Don’t be afraid to step inside the bars anymore at Shinjuku’s Golden Gai Autumn Festival!

Golden Gai has become famous among tourists during the last few years, but the area remains intimidating in many ways. Most people take pictures of they alleys, but do not dare enter the tiny bars loved by the locals – especially by artists and musician. With the Golden Gai Autumn Festival, it’s easier to get inside and experience intimate drinking with the Tokyoites! We tell you everything.

2018-10-26   Festivals & Events, Tokyo,

What is Golden Gai?

The charming neon streets of Golden Gai

 Golden Gai is a small drinking area a few minutes walk from Shinjuku Station East Exit. Its origins date back to the 60s. It used to be a place mostly for the locals and regular customers, but it has made its way to worldwide tourist guidebooks thanks to its distinctive architecture (narrow alleys filled with neons) and its peculiar atmosphere (more than 200 bars with only five or six seats are packed in this very small area).

 Golden Gai has a strong affinity with art and culture, many of its customers are  musicians, artists and local celebrities – it’s not surprise then, that some places still only welcome regular customers and require you to be introduced by someone else.

 Despite its becoming a little touristy, the area still keeps a lot of charm and is definitely worth a visit on your Tokyo itinerary.

(If ever after that, you would like to experience something similar but more authentic, we recommend you to check this event the week after in another part of Shinjuku: Kabuku).  

How to enjoy Golden Gai Autumn Festival

You won’t be afraid to step inside and drink with the locals anymore!

There will be only one day to enjoy Golden Gai Autumn Festival (Golden Gai Aki Matsuri in Japanese): Sunday October 7.

Golden Gai has become quite famous during the last few years and has become very tourist friendly, and most of the places now indicate the table charges in English on their doors. However, if you have already visited the place, you may have noticed the table charges can vary a lot, some being quite expensive, and there are so many bars that you end up walking in circles wondering which door to go through

Golden Gai Autumn Festival is designed to make things easier for the occasional customers by simply erasing the table charge through an easy ticket system. Pushing the doors to these intimate bars has never been so easy!

Here is how to do:

  1. Each ticket allows you to have 5 drink coupons. When visiting your first bar, make sure to say ‘Aki Matsuri’ and show one of your five tickets: you will have no table charge to pay, and you will get a free drink from the shop’s selection. Some shops will also provide food.
  2. After eating and drinking, make sure to receive a stamp from the shop on the event’s pamphlet (available at each shop or at the event’s information booth*)!
  3. Repeat the two first steps in 4 other bars. You may order other food and drinks, but please note you will have to pay for them separately. Also, please understand bars may be a little crowded because of the eventand you may have to wait before entering, especially because in Golden Gai all bars only have a few seats.
  4. Once you have 5 stamps, go back to the event’s information booth*, and try your luck at thelottery! This year’s prizes include a trip to Okinawa for two people, tickets for the virtual reality zone in Shinjuku, etc.

* The event’s information booth will be located at Shinjuku Golden Gai Theater (Shinjuku Golden Gai Gekijou in Japanese): 1F Maruha Building, 1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 〒160-0021

Where to buy tickets

The winners of the trip to Okinawa from last year’s edition
  1. On the day of the event – Price: 3200 yens:
  • – In participating bars
  • – At the event’s booth at Shinjuku Golden Gai Theater: 1F Maruha Building, 1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 〒160-0021
  • – At the office of the Sanko Street Shops Association: 1-1-6 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021
  1. Before the event – Price: 3000 yens:
  • – In participating bars
  • – On the eplus website (Japanese Only): Golden Gai Autumn Festival Tickets
  • – At the H.I.S travel agencies in the Shinjuku area: H.I.S Shinjuku Headquarters, H.I.S Shinjuku East Exit Head Office, H.I.S Hawaii Shinjuku Sanchome Office, H.I.S Shinjuku West Exit Office.

Similar Events this month

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

 Shinjuku is organizing many similar events this month!

  • The Omoide Yokocho Festival from October 1st to October 3rd
  • – The Bar Hop Night in Shinjuku Sanchome on October, Saturday 6th
  • – The Golden Gai Autumn Festival on October, Sunday 7th
  • – The Gyoen autumn Bar on October 11th and 12th
  • – The world wine festival on Sunday, October 14th
  • – And our personal favorite, the Arakicho Kabuku bar-hopping festival! It will take place on Saturday, October 13th. Some members of the Tadaima Japan team will be there to give you information, and others will participate to report it live… If you’d like a to enjoy bar hopping in very good bars in a less touristy place, it’s a must-do!

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Writer / Translator

I’m French but I’ve been living in Tokyo for many years during which I had a lot of meaningful and thrilling experiences. I’m curious and I love learning new things. My hobbies are kick boxing, scuba diving, Japanese traditional painting, etc… As a writer, I’d like to share information about less touristic, more authentic places. I will also write about all the fun and cultural activities unique to Japan.