Best Things to Do in Shinjuku at Night

Shinjuku After Dark: Top Nighttime Attractions

One of the best things about Tokyo for us night owls is that there’s no shortage of entertainment options after dark. And that is particularly true about Shinjuku, one of the city’s main commercial hubs and a hotspot for things to do 24/7 besides drinking and partying. So, if jet lag has gotten the best of you or sleeping at night isn’t really cut out for you, I have prepared a list of all the fun things  you can do around this town after sunset!

Check also: 7 Best Spots in Tokyo to Visit at Night

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

1. Spend a Night Out in Kabukicho

Kabukicho Ichibangai GateObviously, if we’re talking about Shinjuku, Kabukicho (歌舞伎町) will be the first thing that comes to mind! Here is where the night comes alive with hundreds of neon lights. As darkness falls, this area transforms into a haven of endless amusement from the moment you cross the iconic red gate of Kabukicho Ichibangai. 

This so called “red light district” is notorious, as the name indicates, for its wide adult entertainment offer, but there’s also a myriad of bars, restaurants, and karaoke parlors to sing the night away and enough late night options to just roam around, enjoy the sights and take in all the allure of the night in a way you can only see in Kabukicho. 

More info: Kabukicho: Tokyo’s Red Light District, a Survival Guide

2. Casual Dinner and Drinks at Omoide Yokocho

Omoide Yokocho AlleyOmoide Yokocho (思い出横丁), affectionately known as “Memory Alley” (or “Piss Alley” as a playful tongue-in-cheek nickname), is a nostalgic slice of Shinjuku’s nightlife. This smoky alleyway is lined with over 80 tiny stalls and izakayas, where patrons can enjoy yakitori and drinks (among other things) under the glow of red lanterns.

The close quarters encourage lively conversations with the izakaya masters, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike, so spending the evening here is a surefire promise for an authentic and memorable night out.

<<Book your Tokyo Bar Hopping Nightlife Tour here!>>

More info: Omoide Yokocho: Tokyo’s Most Iconic Izakaya Alley

3. Make New Drinking Buddies at Golden Gai

Shinjuku Golden Gai at nightShinjuku Golden Gai (新宿ゴールデン街), next to Kabukicho, is another nostalgic maze of about 280 bars in tiny Showa-era styled alleys. Originating from postwar black markets, it’s now a cultural hub for artists and writers. Some bars here are members-only, but many welcome first-timers and tourists. 

It’s a place to enjoy quirky decor and themed bars, from punk rock to classic cinema, over drinks with friends and strangers in the intimate setting of a bar that’s often as big as a dollhouse. Too cramped? Finish your drink and head for the next bar! It’s not like you’ll run out of options will you?

<<Enjoy the local nightlife with locals at Golden Gai!!>>

More info: Shinjuku Golden Gai: A Bohemian Haven in Tokyo

4. See the Panoramic Views and Then Enjoy the Art at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings

TOKYO Night & Light
© 2024 Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Until now, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings (東京都庁舎) were especially famous for having one of the best free observatories in the entire city. But for the past few weeks, there’s renowned interest in visiting them after sunset thanks to the “TOKYO Night & Light” event, which features the world’s largest permanent projection mapping display on the exterior of the buildings.

This visual spectacle incorporates various artistic elements using light and sound to create a captivating experience for visitors, as part of a broader initiative to enhance Tokyo’s night-time appeal and tourism, utilizing one of its most iconic landmarks as a canvas. Regular screenings of this light show begin every evening after sunset and continue until about 9:00 p.m.

More info: TOKYO Night and Light: Largest Projection-mapped at Shinjuku

5. Experience a One-Of-A-Kind Show at Samurai Restaurant

samurai showThe Samurai Restaurant in Shinjuku is the most unique dining experience mixing action-packed samurai performances with Japanese cuisine. Located in Kabukicho, this restaurant showcases a theatrical samurai show with dynamic dances and swordplay, performed in a lively setting designed to mirror the area’s neon-lit energy. 

What better way to kick-off the evening than having dinner while experiencing the most over-the-top performance? This is like putting together the best of those outlandish robot shows with exploitation-era martial arts movies. What’s not to love about it? 

