Best Tokyo sayonara party venues
Saying farewell to a city you’ve called home is never easy, but at least we can all attempt to mix in a little fun with the handshakes, hugs and airline tickets.
With good-time goodbyes in mind, here are a few tried-and-true options for a sayonara party that won’t be forgotten.
Is authenticity high on your list of requirements? Look no further then Shin Hinomoto (aka Andy’s). This izakaya under the low-ceilinged railway arches of Yurakucho Station screams Japanese Sayonara and has been a favorite destination since it opened in 1945.
The owner, Andy Lunt, is a Brit but he’s worked at the place for 26 years. The food is fresh from Tsukiji and the prices are extremely reasonable. Food-and-drink party sets starts at ¥4,000 a head.
2-4-4 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, + 81 (0) 3 3214 8021
Monday -- Saturday: 5 p.m. -- late; closed Sunday.
The Pink Cow
You’ve lived in Tokyo for too many years and you want somewhere unconventional to celebrate the last hurrah? The Pink Cow is the place for you. This restaurant and bar doubles as a gallery and is a funky place to throw a party.
“Our place is unique because it really is like having a party in your own home but you don’t have to cook or clean up,” says owner Traci Consoli.
“It’s designed to feel like a big California living room with plenty of couches and different mingling spaces. It's a very personal place and I don’t think anyone else does sayonara parties the way we do them.”
Villa Moderna, B1/F 1-3-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, + 81 (0) 3 3406 5597
Tuesday -- Sunday: 5 p.m. -- late; closed Monday.
After the dinner parties end, the karaoke parties begin. Jorge Bazan, the manager of Smash Hits, invites large groups to come on over to his place.
“Our customers think it's the perfect spot to end the night. Show up with friends or come alone -- you’re guaranteed to bump into someone you know,” he says.
The entrance fee is ¥3,500, which includes two drinks. Or if you want the place to yourself, pre-book for 40 people or more -- ¥7,000 per person buys you an open bar and four hours of karaoke.
Smash Hits also hosts kids’ parties on weekends for ¥30,000, which includes soft drinks. “May and June are big months for parties,” says Bazan, so if you want the mic to yourself, be sure to book ahead.
B1/F, M2 Building, 5-2-26 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, +81 (0) 3444 0432
Tuesday -- Saturday: 8 p.m. -- 3 a.m.
You’re not the type to sit still while you party? Maybe the London Bus is the party locale for you.
Travel around Tokyo on a decommissioned London Bus, eating, drinking and hanging out the windows waving at the non-partying masses. You know you’ll be the center of attention. ¥6,000 per person for all you can drink with a snack.
Reservations online only [Japanese].
Want to go out in style? Two words: Gora Kadan.
OK, it may not actually be in the capital, but the ultimate ryokan experience, Gora Kadan, is in nearby Hakone, about an hour by train from Tokyo. Many rooms sleep six and the rate per person is a hefty ¥50,000, including dinner and breakfast. You won't regret it.
1300 Gora, Hakone-Machi, Ashigarashita-gun, Kanagawa, +81 (0) 460 82 3331
Bonus: Do it yourself
For the person who’s leaving Tokyo with less money then when they arrived, there’s always the “at home” leaving party.
Rent a keg of beer for ¥8,000, including 10 liters of amber nectar, think of a fitting theme and ask your friends to come over in costume to give the old place a proper send off. The possibilities are endless.
"Mata ne," as they say round here...