9 Original Tokyo Bar-Hopping Tours for a Night to Remember

By Ashley Owen
Updated: July 25, 2023

Going on a Tokyo bar-hopping tour is one of the best ways to experience the city's nightlife. These bar crawls are a great way to connect with other travelers, and also experience Japanese dining culture and authentic izakaya cuisine with friendly local patrons.

With a tour guide to facilitate smooth interactions and teach you everything you need to know about Japanese drinking culture, it's guaranteed to be a fun night out!

9 Original Tokyo Bar Hopping Tours

A bar alley in Shinjuku, at night

Here are nine of the best bar-hopping tours in Tokyo:

  1. The Midnight Diners: Tokyo Experience
  2. Eat and Drink Like a Salaryman in Shinbashi
  3. Retro Shibuya Food Tour
  4. LGBTQ+ Tokyo Dinner and Drinking Tour
  5. Shinjuku After Dark Izakaya Tour
  6. Nakameguro by Night: Izakaya Food Tour
  7. Shinjuku Golden Gai Food Tour
  8. Members-only Japanese Bars: Sips 'n' Secrets in Ebisu (Exclusive)
  9. Asakusa by Night: Bars and Culture

1. The Midnight Diners: Tokyo Experience (Hidden Bars in Hipster Kichijoji)

If you’re a fan of the Netflix series Midnight Diners: Tokyo Stories, this is one Tokyo bar-hopping experience you'll definitely want to join, as the tour draws its inspiration from the show.

On The Midnight Diners: Tokyo Experience you’ll spend four hours discovering some of the most eclectic izakaya in the popular neighborhood of Kichijoji. Your trilingual guide will take you to Harmonica Yokocho (Harmonica Alley), a winding maze of tiny bars and izakaya (gastropubs) with room for only a few guests at a time. Here you’ll encounter 1950s-themed pubs, record-scratching bartenders, and creative fare including horse meat cuisine and specialty cocktails like oolong tea shochu.

The intimate and exuberant character of these izakaya make them ideal for striking up conversations–and don't worry if you don’t speak Japanese, because your guide will be more than happy to interpret. So pull up a bar stool alongside the locals, grab a Japanese beer or cocktail, and soak up the friendly atmosphere. Book The Midnight Diners: Tokyo Experience.

2. Eat and Drink Like a Salaryman in Shinbashi (As Real as It Gets)

Salarymen and women wait to cross a street in Shinbashi

Dive deep into the after-hours life of local salarymen and women, in the Tokyo business district of Shinbashi. This three-hour bar-hopping tour has a flavorful food focus: you'll try five different Japanese street foods at five different pubs and pitstops (plus a sweet treat at the end).

Your friendly guide will help you pair the foods with the perfect Japanese drinks—choose from sake, beer and more to wash down freshly cooked yakitori, oden, ramen and other tasty eats.

You'll have fun wending your way around the labyrinthine streets of Shinbashi, connecting with locals at their favorite watering holes. Book the Eat and Drink Like a Tokyo Salaryman Tour in Shinbashi.

3. Retro Shibuya Food Tour (Step into a Time Capsule)

Experience the Tokyo of old on this popular food and drink crawl through the back streets of Shibuya. Over the course of three hours, you'll see a number of retro spots, some dating back to the Showa era—including a ramen shop that's been in the business for 60+ years.

You'll kick off the evening with a visit to a tachninomi—a Japanese standing bar, where you can mingle with locals and tourists alike. Then it's back onto the city streets in search of souvenirs, tasty bites and sip-easy drinks in hidden nooks and alleys.

This bar-hopping experience ends with a special dessert, as a nice little bonus! Book the Retro Shibuya Food Tour.

4. LGBTQ+ Tokyo Dinner and Drinking Tour (Explore the Gayborhood!)

People stand outside a bar in Tokyo's 2-chome LGBTQ district

Get out into Tokyo's two main gay areas: Shinjuku Ni-chome and Asakusa, on this three-hour evening tour. It's limited to six participants, keeping things nice and low key.

More of a general tour than a bar hop per se, it starts out in historic Asakusa—Tokyo's lesser-known gayborhood—where your guide will show you the bars, bathhouses and other hotspots, while filling you in on the queer history of the area.

Then it's time for dinner in Shinjuku, followed by a tour of the famous Ni-chome area, the center of the LGBTQ+ scene. You'll see the bookshops, bars and video stores, before ending off the night at a popular bar. Book the LGBTQ+ Tokyo Dinner and Drinking Tour.

5. Shinjuku After Dark Izakaya Tour (An All-time Favorite Tokyo Bar Hop)

A group of young people drinking together

The sheer number and variety of Shinjuku nightlife options is staggering, so why not join a friendly local guide on a Shinjuku After Dark Izakaya Tour? Go Tokyo bar hopping together and discover the best late-night food and drinking spots, experiencing the city from a resident’s perspective! 

On this pub crawl in Tokyo, you’ll spend the evening in places only the locals know about, from traditional standing bars to authentic izakaya gastropubs. Indulge in delicious, grilled Japanese dishes that pair perfectly with beer or sake.

