OWL Magazine Korea

Tokyo, The Ultimate Entertainment District “Kabukicho”

In the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, there are various attractions to explore. Particularly, Kabukicho in Shinjuku is known as one of the most famous places. This area is not only a well-known tourist spot but is also considered somewhat risky in Tokyo, earning its reputation as a major entertainment district not only in Japan but also in Asia.

“Originating from Plans to Build Kabuki Theaters After World War II”

Kabukicho was established as part of Japan’s post-World War II revival efforts. The project to create a bustling district in Shinjuku began in 1948. The name “Kabukicho” originated from plans to construct Kabuki theaters in the area, although the theaters themselves were never built. Instead, Kabukicho gained fame for its Tokyo nightlife, transforming into a district with a concentration of bars, restaurants, karaoke joints, host bars, and clubs.

“Brightening the Atmosphere with the Arrival of Godzilla Head”

Kabukicho has seen improvements in safety compared to the past. While caution is still advisable, it has become a significantly safer area. In 2015, Japan’s largest film company, TOHO, constructed the TOHO Cinemas building in Kabukicho. This building houses a high-end hotel called “Hotel Gracery,” several upscale restaurants, and features a prominent “Godzilla Head” visible from the outside. The area gained the name “Godzilla Street,” attracting not only those seeking Tokyo’s nightlife but also many general tourists. This transformation contributed to a brighter atmosphere and improved safety.

Despite the improved ambiance, it’s advisable to exercise caution when visiting Kabukicho. As you walk through the streets, you may encounter individuals engaged in solicitation. Since their intentions are unpredictable, it’s wise to be cautious. Additionally, Kabukicho is expansive, with intricate alleyways. For those not familiar with Kabukicho, getting lost is a possibility. Travelers should be careful and plan ahead.

“Free Information Centers in Kabukicho”

Throughout Kabukicho, you’ll come across signs saying “無料案内所” (Free Information Center). While it might give the impression of offering free travel information, these places are not intended for that purpose. They provide information related to adult entertainment establishments, so it’s advisable to avoid entering.

“Setting for the Japanese Drama ‘Midnight Diner’”

One notable Japanese drama is “Midnight Diner,” centered around cooking and revealing the stories of adults connected through food. The backdrop of this series is a small restaurant in Shinjuku Kabukicho. Late-night customers primarily consist of individuals such as yakuza, AV actresses, and those involved in the entertainment industry.

The place serving as the background for this series is Shinjuku Golden Gai. Originally a spot for illicit activities, it transformed into an alley filled with small bars and pubs after the implementation of anti-prostitution laws in 1958.

“Kabukicho Was Safer Than Expected”

Having visited Kabukicho during my Tokyo travels, I found the area to be safer than anticipated. While I visited with a sense of caution due to stories about its safety, the actual experience was not bad. However, it’s worth noting that individuals soliciting can be a nuisance in some areas. Moreover, there were broadcasts in Korean at various locations in Kabukicho, cautioning against following strangers. The broadcasts added an intriguing element to the experience. While Kabukicho’s safety is maintained not by the police but reportedly by the yakuza, it’s advisable to exercise extra caution when visiting the area at night.

“Tokyo, Shinjuku Kabukicho”