Drinking Age in Tokyo
The legal age to purchase and consume alcohol in Japan is twenty. The Japanese assure visitors that underage drinking is not a problem simply because it is illegal. While this does not make sense to many people from other countries, once you have been to Japan and spent some time there you will understand that this reasoning makes perfect sense.
There are vending machines on just about every street corner in Tokyo that sell everything from whisky to beer. It is important to respect the laws of the country during your visit and not purchase alcohol unless you are of the legal age to do so. There are video cameras all throughout the city, so you are being watched. However, most of the time the legal drinking age law is not strongly enforced. However, there is absolutely no tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Those who drive drunk are severely punished.
Tokyo Night Life
There is not a centre for night time activity in the city of Tokyo. There are numerous night spots spread all around the city and each has its own unique atmosphere, clientele, and price range. Kabuki-cho, Ginza, and Roppongi are probably the most famous hot spots of the city.
There are numerous bars, clubs, and discoes that are packed with young Japanese men and women. However, when it comes to the older generations the night life is typically only for the males. This is the way it has been in the country for centuries. The high end of this domain is the geisha bars. This is where highly trained women will entertain the men by singing, playing traditional instruments or holding conversations that are witty. There is nothing more risqué about these places. Most of the geisha bars are located in Kyoto and are typically closed to outsiders and extremely expensive. If you are not native to the country there is little chance that you will get to see a geisha bar unless a business associate invites you.
Hostess bars are located all around the city. These bars have been a part of the Japanese culture for years as well. In a hostess bar a woman will sit at your table with you and pour your drinks, talk to you, and listen to any problems that you may have. You will have to buy her drinks as well as yours, which is why the tab can be quite high. Unless you speak fluent Japanese this type of bar is not going to be worth the cost.
Drinking establishments are the most popular night life spots. There are western style bars as well as nomi-ya’s, which are Japanese bars. The younger crowds prefer live music venues and dancing venues.
The low end of the spectrum consists of erotic dance clubs, topless bars, massage parlors, and sex shows.
When out for the night it is important to note that many establishments are going to institute a table charge. This can be anywhere from 300 to 500 yen per person.