Tiny bars crowd the labyrinth of narrow alleyways, squeezed into a corner of Shinjuku's Kabuki-cho entertainment district. Its history dates back to the black market after the Second World War. The narrow streets of tiny two-story wooden buildings retain the 1950s aspect, dating from their original construction. The distinctive atmosphere of each bar draws the artistic set from around the city. Some catering to the literary crowd are frequented by writers and editors, while others cater to the world of theater. Some bars have politicians as their regulars. This small area has played a vital role in creating the culture of modern Japan.
Most bars are little more than 10 m2. Second story bars are reached by almost vertical staircases. Some bars fit no more than 10 customers, meaning small groups and fast drinking are the house rules. Recent years have seen an explosion of fashionable stores targeting young people, and the short distances make a window-shopping pub crawl a pleasure. Please be aware that permission is required to take photos in some areas.