Neon cities in Japan

The neon streets (nightlife districts) of Japan have a great deal of atmosphere: the bar districts at night, with signs and red paper lanterns standing out, the neon signs glittering, the alleys…
These are the areas where innumerable bars and amusement businesses line the streets, entertainment districts filled with people at night.
With nightfall, they exhibit an appearance absolutely different from the calm and silent landscape during the day.
Because there are many shops open at night, the streets are characterized by so many flashy, flamboyant signs with heavy use of neon. Though not as flamboyant as in the urban areas, there do exist a few so-called entertainment districts adjacent to hot spring areas and country towns visited by travelers.
These days such other-worldly scenes have become popular spots not just for dining purposes but also for capturing in photographs.



The Top Three Entertainment Districts of Japan (1) Shinjuku Kabukicho in Tokyo

Shinjuku Kabukicho is Japan’s greatest entertainment district. As the sun sets, the neon signs of Kabukicho radiate strange yet gorgeous colors unlike any other entertainment district in Japan. Here rows of innumerable cabaret clubs, host clubs and girl bars can be found, in addition to the common karaoke shops and izakaya (Japanese-style dining bars). The entire area is filled with spots for enjoying night life. Because it becomes active during the night, it is called ‘the city that never sleeps,’ and the neon shines brightly even after midnight, busy with many people and touts. Another special feature characterizing Kabukicho are the many unique shops in business.


photo spot

【godzilla road】

Godzilla on Godzilla Road can be said to be the symbol of Kabukicho. Godzilla Head is located above the Shinjuku Toho Building. It looks as if it suddenly appeared in a big city building, and many people take pictures of it.There is TOHO Cinemas in the building, and many people come to see movies. There are also restaurants and amusement facilities inside, so you can enjoy it in various ways. Godzilla is a big landmark, so it is often used as a meeting place.



【I ♡ Kabukicho】

When you turn right at the end of TOHO Cinemas where Godzilla Head is located, you will see a large neon sign of “I ♡ Kabukicho” in the Hayashi Building shining in red light. If you look around, I think you’ll notice it right away. There are people taking pictures with it in the background, and people dancing and enjoying the video, so if you come to Kabukicho, it would be a good idea to take a picture there.


The Top Three Entertainment Districts of Japan (2) Sapporo Susukino in Hokkaido

Sapporo Susukino is a tourist site visited by foreign travelers from abroad. Susukino is called the largest entertainment district north of Tokyo and the northernmost entertainment district in Asia. It features a number of different businesses such as hotels and other types of accommodation plus amusement and commercial facilities all adjacent to each other, in addition to having entire buildings tenanted by dining businesses and sex establishments. Another key point is the high level of public safety for an entertainment district, allowing women to go drinking all night by themselves.


photo spot

Ferris wheel

Susukino has a commercial facility called Norbesa, which has a strong presence. There are plenty of shops such as restaurants and amusements. A large Ferris wheel called Noria is characteristic. Noria means Ferris wheel in Spanish.
If you ride the gondola, you can also see the neon signs of Sapporo TV Tower and Susukino, so please enjoy the neon signs from the Ferris wheel at night.



The Top Three Entertainment Districts of Japan (3) Nakasu in Fukuoka city, Fukuoka prefecture

Nakasu of Fukuoka city is called the greatest entertainment district in Kyushu and the number one in western Japan. This entertainment district is situated in Nakasu, between the Naka River and Hakata River. Along the Naka River are the Tenjin and Nagahama districts, along with the area well known for its innumerable food stalls such as ramen noodle shops (called the yatai-mura). Like other districts, the streets are lined with izakaya bars, clubs and cabaret clubs. At night, the neon glitters to welcome travelers and office workers on the way home, making it an area full of life and a festive air every day.
photo spot
In Nakasu, you can enjoy the night view of the neon signs that shine in the Showa taste and the neon signs that twinkle on a night cruise. Neon signs are shining along the river, so you can definitely take Instagrammable pictures of the beautiful scenery reflected on the surface of the water. Speaking of Nakasu, there are many stalls lined up, so it is recommended to eat while looking at the neon signs at night.
Important points to note

Touts trying to solicit passersby to their girl bars, host clubs and cabaret clubs might approach you, stand in your way, or follow you around persistently. There are cases where people are taken to rip-off bars or illicit sex shops and fall victim to fraud or extortion over inflated dining fees, so you must be careful not to go with any touts.