You’ll visit the Kabukicho entertainment area first, then head to a unique drinking district that dates back to 1940 and has a mix of over 200 eclectic bars to try. Armed with your new knowledge of Shinjuku nightlife and Japanese drinking culture, after the tour you can keep exploring until the sun comes up! Book the Shinjuku After Dark Izakaya Tour.

6. Nakameguro by Night - Izakaya Food Tour (A Special Bar Crawl Along the Beautiful Meguro River)

Two men enjoying a Tokyo bar tour

Take a guided night tour through Tokyo's trendy Nakameguro area, and discover just what makes it such a special part of the city. You'll stroll along the picturesque Meguro River, ducking into the best of the bistros and bars that line both sides.

On this special tour, your experienced food guide will order piping-hot yakitori, fresh-as-you-can-get sashimi and other Japanese dishes for you to try—ask them what drinks they recommend, too. You'll eat and drink at several different izakaya over the course of 3.5 hours, and those with a sweet tooth can add street-food desserts to the mix, too. Book the Nakameguro by Night: Izakaya Food Tour.

7. Shinjuku Golden Gai Food Tour (The Classic Tokyo Bar Crawl)

The Golden district in Shinjuku is one of the must-see (or rather, must-drink) parts of Tokyo nightlife. Comprised of three entertainment areas—Omoide Yokocho, Kabukicho and Golden Gai, it's a hotspot for locals and visitors alike.

Since there are hundreds of bars and izakaya to choose from, many of them crammed into narrow buildings and back alleys, a bar-hopping tour is the recommended way to explore.

On this three-hour tour, your local guide will introduce you to three different food and drink stops, where you can enjoy drinks over sizzling yakitori skewers and other Japanese pub grub. Keep an eye out for Godzilla, as he might make an appearance, too! Book the Shinjuku Golden Gai Food Tour.

8. Members-only Japanese Bars: Sips 'n' Secrets in Ebisu (Exclusive Access with byFood)

A patron stands on either side of a bartender at an exclusive Tokyo bar

Get a taste of what it's like to be a VIP on this exclusive Tokyo bar-hopping experience. You'll visit two hyper-local bars in Ebisu (near Shibuya), which are usually off-limits to anyone other than members. This is a rare chance to see Tokyo's hidden nightlife!

To start, you'll be served drinks personalized just for you, as well a tasty soup. Then, at bar number two, you'll have the chance to try top-notch sake, hand-selected for this byFood bar-hopping tour, as well as rare Japanese whiskeys or classy cocktails, plus dessert.

The professional bar staff will share their insider knowledge with you, and ensure you have the best experience possible. You might even snag some souvenirs and surprise take-homes over the course of the evening. Book the Members-only Japanese Bars: Sips 'n' Secrets in Ebisu Tour.

9. Asakusa by Night: Bars and Culture (A Tokyo Pub Crawl With a Dash of History)

People drink in a izakaya street in Asakusa on a hot summer night

Get ready for a booze cruise around one of Tokyo's most historic districts! This four-hour epic Asakusa bar-hopping adventure will take you to Sensoji Temple and other landmarks, in between visits to three different izakaya.

It's a walking tour and bar-hop rolled into one; you'll learn as much about Japanese history as you will Japanese drinks, with delicious street food thrown in for good measure.

Numbers are capped at eight participants per group, making for a laidback and fun experience—as well as great opportunities to make new friends. Book the Asakusa by Night: Bars and Culture Tour.

Tokyo Bar-Hopping FAQs

A bartender pours drinks at a fancy Tokyo bar

We answer some of the most common questions about bar tours in Tokyo.

What Is a Bar Hopping Tour?

Also known as a bar crawl, or pub crawl, a bar-hopping tour is a guided exploration of the city's best drinking spots. You'll typically visit three or more bars over the course of a few hours, enjoying drinks and snacks at each one and chatting with the other customers. It's a fun way to experience nightlife in Tokyo.

What Is the Best Bar-Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku?

Two of the most popular Shinjuku bar-hopping tours are the Shinjuku After Dark Izakaya Tour and the Shinjuku Nightlife: Omoide Yokocho, Golden Gai and Kabukicho Tour.

How Old Do I Have to Be to Join a Tokyo Bar-Hopping Tour?

The legal age for drinking is 20 in Japan. If you are younger than this, but still want to join a bar hop, chat to us about your options.

What if I Don't Drink Alcohol?

You can still enjoy a Tokyo bar-hopping tour! Simply order ginger ale, cola or another soft drink—alcohol is not a requirement!

Looking for more things to do in Tokyo? Check out other kinds of Tokyo bar-hopping tours, as well as our complete collection of food experiences in Tokyo!

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan's food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Ashley Owen
Ashley is a freelance travel writer from the UK who spent the last two years living in Japan, and is about to embark on her next adventure to New Zealand. She's always on the lookout for exciting new vegan treats wherever she goes!
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