Akasaka in Tokyo is an exciting area in Tokyo. Especially the nightlife of Akasaka – which is completely different from the one in the more famous Roppongi area – is worth a visit.
Akasaka is a quarter where people come together to eat and drink. There are three shopping streets between the two Metro stations “Akasaka Mitsuke” and “Akasaka”. At daytime, it’s a nice place to stroll around and do some shopping. (Read more about Akasaka in winter: here and here)
One legendary shop is “Picasso” (by “Don Qijote”). Here, you can find costumes and full-face buddha masks, Japanese beauty products, and green tea flavored KitKat. They have EVERYTHING you might need and a lot of items you didn’t even know they existed!
When you walk around the area, you’ll also find the more quiet parts of Akasaka with traditional houses and luxurious Japanese restaurants, called “ryotei“. This area has been a place, where politicians or entrepreneurs would go to have a drink and enjoy the companionship of geishas.
Once, there were over 400 geishas. Today, their number shrunk to under 30 geishas. If you come in the afternoon, you might see one – if you are really lucky.
All in all, Akasaka is a great place to go to find something to eat. There are countless restaurants and bars. My recommendation for a light lunch would be “Omusubi Gonbei”, which is a restaurant that only sells rice balls.
For breakfast, I like “Unir”, which is a cafe originally from Kyoto that opened 2016 in Akasaka. The coffee is a little pricey, but really good! Also, the cafe is open 24 hours. That might be helpful if you want to spend the whole night in Akasaka.
Nightlife in the city of geishas
The highlight of Akasaka is its nightlife. One special place to go is the “Magic Bar “Surprise”, located hidden in a crowded building full with restaurants on the 8th floor.
Basically, you’ll sit at a table and have a drink while different magicians come and show you some tricks, like card or coin tricks. You don’t need to understand any Japanese for these kinds of tricks. The owner, Ryusei Kamiguchi, who is a magician himself, does speak some English though.
If you are not so much into clubbing, the restaurants in Akasaka that open in the evening might be the perfect place to go for you.
Small ramen shops and countless restaurants are waiting for you to discover them! Just go with the flow and you will definitely find a nice place to eat!
Unir Akasaka Store (24h cafe)
2-14-14 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Akasaka Kinryu (Japanese ryotei restaurant)
3-17-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Omusubi Gonbei Akasaka Store (rice ball restaurant)
3-8-8 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Chumon Baisen Mametora (coffee to go)
3-6-18 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Magic Bar Surprise (magic bar)
Akasaka Ogiya bldg. 8F, 3-9-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo