LOCATED NEAR THE BUSIEST TRAIN STATION IN THE WORLD, a tiny alley of around 60 small bars and restaurants linked by a narrow street just wide enough for two to pass stands in a stark contrast to its crowded neighbor.
Omoide Yokocho (“Memory Lane”) is a maze of narrow alleys, located just north of Shinjuku Station more commonly known as “Piss Alley” in English. It has become another one of Tokyo’s slightly off-beat tourist attractions.The buildings are old and mostly run down, the food stalls very traditional, the visiting crowd multilingual. At dinner time, when it gets most crowded here, tired Tokyo office workers relax with a beer and a few sticks of yakitori chicken at the food stalls, sitting next to excited tourists chattering loudly in Chinese, Cantonese, English or Korean.
This is one of the most iconic places to experience old-world Tokyo atmosphere.Dining at Memory Lane is not for everyone. If you like perfectly clean and quiet restaurants, formal, polite service, and non-smoking establishments, you’ll be out of luck here. This is where you come to experience izakaya dining at its most raucous and informal. This is an evening or nighttime experience; forget about coming here for lunch. Squeeze yourself into a tiny, smoky, counter seating-only bar with years of accumulated soot and grease on its walls. Order a beer and some grilled meat skewers, and talk to the folks next to you. It’ll be a night to remember.
Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho (old school restaurant lane)
1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0023
Varies by shop
Train: 1-minute walk from the west exit of Shinjuku Station.