Experience, Gourmet,

Geishas and bars – Exploring the Akasaka area in Tokyo

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.

birds

Two yellow birds in love and three “striped” young women

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)

"Mametora"

“Mametora” is the place to go for fresh coffee and coffee beans

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!

Akasaka

A quiet part of Akasaka with traditional houses

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.

"Akasaka Kinryu"

This is a typical ryotei called “Akasaka Kinryu” – golden dragon

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.

Omusubi Gonbei

Omusubi Gonbei – a reasonable rice ball restaurant

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.

Unir

The cafe “Unir” is located inside the INNSOMNIA hotel

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.

Coffee and sweets

Coffee and sweets

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.

magic bar

Wow! Suddenly this card appeared under the pepper mill…it’s magic!

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.

Akasaka at night

Akasaka at night

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.

Akasaka at night

Small ramen shops and countless restaurants are waiting for you to discover them!

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!


Information:

Unir Akasaka Store (24h cafe)
2-14-14 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
http://www.unir-coffee.com/shop/akasaka/

Akasaka Kinryu (Japanese ryotei restaurant)
3-17-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
http://funtheory1.wixsite.com/akasaka-kinry

Omusubi Gonbei Akasaka Store (rice ball restaurant)
3-8-8 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
https://www.omusubi-gonbei.com/

Chumon Baisen Mametora (coffee to go)
3-6-18 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
http://mametora.jp

Magic Bar Surprise (magic bar)
Akasaka Ogiya bldg. 8F, 3-9-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
www.surprise-akasaka.com/

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writer

I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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