If you're tired of the hustle and bustle of big cities like Shinjuku and Shibuya, the "Yanaka Ginza" area is highly recommended. Yanaka Ginza has avoided modern redevelopment, allowing you to experience the old Tokyo with its traditional homes and shopping streets.

Yanaka Ginza has plenty of tourist attractions. To name a few, there's the famous Nezu Shrine with its azalea flowers and historic buildings, the massive Yanaka Cemetery perfect for cherry blossom viewing strolls, the Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street with around 60 individual shops capturing the essence of a classic Japanese shopping district, and many more places worth visiting. Even in spots not marketed as sights, the nostalgic atmosphere of old Japan lingers, making a simple walk enjoyable.

The lush Yanaka area used to be home to many cats, earning it the nickname "Cat Town." You'll find cat-themed goods and statues throughout the shopping street, and you might even encounter real feline residents.

Nightlife in Yanaka Ginza

Yanaka Ginza is a peaceful, quiet area without nightclubs. Those seeking a lively night of clubbing should head to Roppongi or Shibuya instead. Yanaka Ginza is recommended for people who want to get away from the bright city lights and spend a calm, tranquil evening.

My recommendation for a night in Yanaka Ginza is to enjoy a hearty meal at an izakaya or bar, then take a leisurely post-dinner stroll. With various types of izakayas and bars available, you can choose one that suits your mood. The walk afterward allows you to soak in the retro atmosphere of the Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street and Yanaka Cemetery. It's safe to wander at night since the area has a low crime rate.

Recommended Izakayas in Yanaka Ginza

CRAFT SAKE STAND Yanaka Junmaiya – Casual Japanese Sake Tasting

Yanaka Junmaiya
Source: Tabelog

This izakaya's charm lies in its diverse drink selections, from craft beers and whiskies to plum wines and lemon sours, but especially its extensive Japanese sake offerings, including rare finds. Seasonal dishes made with fresh ingredients and limited sake varieties add to the experience.

Surprisingly, almost everything on the menu costs just 500 yen, allowing you to indulge in drinks and food quite affordably. The prepaid meal ticket system lets you set a budget, and English menus are available for convenience.

<Store Information>
- Address: 2F Maruzen Yanaka Bldg., 3-11-11 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: 050-5869-1633  
- Hours: Weekdays 5 PM - 9 PM, Weekends/Holidays 10:30 AM - 9 PM
- Closed: Open year-round (except New Year's and occasional closures)
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yanaka_junmaiya/

Sharaku – Lemon Sour Specialty Izakaya

Source: Tabelog

As a lemon sour specialty izakaya, Sharaku offers over ten varieties of fresh lemon sours. My personal recommendation is the "Otona no Surioshi Namolemon Sour" – it's topped with grated lemon rind, providing a delightful bitter flavor. Sweeter options like the "Jikaseinamolemon Sour" and "Hachimitsu Namolemon Sour" are also available.

They cater to various preferences with non-alcoholic, non-carbonated, and non-lemon sour drinks. Vegetarian and English menus are provided as well. Affordable and casual, this izakaya is great for drink-hopping or a second round. 

<Store Information>
- Address: 1F Vanadiel Yanaka, 3-9-15 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: 050-5594-8783
- Hours: Mon-Thu 12-9 PM (Last Order 8:30 PM), Fri 12-10:30 PM (Last Order: Food 9 PM, Drinks 9:30 PM), Sat/Holidays 11 AM-10 PM (Last Order: Food 9 PM, Drinks 9:30 PM), Sun 11 AM-9 PM (Last Order 8:30 PM)
- Closed: Irregular
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharakuyanaka  

Raidon – Japanese Sake and Stewed Dishes

Source: Tabelog

At Raidon, you can sample various prestigious Japanese sakes and shochu alongside hearty meat dishes. The sake and shochu tasting sets are perfect for first-timers. The stewed meat dishes are also highly recommended – the concentrated flavors will melt in your mouth.

This popular izakaya often requires reservations, but counter seating is available if you prefer dining solo. Savor the robust flavors with some quality drinks.

