What to Do When You Miss Your Last Train in Tokyo
What to Do When You Miss Your Last Train in Tokyo
Unfortunate as it may be, trains don’t run 24 hours in Tokyo. At the latest, some train lines like JR have their last trains past 1 a.m. and then start running again from around 5 a.m. It’s always better to double-check beforehand on apps such as Japan Travel by Navitime to see when your first and last trains are so you don’t get caught out.
However, there may come a moment in your travels where you do miss your last train and fall into a bit of a panic about what to do now. Don’t worry. Tokyo is one of the coolest cities in the world and you can take advantage of the vibrant nightlife it has to offer. From partying it up in the club to having a relaxing experience at the spa until the morning, you might even end up feeling glad that you missed your last train.
Party it up
- Clubs in Tokyo are the ultimate places to go when you’ve missed your last train. You can dance the night away to some pumped up music, and meet some cool people on the dancefloor. It’s common that the entrance prices are cheaper for ladies, but all tickets should come with a free drink. Popular clubs include Club Camelot in Shibuya, A-Life in Nishiazabu/Roppongi, and Warp in Shinjuku.
- Karaoke is an activity loved by the locals and it’s easy to see why; singing your heart out can relieve stress and make you happier overall. It’s also a fun way to pass the time until the first train of the morning. Most karaoke places have “free time” plans which are from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a set price (starting from ¥1,500) and include endless soft drinks. Karaoke Pasela is a popular chain with clean facilities and one of the widest selection of songs in Japan. It also has desserts such as their signature honey toast.
- Hang out at an izakaya (Japanese-style bar) where you can hang out with the locals. At an izakaya such as Torikizoku, you can enjoy an array of different drinks and Japanese food like yakitori (grilled chicken).
- Bars in Tokyo are often packed with locals and foreigners alike and will keep you entertained until the morning. There are also several bars that stay open until the early hours such as the Alternative absinthe BAR in Kabukicho, Shinjuku.
- 24-hour restaurants such as McDonald’s and McCafe are clean, safe and convenient places to kill the time until the first train. Family restaurants such as Denny’s and Jonathan’s are also highly recommended and have some tasty options on their menu.
- Grab some classic Japanese late-night food, like ramen, to help you sober up from your night of heavy drinking or just pass the time if you’re hungry. Ichiran Ramen serves their famous tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen until the early hours of the morning. The Shibuya branch is open 24 hours.
- Convenience stores are mostly open 24 hours and located pretty much everywhere throughout Tokyo. Some have an eat-in spot where you can have a quick meal and a seat while you wait for the first train.
Get some rest
- Net cafes can keep you entertained while you rest, with access to free wifi to help you stay connected. Travellers will find these establishments clean and safe, with the opportunity to catch up on some sleep (unlike the cafe and bar options above). West Side Room in Shibuya is a beautiful net cafe with private, lockable rooms starting from ¥530 per hour (¥1,600 for three hours and a 12-hour stay max). There are also free amenities like face masks, tooth brushes and makeup remover. You can even take a shower for an additional price.
- Japanese spas such as Spa LaQua by Tokyo Dome City are great spots for total relaxation. You can take a shower and relax in the onsen (natural spring bath). You’ll have to pay an overnight fee of ¥1,980 on top of the entrance fee, but this is still a cheaper option than taking a taxi if you missed your last train.
- Cheap accommodation such as love hotels or capsule hotels are ideal options if you want to catch up on some sleep. If you’re a solo traveller, capsule hotels are an ideal choice and budget-friendly. Depending on the place, love hotels might require a partner to book a room, and they can be full on weekends — especially in popular areas like Shibuya.
- Uber home if you have plans early the next morning and need to just get to bed. Uber in Japan can be pricey as there’s only Uber Black (premium black cars), but they don’t charge you an overnight surplus price like taxis.
- Taxis can be affordable, especially if you’re not too far away from your accommodation. If you’re with other travellers, you could split the fare too. Taxis typically start from around ¥400 and increase by ¥80 for roughly every 230 metres. A downside is they often charge an extra 20 percent between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Walk home if you’re staying relatively close to where your night finishes (I tried walking home and it took me three hours, so I don’t recommend this). It can be a peaceful walk and some good exercise if you’re not walking too far, and you get to explore the concrete jungle of Tokyo. A tip would be to make sure you have enough battery on your phone to use Google Maps.
Written by: Rei Ando Nemish
A Japanese and Canadian student, studying in Tokyo, with a passion for food, animals, and adventuring. You can spot her studying in cute cafes on her off days.
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