"Shinjuku Golden Gai" - A warren of tiny alleys that invites you to an unrivaled world.

2017.03.15

The unique atmosphere that leaves the appearance from the old days attracts countless celebrities and intellectuals


Shinjuku - a town that bustles with people even during daytime. Did you know that there is a town that shows its true colors at night existed in this city?
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Get out to Yasukuni Street from Shinjuku Station East Exit, go east, and then cross the pedestrian crossing in front of the Shinjuku Ward Office. As you continue on the "Shiki no Michi" on the left, you will find "Shinjuku Golden Gai."

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"Shinjuku Golden Gai" is a restaurant district in Tokyo in 1 chome, Kabukicho, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. It is a popular area and has been featured in countless guidebooks for foreign travelers.
It all began from the "Shinjuku Market," a black market selling household goods. It was organized on the east side of Shinjuku Station during the chaotic times after the Pacific War ended in 1884.
It later became a restaurant district with many food stands that was called, "Ryugu Mart."

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However, it was forced to move in 1949, when the GHQ (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) commanded the abolishment of black markets.
Each store moved to the adjacent town, the current Kabukicho 1 chome and part of Shinjuku 5 chome. The entire area later was referred to as "Shinjuku Golden Gai."

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"Shinjuku Golden Gai."
1 chome, Kabukicho, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo

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Over 200 low-rise wooden tenements are densely packed in the warren of tiny alleys of about 2000 building area at "Shinjuku Golden Gai." The complicated structure of the town makes it difficult to know which is front and back and the underground-like atmosphere has enchanted many. From around 1965, the town started to become lively as many writers, theatrical officials, photographers, musicians, and editors visited the place.

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In 1976, two frequent guests of the "Shinjuku Golden Gai" made the town famous by simultaneously winning two respected awards. Novelist, Mr. Kenji Nakagami won the 74th Akutagawa Award, while nonfiction writer, Mr. Ryuzo Saki won the 74th Naoki Prize. The name, "Shinjuku Golden Gai" instantly became to be known as a town where intellectuals gather.

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With this, people started to say, "If you are an intellectual, you need to have a go-to store at Golden Gai." Many celebrities and intellectuals still visit "Shinjuku Golden Gai" as regular customers.

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The alleys are named "G1 Street", "G2 Street", "Akarui Hanazono Ichibangai (bright garden 1st town)," "Akarui Hanazono Sanbangai (bright garden 3rd town)." "Akarui Hanazono Gobangai (bright garden 5th town)," "Akarui Hanazono Hachibangai (bright garden 8th town)," and "Maneki (invitation) Street." Although only "G1 Street" and "G2 Street" were originally called Golden Gai, as "Shinjuku Golden Gai" became famous across the country, the whole area is now called "Shinjuku Golden Gai."

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Each store's eccentric characteristic creates "Shinjuku Golden Gai" that invites you to an unparalleled world. It is a place for social gathering where various people come and go.
When visiting the place, it is important to know the mannerisms by learning the rules of each store, so you don't act rudely. There is a fee for taking photos on public roads. Unauthorized photography is strictly is prohibited. Make sure to also ask for the 'master' or 'mama' who runs the store before taking a photo at the store.

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"Shinjuku Golden Gai," a gem that keeps evolving while keeping the appearance of the old days. There is no doubt that the unique sentiment it offers can only be felt at this special place.

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This warren of tiny alleys with closet-sized bars attracts people with its unique and eccentric atmosphere and invites them to gather and talk with each other. Lively voices will echo again tonight in the alleys of "Shinjuku Golden Gai."

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ISETAN SHINJUKU

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