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UpdateMarch 5, 2018
ReleaseMarch 5, 2018

Cross-section of Nightlife

What is Yokocho

Cheap, but delicious! A maze of narrow alleys and fantastic shops appear one after another. That is Yokocho.
Yokocho literally means “alleyways off the main street” and includes the small pubs and bars that are found on these narrow streets. There are many yokocho in Japan. In Tokyo, popular ones include Omoide-yokocho (Shinjuku), Hamonika-yokocho (Kichijoji), Nonbei-yokocho (Shibuya), Ebisu-yokocho (Ebisu), Yurakucho Sanchoku Inshokugai (Yurakucho), and many alleways in Shimbashi even though the names do not include “yokocho.” In Osaka in western Japan, Janjan-yokocho (Shin-Sekai) and Hozenji-yokocho (Dotonbori) are the most well known.

Explore Yokocho

The narrow streets are adorned with red lanterns and the neon signs of the yokocho. The retro, nostalgic ambience puts you in a time slip to about 50 years ago. Yakitori shops, kushiyaki (skewered dishes) shops, izakaya (Japanese pubs), bars, yoshoku (Western-style dishes) restaurants, and others line the streets. The shops are packed with the regulars and company workers on their way home. Take a swig of beer while eating your favorite dishes, such as yakitori, oden (Japanese pot-au-feu), kushiyaki, and stewed meat! In addition to the traditional shops, in recent years, stylish French or Italian restaurants are also found in yokocho as part of the yokocho boom in Japan.

Have Fun at Yokocho

Yokocho are full of shops with cheap but delicious dishes that make everyone want to go “barhopping,” called “hashigo” in Japanese. Yes! This is one of the pleasures of yokocho. Going around to several shops is the way to enjoy yokocho so don’t fill up at the first stop even though the food is delicious. There are a variety of shops in one yokocho, so be sure to try the different tastes.
Cheerfully mingle with the locals and shop masters while enjoying the food and the conversation! If you want to experience traditional nightlife in Japan, one of the many yokocho is the place to go. Drop by, have a tasty bite or a drink or two and experience the energetic, chaotic yokocho!