Shibuya is one of the most entertaining districts of Tokyo and hosts countless restaurants, bars, and typical Japanese eateries. Despite being known mostly for its futuristic style, big neon signs, and flashy advertisements, Shibuya is also home to very peculiar streets such as the famous ‘Yokocho’ – small backstreet alleys packed with local bars and eateries serving local food.
Every city in Japan has its own Yokocho where you can find local dishes from the specific prefecture you find yourself in. Well, no need to travel too far away anymore if you want to taste all the different food that Japan has to offer! After 6 years of planning Shibuya came up with a way to have it all in the same place: situated on the south first floor of the brand new Rayard Miyashita Park building is Shibuya Yokocho (渋谷横丁), a cluster of izakayas sitting right next to each other along a 100-meter indoor alley, providing in total approximately 2500 food items, making it a wonderful daily food festival!
The interior design of Shibuya Yokocho is meant to resemble an old-fashioned shopping arcade, and each of the 19 shops that are present showcase a different look: candy store, bathhouse, shops with retro lanterns hanging from the ceiling and much more.
They all represents a specific prefecture and its cuisine: from ramen and fresh sushi of the north of Hokkaido, to the soba and famous stir-fry Chanpuru dish of the south of Okinawa, you will have several prefectures to choose from, as well as a section dedicated to the most beloved South Korean cuisine. Of course, Japan’s most famous drinks—such as sake, shochu, and other refreshing local beverages—are on tap as well.
They make it even easier for you to try all the dishes from different prefectures and maybe even compare all the different styles of making the same dish: if you download their app you can order directly through your phone from the menu of one of the neighboring restaurants, and the food will be delivered straight to your table!
A very nice addition to this cozy atmosphere is the fact that each shop is equipped with a screen that is broadcasting a TV program from that specific prefecture, for an even more unique and local experience!
If you head to the end of the alley, you will find a big section dedicated to themed events, where they will be hosting traditional dances from different prefectures, recreating local festivals, and having DJ music performances.
Another interesting feature of this section of the alley is the Rikishi Meshi Man restaurant serving chanko-nabe — the food typically eaten by Sumo wrestlers, easily recognizable thanks to the huge poster displayed above it, showing Japan’s current highest-ranked sumo wrestler. You may even encounter retired sumo wrestlers hanging around the restaurant from time to time!
At the very end of the alley you will see a staircase leading to the 2nd floor, a big room with a really nice and nostalgic atmosphere reminiscent of the 1980s of the Japanese Showa era.
This is Omoide, a junkissa/snack bar, where you will find a comfortable seating area, a bar counter where you can order drinks from, and a small stage with a karaoke player and microphones for those who want to have some more fun and possibly more interaction with other locals!
The main idea behind Shibuya Yokocho is to display the old Japanese culture and show it to the new generations and to all those who are looking to immerse themselves into a really unique and authentic Japanese atmosphere.
For now, opening hours will be from 10am to 11pm, but they will most likely change to 24 hours as originally planned, once the current Covid situation settles down. So to keep a safer environment where everyone can feel a bit more at ease they decided to limit the opening times, as well as cutting by half the available seats – there will be 600 seats inside and about 300 for the outdoor section.
Shibuya Yokocho has a festive atmosphere that’s hard not to find attractive. The venue aims at bringing together residents and visitors, and people of all ages and walks of life, through a really brilliant setup and Japan’s best soul food.