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Find Nightlife in Japan Off the Beaten Track

For those travelers looking to experience Japan’s exciting nightlife, destinations like Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama may seem like the obvious choices but visiting a traditional Japanese pub or izakaya outside of the major cities can be a great way to connect with locals, try regional dishes or craft beer/spirits, and discover a whole new side to Japan in the process. Beyond the well-worn streets of Roppongi and Dotonbori are many other exciting entertainment districts that offer an immersive insight to an important part of Japanese culture – the evening wind down. Here are just a few places to explore Japan’s nightlife possibilities off the beaten track.


Sapporo, Hokkaido

In Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, the bustling Susukino district of capital city Sapporo is a dizzying display of neon lights, busy bars, lively karaoke boxes, and entertaining clubs. Not far from Susukino station is the famous ramen alley which is the perfect place to start the night off with an ice-cold Sapporo beer and a piping hot bowl of Sapporo style ramen. Aside from the seemingly unending shopping options both above and below Sapporo’s city streets, the shopping alley of Tanuki Koji also offers plenty of entertaining activities such as bowling, billiards, game centers, and of course izakaya.

Learn more: https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/550/


Sendai, Miyagi

Sendai’s Kokubuncho is a vibrant area known for offering a plethora of Japanese style pubs known as izakaya. These fun eating and drinking establishments offer not only delicious regional sake but also an almost unending variety of succulent small-bites that pair excellently with beer or even shochu. A great place to interact with locals, Kokubuncho is sure to provide an evening of delicious eats and plenty of laughs.

Learn more: https://www.japan.travel/en/experiences-in-japan/5466/


Hakata, Fukuoka

While Hakata may be another city synonymous for ramen, the city’s entertainment district of Nakasu is also home to another fabulous culinary tradition – the nighttime yatai food stall. These tiny streetside kiosks usually only seat a handful of people at a time but come nightfall, they line the streets of Nakasu serving up tasty dishes from ramen to gyoza and more alongside ice cold drinks from about 6:00 pm to midnight.

Learn more:  https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/2171/


Naha, Okinawa

If looking for the street that never sleeps in Okinawa, one need look no further than Kokusaidori in Naha. Beyond the street vendors selling tasty local dishes, there is an abundance of nightclubs, dancehalls, bars, and traditional pubs to suit any style. Kokusaidori is most active on Saturday nights when street performers are out and closes to auto-traffic on Sundays for pedestrians to rule the road. Be sure to try Okinawa’s signature spirit, awamori, which is distilled in a similar manner to shochu but some can have an alcohol content as high as 60% so be sure to pace yourself.

Learn more: https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/587/




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