<<Up to 13% OFF vs Door Price! Samurai Restaurant Show Reservation in Shinjuku Tokyo>>

More info: Samurai Restaurant in Shinjuku

6. Late Night Shopping Spree at Don Quijote

Don Quijote KabukichoYour Japanese experience could hardly be considered complete if you haven’t wasted a sizable chunk of your precious time perusing around snacks and dumb souvenirs while enduring the deafening background jingle that characterizes this popular variety shop. Hence why late-night shopping at Don Quijote (ドン・キホーテ) in Shinjuku can be a uniquely entertaining experience!

Known locally as Donki, this store is a haven for night owls and shopping enthusiasts alike, remaining open 24 hours to cater to all schedules. This nation-wide chain has several locations in Shinjuku so you can always stop by anytime. Regardless of your needs, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for. They have literally anything. 

7. Dance the Night Away at a Nightclub


Shinjuku’s nightlife is more famous for its izakaya and bar scene but there’s also an interesting offer for those who want to experience the local clubbing scene offers an eclectic array of clubbing options. One standout venue is WARP Shinjuku, known for its expansive dance floors and state-of-the-art LED displays. The club features high-energy music, primarily electronic dance genres and a varied lineup of both local and international DJs.

Another nearby club is Shinjuku Blaze, a versatile live house that hosts an array of events, from music concerts to live performances, where we can also see both local and international acts. It’s easy to spot close to midnight when you start seeing large queues forming at the door around Kabukicho.

Another recent spot is Zero Tokyo, located in Kabukicho Tower. This is an upscale nightclub specializing in a mix of house, techno, and electronic dance music. It boasts a sophisticated ambiance with a modern, stylish interior design, featuring multiple themed nights, catering to diverse musical tastes and crowds. 

8. Enjoy an After Hours Onsen at Thermaeyu

Thermae yu
© 2023 thermae-yu

Thermaeyu (テルマー湯) in is a unique around-the-clock experience if you’re looking to unwind around Shinjuku if you need a break from all the action. This popular onsen has several different baths, including a carbonated spring and a silk bath, that will make you feel born anew after all that drinking and partying. 

The setting is both luxurious and traditional, featuring natural stone and wood decor for a tranquil ambiance. In addition to the baths, there’s also a range of dining options, a relaxation room, and a healing salon offering various massages and treatments. 

9. Have a Late Night Coffee

Coffee Aristocrat Edinburgh
©  珈琲貴族エジンバラ

Not everything has to be action-packed and perhaps all you want is a nice cup of coffee and maybe pair it with a nice dessert at night, right? From all the coffee shops around the area with extended business hours, Coffee Aristocrat Edinburgh is truly a godsend, with its retro ambiance and open 24h. 

A close contender is Tsubakiya Coffee Shop Shinjuku, which is open until 5 am so it’s also a nice option to wind down after one too many highballs at the Izakaya or if your vocal cords cannot take one more song after a screaming match at the Karaoke (well worth it, though). 

Other options around the area don’t have the same generous business hours but at least remain open until 10:30 or 11pm which is better than most coffee chains: Kanno Coffee Shinjuku East, or Coffee Seibu (Kabukicho and Nishi-Shinjuku).

10. Take Part in an Immersive Playground

The Tokyo Matrix
©Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. ©Sony Music Solutions Inc.

There are also unique indoor entertainment options like The Tokyo Matrix and Tokyo Mystery Circus if you feel confident about your Japanese language proficiency. The Tokyo Matrix, also located within Tokyu Kabukicho Tower, invites you to explore a sprawling dungeon-like setting where you have to engage with your team of friends in physical and strategic challenges, fighting monsters and solving puzzles in a setting reminiscent of a video game or anime.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Mystery Circus, dubbed the world’s most mysterious theme park, is a mix of immersive story-driven escape games and action games. Here, you can solve intricate puzzles and engage in thrilling narratives, so you’ll feel right at home if you enjoy adventure games. Both venues are open until 22:00.

Now, don’t blame me if you get in trouble for not sleeping at all next time you visit Shinjuku. I’m sure it was worth it!

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Written by

Photographer, journalist, and avid urban cyclist, making sense of Japan since 2017. I was born in Caracas and lived for 14 years in Barcelona before moving to Tokyo. Currently working towards my goal of visiting every prefecture in Japan, I hope to share with readers the everlasting joy of discovery and the neverending urge to keep exploring.