This dark and intimate bar is located only five minutes from the ever-bustling Shibuya train station.
If you can find the subterranean entrance, the temple-like Tantra is a welcome retreat from the frantic pace of Tokyo life, making it a favourite of locals and foreigners in the know.
Descending down a narrow incense-filled stairway, guests are asked by staff to wait while a space is prepared. Customers will be seated in either the main bar area or in one of two smaller curtained alcoves.
Guests will find themselves reclining back on sumptuous floor cushions, soothed by soft ambient music. In the two alcoves, sectioned off with draped fabric, there are screens that play an endless stream of abstract images.
The bar is decorated with Tantric stone sculptures, panels and figures. A large Buddha’s head rests in the centre of the main room. Candles are the only source of light and feed the otherworldly atmosphere - a sanctuary from the madness above.
Address: B1F Ichimainoe Bldg., 3-5-5 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: Open 8 p.m.-5 a.m. Monday to Saturday.
Food and drink served.
The Warrior Celt is a friendly Scottish-style pub located up a slightly dingy flight of stairs in central Ueno. It is both a favourite with local salarymen in search of a pint of guinness on the way home and a younger crowd attracted by live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Near Ueno station, down the rodeo street and look for the sign.
This alleyway, lined with tiny restaurants and sushi bars, has seen better days but offers an authentic taste of old Tokyo. But don’t leave it too long – the alleyway’s restaurants will move to new premises in a few years to make way for developers. It’s low on comfort, but very atmospheric. If you are into striking up conversations with fellow diners, this is the place.
In the Shinjuku district
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