Just outside the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku Station (Which also happens to be the world-record holding busiest station in the world), is a small group of connecting alleyways which wouldn’t even catch your eye if you were walking past in a hurry.
But these alleyways have recently become one of Tokyo’s most visited attraction by foreigners thanks in part to Lonely Planet reviews and travel documentaries.
Memory Alley (Omoide Yokocho), colloquially known as “Piss Alley” contains a plethora of whole-in -the-wall izakaya’s (Japanese-style pubs) and bars. The alley dates back to post-war Japan as an illegal drinking spot, which due its popularity and lack of restrooms led to its visitors walking to the nearby train tracks to relieve them themselves, hence the name Piss Alley was born.
The area remained unchanged for almost 50-years until 1999 when a fire destroyed most of its layout. But thankfully the local government decided to rebuild the lanes exactly as they were which is why still to this day a stroll through Piss Alley feels like walking into a time machine to the Showa Era.
If you want non-fancy cheap beer in the heart of Tokyo then this is the place. All Izakaya here have you covered for Japanese beer, sake and highballs to drown your sorrows with its regulars.
As the alley began as a place for workmen on the go to get a quick bite to eat, quick and handy street food is what you will find most.
Yakitori is the go-to food in Piss Alley. Next to all restaurants serve it leading to the thick smell of barbeque flavours wafting all around the alley.
Ramen can also be found as a staple for a quick salaryman meal.
Piss Alley should always be paid a visit if you’re in the Shinjuku Area even if your not planning to eat at its establishments. But be aware that it is getting more popular year on year and during lunch and dinner hours the lanes can be quite busy with both patrons and tourists.