3 great bars for watching sport events in Arakicho, Shinjuku

A team of Tadaima Japan writers, namely Anthony and myself, have combed the bars of Arakicho in the heart of Shinjuku city, in search of the best places for viewing sports events. Even while traveling, you may want to catch your favourite team in action, and if the time difference allows, with a drink in hand for more effective cheering. Watching live sports events on your trip is also a great way to meet and bond with new people, who hopefully will be cheering for the same team as you!

2018-10-02   Bars & Restaurants, Arakicho,

Arakicho is another area of Shinjuku where you can bar-hop this month

H2 International Bar

Anthony trying his hand at a different kind of game – Kendama or Japanese Bilboquet.

Located on the 2nd floor and overlooking the busy Shinjuku dori avenue, H2 International bar is open daily from 7pm to 5am. In addition to the usual counter seats, there are several two-person tables along the window. Apparently, the bar owner is also a football fan, so if you looking to catch a football match, H2 is probably your best bet.

H2 also has multiple screens so no matter where you sit, you’ll be able to follow and cheer the action. It’s important to note that the bar also doubles as a karaoke, so you won’t always be able to hear the commentary and get the stadium atmosphere, unless of course everybody present is glued to the game and the volume gets turned up.

Finally, if it wasn’t already clear from the name, H2 is an international place with menus in English and English-speaking bartenders. The regulars like to hang out there for a chance to chat in English, so you will most likely be able to enjoy some sports-related small talk with a local. Many sports words have katakana equivalents in Japanese so you will be able to provide your own commentary with ease.

You can find Anthony’s full write-up on H2 International (with more photos and location information) here:

H2 International Bar: Connecting Shinjuku to the World

The decoration says it all – football fans are welcome!

American Mates Bar

The question mark after the 24:00 may suggest some flexibility with the closing time

If you are looking for a quieter place to watch a nail-biting, high stakes, all-or-nothing match, American Mates bar, right on Sugidaimon dori street, may be just the place. A big-screen TV placed behind the bar allows you to turn around on your chair, cold beer in hand and get a close-up look at the strikes and tackles. You’ll be in an optimal position to call that play a foul (or not).

 The main draw of American Mates is its wide selection of beers – a selection of 2 American and 2 Japanese draught beers, and a number of American and Japanese bottled beers. I can’t think of a more suitable beverage for late-night sports viewing.

 Why not enjoy some food with your beer? American Mates has an American-themed food menu which includes familiar items such as a cheeseburger and a hotdog, both served with great-tasting crispy fries. The owner is a fan of all sports but his passion is rugby, as will be obvious once you walk into the place. This will be a great place to watch the Rugby 2019 World Cup.

 You can find Anthony’s full write-up on American Mates (with more photos and location information) here:

 American Bar & Cafe Mates: A Fusion of Western Culture in Araki-Cho

Burger and fries to enjoy while watching live sports


Anthony enjoying some shochu on the rocks

Another great location for a quieter viewing experience is the bar AMS+, situated on Gaienhigashi Dori Avenue and on the 2nd floor of the building next to Motsuyaki Nonki – if you look up from the street outside, you can just about make out the TV through the window. Upon entering you’ll find yourself in a small room that feels like someone’s living room  – the bar with the TV is hidden behind it so make sure you get one of the seats there.

 AMS+ has seems to have the largest TV screen we have seen so far in our research, and due to its judicious positioning, all seats have a great view of the action. AMS+ is open from 8pm to 5am daily, so it is also the ideal place to view games that take place in the middle of the night.

 As for drinks, AMS+ has Heineken beer on tap and the usual selection of bar drinks. However I recommend going for the Shoshu (Japanese whisky) if you want to have something typically Japanese. The bartender can also cook a number of light dishes in case you’re feeling peckish – we had a very tasty “moyashi” (bean sprouts) with kimchi.

 You can find David’s full write-up on AMS+ (with more photos and location information) here:

AMS+, a bar that feels like home

Many more bars to choose from!

For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes additional location details:

 Three great bars for watching sport events in Arakicho, Shinjuku

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Writer / Translator

I’ve been in Japan for over 10 years although it feels shorter because I am constantly discovering new things and new places. Sometimes it can be hard to get the full Japanese experience because of cultural differences and linguistic barriers. For that reason, I want to share what I have learned in order to enhance your experience in Japan. Having said that, figuring out stuff on your own can also be fun. In any case, I hope you can find here whatever you need in order to make your stay a success.