After  our full day in Shibuya, we were all pretty tired, but I decided I’d go for a walk in Shinjuku, specifically in the Golden Gai and Kabukicho.  I actually ended up worsening my cold, which I had been covering for the past week, but it was still worth it!

Camera configuration: Nikon D800 equipped with a 24-70 mm f/2.8 Nikon lens or 50 mm f/1.8 Nikon lens.

All right, on my way there, I past by this huge selection of drinks; I just find this concept really practical, whenever you’re thirsty, you just walk one corner and voilà!


I then past by the Hanazono shinto shrine which is right beside the Golden Gai. Apparently a very popular destination for the local Yakuza.



Ten minutes from our hotel I reached the Golden Gai, more than 200 small bars/restaurants where many artists, actors, writers, singers, etc. meet up for a drink at the end of the day. Many of these places only have five places!  It’s also important to add that strangers are often not welcome. I could have stayed here for hours to take pictures; these six small alleys are just the perfect Bladerunner setting.

Golden Gai

Golden Gai 2

Just one of the small alleys between the, well, bigger alleys…


Each bar has its own style and theme…

Golden Gai Cat

Just after taking this picture, I felt a presence beside me… As soon as I turned around, I found myself face to face with a young and completely drunk Japanese.  We “talked” for a few minutes, myself trying to understand what he wanted and him trying to find the right words! Apparently he really liked Canadian music, although he couldn’t think of the name of a single band while I was there!

Out of the blue

I installed my tripod for this shot; I should have bracketed these shots, the signs are just really bright and the rest really dark… nevertheless, the photos came out pretty well.

Golden Gai

Ahhh, this is the type of setting I just dream of!

Golden Gai

The call


Multiple colors

I wasn’t the only tourist apparently…

The tourists

After the Golden Gai, I started walking towards the Kabukicho, the red light district of Tokyo. Here is a photo taken on the main street in Shinjuku. Oh how much I would’ve given to be able to read Japanese… we were always limited to the ground floor since we could see what was there, but as you can see, each floor has something to offer!

The main street

Shinjuku signs

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures in the Golden Gai, it was simply packed with people… this is understandable since we were Friday night and everybody was out.  Also during the five to ten minutes I was there, I was offered services three times! Once by an old Japanese man who was pretty direct: “Sex?!” and twice by Afro-Americans who wanted a fist bump; incidentally these are the only “black people” I saw during my whole trip. Our discussion went something like this:

A: “What are you doing here brother?”
Myself: “Just walking around and taking pictures”
A: “Let me tell you, the photos are much nicer inside!”
Myself: “Thanks, but my wife is waiting for me!”




One last shot before heading back to my hotel and to my sleeping wife and daughter.


That’s all for now. Next up, Asakusa and the Sanja Matsuri festival!

1 Comment

  1. Lia
    August 5, 2013

    Love these pics! Would be great to frame a few when I finally move it 🙂


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