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Cool (non-gaijin) bars in Osaka? 2007/12/31 07:54
As you know, in Japan, there's always so many bars in every building in entertainment areas in every city in Japan.

I'm always interested in finding new, cool, interesting bars (not gaijin bars, but which may be friendly to foreigners who speak some Japanese - as opposed to being afraid of foreign guests, language difficulties etc.)

I've found occasional cool recommendations, from Lonely Planet, Time Out guides and occasional websites, but this information is very thin-on-the-ground.

Examples of very cool bars I've found in the past:
- In Tokyo's Shinjuku: Rock Bar Mother
- In Tokyo: Ninja Bar
- In Osaka and Tokyo: The Lockup
- In Tokyo: Kagaya

If I hadn't found obscure little articles recommending these places, I would never have found them.

Are there any good resources (online, or in magazines - Kansai Walker perhaps?!?) for finding interesting new little bars from the maze of all of the available ones?

Preferably information in English would be good - but if it's in Japanese, I could get help with understanding it.

I live in Osaka so am especially interested in places here, but resources for finding information in Japan generally would also be good.

Thanks very much,
by HP  

cool bars 2008/1/1 13:23
Actually, any place recommended by major guides, including Lonely Planet, is anything but cool. They are full of foreign tourists (gaijin is rather derogatory) that are in many cases the nice but clueless ones from Boise or Bremerton and other god-forsaken places..If you speak some Japanese ask the staff in your hotel and be sure to insist that you don't want a place where most people are foreign tourists.
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

Ninja!? 2008/3/19 12:51
Where is the Ninja bar?
I haven't had any luck finding an address/directions through googling...
by Loxy rate this post as useful

Ninja bar location etc. 2008/3/26 10:14
I'll just dig up some info I have archived in past emails about these places...

1) Kagaya
What is it?: The owner's a nutter who likes dressing up like a bull, a frog etc. etc. It's the most surreal bar on earth!
Details: It was described on the www.timeout.com/tokyo website, but the bars section has gone. Go to Shinbashi station (and take the Karasumori exit) stop on the Yamanote line, and ask for directions to this address: Kaga-ya, Hanasada Building, B1F, 2-15-12 Shinbashi, Minato-ku Telephone: Tokyo (03) 3591 2347
Open: 5.30-11.30pm Mon-Sat
More info: Here's the description from my printout from the website that first got me interested in this place: "When the awards for the strangest place in Tokyo are handed out, the master of this bar, who goes by the very un-Japanese name of Mark, will be somewhere near the front of the queue. On arrival, you will be handed a cocktail list which is nothing more than a list of countries. Once you've placed your order, the master will disappear into a cupboard and reappear dressed in a costume reflecting the country you've chosen. The drink itself may be in a vibrating glass, a glass that moos when picked up, or a soup bowl.
Once the drinks round it over, you will be encouraged to play games and dress up. small portions of delicious food are provided as part of the 500 Yen cover charge, cooked by the master's tolerant mother. Go in a party of at least six (call to book, it's a small place) and you'll have the time of your life. The billing system is mysterious; no matter how much you eat and drink here, it always seems to come to 2,500 Yen a head." Web sites: - There's a review (and a photo of the bar owner in his frog outfit and another with loads of teddies!?!)
- The bar's English web page: http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/%7Ekagayayy/index_e.html

2) Rock Bar: Mother
What is it?: A very cool underground divey bar in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district that plays very loud rock music, and has a cosy bar which sits around 8 or so people. You'll know when you're nearby, as the music blasts out from the speakers at ground level when you walk past.
Website: http://www.rockbarmother.jp/ (includes a map)
Directions to it on this webpage: http://www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/tips/1163

3) Ninja Bar
This is a chain of theme restaurant bars in Tokyo where
all the staff dress as ninjas and keep disappearing / doing tricks / opening secret doors and passageways!?!
There's one near Akasaka-mitsuke station, but you need to book a table in advance for this place.
Here's more info and pictures about the Akasaka branch:

4) The Lockup
I mentioned that there's one in Kyoto, but there's one in Ikebukuro in Tokyo too... a prison-themed bar where you have dinner at a table in a cell, and strange things happen during the evening.. all the staff are dressed as prison warders, and if you're the organiser, or the birthday boy / girl, on arrival you'll be handcuffed to the staff member who greets you and takes your party to your cell.
You may need to book this in advance during busy periods too.
More info about this restaurant's Shibuya branch:
The Lockup official website:
Info about the Ikebukuro branch:

Hope this helps - have fun.. and if you or anyone knows where to find info about other quirky, or just cool bars in Japan, please let me know.
by HP rate this post as useful

Oops 2008/3/26 10:16
Sorry - that Ninja Bar page no longer works - you can find the address and more info about it and other cool Tokyo bars here:
by HP rate this post as useful

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