<Store Information>  
- Address: 3-24-7 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: 050-5600-3744
- Hours: Mon-Sat 5-11 PM / Lunch Sat only 11:30 AM-2 PM (Last Order 1:30 PM)
- Closed: Sundays & Holidays (Open 1st & 3rd Sundays)
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raidon_ynk/

Recommended Bars in Yanaka Ginza

Newly Opened Sake Bar "Seitaro"

Source: Tabelog

Opened in October 2023, "Seitaro" is one of Yanaka Ginza's newest hotspots. This bar offers a relaxed ambiance to leisurely enjoy drinks and food tailored to your taste and mood by the sake connoisseur owner. It's a great opportunity to discover new favorite drinks.

Be sure to try their homemade ramen as well – the variety changes seasonally, so you can look forward to something new each visit.

<Store Information>
- Address: 2F, 3-1-3 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo  
- Phone: 080-7584-4930
- Hours: 6 PM - 12 AM
- Closed: Irregular
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seitaro_yanaka/


Source: Tabelog

ICHIGOYA is a cozy, standing wine bar along the Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street. The master carefully selects unique wines from around the world, complemented by cheese and quiche perfect for pairing. Many visit for just one glass, adding to the bar's casual charm.

Even after other shops close, ICHIGOYA stays open, making it ideal for a nightcap while strolling the quiet shopping street and reflecting on your day. 

<Store Information>
- Address: 1-2F, 3-11-12 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: Unknown (Main Store: 03-3293-7515)
- Hours: Mon-Thu 5 PM-10 PM, Fri 5 PM-10:30 PM, Sat/Sun/Holidays 1 PM-9 PM
- Closed: None
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ichigoya_yanaka

Bar Hoshikuzu

Bar Hoshikuzu
Source: Official Facebook

At Bar Hoshikuzu, you can enjoy stylish drinks and cuisine accompanied by the vintage ambiance of vinyl records playing in the background. The music emanating from records has a peculiar depth and nostalgia lacking in digital formats.

The bar's sophisticated offerings, both drinks and dishes, delight the senses visually and flavorfully. After an eventful day of travel, why not unwind at this tranquil bar and bid farewell to your journey in Yanaka Ginza's serene atmosphere?

<Store Information>  
- Address: 7-8-13 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: 080-5169-5128
- Hours: 6 PM - 12 AM  
- Closed: Mondays
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bar.hoshikuzu/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barhoshikuzu/photos

Strolling Yanaka Ginza at Night

Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street

Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street

Most cafes and shops in the Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street close around 6-7 PM, while izakayas typically close by 9-10 PM, limiting nighttime shopping. However, this makes the area perfect for evening strolls despite the lack of open businesses.

Though you can't enter the stores, the traditional Japanese architecture and ambiance remain palpable. With fewer people around and dimmer lighting, the district takes on a different, melancholic charm compared to the lively daytime.

Wander at your own pace and let the gentle night breeze accompany you through this retro shopping street for a unique perspective.

Yanaka Cemetery

Yanaka Cemetery

While Yanaka Cemetery contains graves of many famous Japanese figures, its vast park-like grounds make it ideal for strolls too. From inside, you can spot the iconic Tokyo Skytree, so be sure to admire its illuminated presence during your walk.  

The Skytree is lit up daily from 6:30 PM to midnight, making this the perfect time for a visit. As the cemetery is also renowned for its cherry blossoms, you can enjoy nighttime hanami (flower viewing) under the street lamps here.

Searching for Cats

Yanaka Cemetery Cat

Yanaka Ginza earned the moniker "Cat Town" due to the numerous cats that resided in its shrines, temples, and alleys. Sadly, their population has dwindled, making feline encounters rarer for visitors nowadays.  

Your best chance of spotting cats is at night when they're most active and human traffic is minimal. I often come across them roaming Yanaka Cemetery in the evenings. Why not combine your night stroll there with a little cat-searching?

Yanaka Ginza offers a tranquil, peaceful night atmosphere. While the daytime has its own charms worth exploring, the "Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town" tour is recommended for an efficient visit, covering Nezu Shrine, the shopping street, a cat figurine painting experience, and more by 5 PM. This leaves you free to experience the magical Yanaka Ginza at night afterward.

Tour details: https://www.magical-trip.com/product/460ceb6f-0099-47a6-a447-2de274da7e9f