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Bar Hopping in Harmonica Yokocho, Tokyo's Retro Drinking Alley

By Emily Suvannasankha
May 10, 2020
Updated: October 30, 2020

Ever wanted to explore the hidden alleys of Tokyo and drink merrily with the locals? Then come along with Shizuka as she follows Alejandro through Harmonica Yokocho, or Harmonica Alley, and discovers the wealth of unique mini gastropubs and colorful cocktails in the backstreets of Kichijoji.

See for yourself the mouth-watering offerings of this izakaya paradise (turns out you can fry everything!) and learn which surprising appetizers to look out for at the typical Japanese bar. Which unexpectedly delicious finger foods and unforgettable locals will Shizuka encounter on this alcoholic adventure?

Bar-Hopping Tour of Kichijoji's Harmonica Yokocho

Book the Bar Hopping Tour of Harmonica Yokocho >>

After World War II, Harmonica Yokocho actually started as a flea market, and its historical charm persists to this day with 1950s-inspired decorations and retro pubs everywhere you look.

Our guide for this tour, Alejandro, whisks Shizuka away into the red light of the alley lanterns as she tries horse meat dumplings, discovers a baseball bar, and drinks a glowing cocktail out of a fishbowl. Some of these bars are so tiny that they only seat seven people!

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On this boozy adventure, Alejandro shows off his local knowledge, greeted every few minutes by a familiar face and chatting up friends in Japanese at every bar they stop by. He even has a special reputation at the last bar they trywatch the video to find out how exactly they've honored him!

At the 1950's-themed gastropub, rowdy camaraderie abounds. While at this fun-filled gastropub, Shizuka plays a few friendly rounds of board games and kendama with locals and tries their unique food and drink offerings, including a glass of creamy alcoholic matcha green tea, steaming hot yakitori, and a dish Alejandro calls "chicken surprise." And what's more, the employees even drink with guests; see what happens when Alejandro buys a drink for the fastest drinker in the bar!

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Join a Bar-Hopping Tour of Kichijoji and Harmonica Yokocho with Alejandro

If you want to experience this Bar-Hopping Tour of Kichijoji and Harmonica Yokocho, you can! Alejandro, the trilingual guide and local expert on all the best spots in Kichijoji, will make you feel at home with the locals on this four-hour bar-hopping journey, and is more than happy to interpret for those who don't speak Japanese.

There's no better way to enjoy the bounty of Tokyo nightlife than by clinking glasses and shouting "Kampai!" with friendly locals and travelers alike. Stay sober with nonalcoholic options or drink to your heart's contentthe first two rounds are included!

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Emily Suvannasankha
Masquerading as a grad student in Linguistics, Emily can typically be found counting the minutes ‘til her next peach chūhai. She has two years in Nagoya before her need for jumbo peanut butter sends her crawling back to the US.
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