Mustafa + Guardian Pharmacy + Watsons”. They sell anything and everything! From toys, anime figurines, food, stationary, household products, cosmetics, skin-care, over counter medication, clothes, bags, luggage, souvenirs, phone accessories, electrical appliances to even furniture! Tax-free counters are available to the convenience of tourists. I love to slowly browse through all these fascinating products Donki carries and often make multiple returns! Sometimes, I wonder how much I have spent in Donki over the years! ?
Address: 〒150-0043 東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-25-8
Miwa says: Do feel free to ask for Mandarin-speaking staff if you need any assistance in the store as they have at least a Taiwanese/PRC staff on duty at all times to assist tourists who can’t speak/understand Japanese. Oh! I need to warn you of Donkijote’s very addictive theme song…that you will find yourself humming back at home… ??? ?
Donki video song:
IF YOU ARE IN SHINJUKU……
Late night megastore shopping at Don Quijote, Shinjuku (Operates 24 hours)
Don Quijote has 2 discount store at Shinjuku, which operate 24 hours! These two stores are great for last minute shopping especially if you are taking a red-eye flight or morning flight.
Address: 〒169-0072 東京都新宿区大久保1-12-6 (Don Quijote, Shinjuku)
〒160-0021 東京都新宿区歌舞伎町1-16-5 (Don Quijote, Shinjuku East Exit Head Office)
Miwa says: Beware of the crowd at Don Quijote Shinjuku due to its prime location, right in the beginning of Kabukicho – the famous entertainment and red-light district in Tokyo. You require a little more patience with the crowd and narrow shopping aisles! ?
Shopping at Lumine Est Shinjuku (Close at 10pm)
If I only have time for a shopping mall in Tokyo, Lumine Est Shinjuku will be THE ONE. Located just above the east exit and connected to JR Shinjuku Station, I can easily spend 1 full day in this 9-floors mall, which houses over 200 shops of women’s fashion, men’s fashion, cosmetics, household goods, restaurants and cafes. I would say all the popular ladies fashion streetbrands are here and it closes later than other shopping malls at 10pm! (Shopping malls typically close at 8.30pm or 9pm). Tax refund is available for tourists at most shops. You may refer to another blog entry that I have written in detail on this mall.
Address: 〒160-0022 新宿区新宿3-38-2
Electronics / Home Appliances Shopping at Labi (Close at 11.30pm) or
BIC CAMERA (Close at 10pm) or Yadobashi (Close at 10pm)
Singaporeans may be more familiar with Best Denki, which has a stronger overseas presence. However, the main market leaders in electronics and home appliances mega store in Japan are actually Labi, BIC CAMERA and Yadobashi. These mega stores are usually 4 levels and above, with an amazing range of products especially new launches of popular brands like Panasonic, Sony and Philips, which will not be available in Singapore.
Labi: 23-7 Shinjuku 3-chome, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022. (JR Shinjuku Station, East Exit)
BIC CAMERA: 3-26-10, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (JR Shinjuku Station, East Exit)
Yadobashi: 1-11-1, Nishishinjuku , Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0023 (JR Shinjuku Station, West Exit)
Miwa says: All these mega stores sell a wide range of iPhone and iPad covers. Pretty and unique designs that are not available in Singapore. However, do note that iPhone Plus series are not popular in Japan as such, the selection of phone casings is much lesser. Do also take special caution when buying electronic items from Japan as not all of them are suitable for use in Singapore due to voltage incompatibility. Ensure you check with the store assistants accordingly before purchase. My personal preference would be to go to Labi for their late closing hours as well as for their beauty section – @cosmeXLABI. The beauty products here are all raved and ranked by Japanese users on the well-known online forum and shopping website – @cosme.
Viewing of Tokyo Skyline from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building North Observatory (Close at 11pm)
Apart from Tokyo Tower and Sky Tree, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building North Observatory is another venue for Tokyo skyline night viewing and it’s free! Catch the mesmerizing night view of Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine and Tokyo Dome at 202 meters above ground level on the 45th floor of the north tower. There is also a cafe at the observatory, which operates as a bar at night. Note that last entry to the observatory is at 10.30pm.
Address: 2 Chome-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 163-8001, Japan
Directions: Tocho-mae Station (Oedo Subway Line)- reach basement of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building directly or JR Shinjuku Station, West Exit, walk 10 minutes.
North Observation Deck is closed on second and fourth Monday of every month. During these two days, the South Observation Deck will operate till 11pm. Both decks will be closed on New Year’s holiday season from 29-31 December and 2-3 January) and on May 14, 2016 for inspection. They remain open on 01 January.
IF YOU ARE IN IKEBUKURO……
Immerse in the world of “One Piece”, “Dragon Ball” and “Naruto” at J-World
(Close at 10pm)
Fans of popular Japanese comics and anime “One Piece”, “Dragon Ball” and “Naruto” will be delighted to visit J-World, an indoor anime park with attractions, games and themed restaurants! More importantly, there is further discount of -800 yen off their admission and attraction tickets for visits after 5pm!
Address: 3-1-3 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo Sunshine City World Import Mart Building 3F
Miwa says: Everything in the theme park is communicated in Japanese. So it might be challenging trying to comprehend the games etc..some games seem more suitable for children. Nevertheless, fans would still enjoy taking lots of photos with their favourite characters!
Supper at Namja Town (Close at 10pm)
Located in the same building directly below J-World, Namja Town often receives spill-over visitors to its indoor amusement and food theme park. The interior of the food theme park is nicely done up to transport you back into the olden Japan era, with dark and narrow alleys. It has a Gyoza Stadium (7 stalls selling different types of gyozas), Ice Cream City (with 50 flavours including some really strange flavours like Indian curry, eel, beef tongue, shark fin noodle, miso noodle?) and Tokyo Dessert Republic (with nice looking cream pastries, pancake and crepes). In summary, a strange yet interesting concept. ?
Address: 3-1-3 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo Sunshine City World Import Mart Building 2F
Admission Fee: 500 Yen (for admission only), 2,300 yen (for Namja Pass if you want to enjoy their attractions as well).
Miwa says: Similar to J-World, everything in the theme park is communicated in Japanese. So it might be challenging trying to comprehend the games etc if you are intending to get the pass. The food are mediocre but recommended if you are after some unique flavours.
Foot onsen at Momi no-Yu Foot Onsen Bath Cafe, Ikebukuro (もみの気ハウス池袋店)
(Close at 5am)
Managed by Mominoki House, Momi no-Yu Cafe prides itself as the first foot onsen bath cafe in the world. Similarly to the branch in Ueno, the onsen bath cafe in Ikebukuro also operates from 11am to 5am daily, and makes a great final stop to relax your tiring and aching feet from full day travelling. Wind down the day with a cup of herbal tea and relax your feet in the beautiful river onsen bath.
Address: 1-27-8 Minami Ikebukuro Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Ozo Ikebukuro East Exit Building 7F
Direction: 1 minute walk from the east exit of Ikebukuro station
Opening Hours: 11am to 5am
Miwa says: You may check out my blog post on my experience at the Ueno branch. The river setting in the Ikebukuro branch looks rejuvenating and I’m certainly going to try it on my next visit!
The night is still young, and so are we!