This ramshackle block of tiny bars became golden just in time for the ‘64 Olympics. By day, there’s not much to see here except for dozens of stray cats. But by night, the closet-sized bars, some accessed by stairways steep enough to bruise your shins as you ascend, light up and fill up, mostly with off-duty office workers. There’s been much speculation about the demise of Golden Gai’s rickety structures and narrow alleyways, but for the moment it seems a new generation is buying in and quietly setting up shop.
Access: Golden Gai is a short walk from the east exit of Shinjuku Station, between the Shinjuku City Office and the Hanazono Shrine.