Paint the Town Green

Paint the Town Green

Tokyo gets ready for a slew of St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans


Originally published on on March 2011

Photos by Shigeru Matsuzaki

Around Town

The Tokyo St. Patrick’s Day Parade reaches the ripe old age of 20 this year. Japan’s largest Irish jamboree unfurls on the tree-lined avenue of Omotesando from 2-4pm on March 13, though you can be sure that the festivities will continue a lot later at the city’s various watering holes. The 2011 Parade Queen makes her official debut a few nights earlier, at a gala event at Modapolitica in Aoyama on March 9 ( The following weekend, Yokohama gets in on the act with a parade of its own, held in Motomachi from 1-4pm. Then there’s the inaugural Chiba St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which kicks off at Kaihin-Makuhari station from 2pm on March 20. See for details.

As if three parades weren’t enough, the Irish Network Japan will also be throwing a St. Patrick’s Celebration Night at SuperDeluxe on March 18 (B1, 3-1-25 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku;, with music from what they describe as “three of Japan’s hottest Irish bands”—a crowded field, we’re sure. Bop around to the sounds of Johnsons Motorcar, Mutiny and The Onset of Jimmy O’Higgins, or sit back and let the Ardagh School Dancers show you how it’s really done.

If you’re looking for a more upscale option, there are still a few tickets left for the Emerald Ball, an annual black-tie gala event organized by the Ireland Fund of Japan. As per usual, the ball will be taking place in the plush surrounds of The Westin Tokyo in Ebisu on the evening of March 19, with live music, Irish dancing and a star-studded list of attendees. Tickets cost ¥25,000 per person, including a hearty dinner and free-flowing drinks, with vegetarian meals available by advance request. See for details.

Dubliners Irish Pub

Why settle for a single day of fun when you can get a whole week’s worth? Branches of the Dubliners are offering all their beer at ¥800 per pint from March 13-16 (from March 14 at the Akasaka branch), in the build-up to the main event on the 17th, when there’ll be live Irish music (call for more info) and all pints for a piddling ¥500 at all branches. It’s got the makings of a memorable night, and you can pick up a 2011 Dubliners original T-shirt to mark the occasion (just in case your own recollections get a little hazy, eh?). If that still isn’t enough merriment for you, there’s also the pub crawl option: visit all six Dubliners between now and March 16 to receive a VIP card that will entitle you to ¥800 pints and ¥500 half-pints at all branches, all the time.

Shinjuku: 2F Shinjuku Lion Hall, 3-28-9 Shinjuku. Tel: 03-3352-6606. Nearest stn: Shinjuku, east exit; Shibuya: 2F Dogenzaka Center Bldg, 2-29-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5459-1736. Nearest stn: Shibuya, Hachiko exit; Shinagawa: B1 Grand Passage, 2-16-3 Konan, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6718-2834. Nearest stn: Shinagawa, Konan exit; Ikebukuro: B1 Sun Gorou Bldg, 1-10-8 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku. Tel: 03-5951-3614. Nearest stn: Ikebukuro, west exit; Akasaka: B1 Sanno Park Tower, 2-11-1 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3539-3615. Nearest stn: Tameike-Sanno; Toranomon: 1F New Toranomon Bldg, 1-1-18 Toranomon, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5501-1536. Nearest stn: Toranomon, exit 9. Call for hours and music line-up.

Paddy Foley’s

Tokyo’s first and most famous Irish pub celebrates St. Patrick’s Day 2011 with a full line-up of activities, including an Irish-flavored all-night party on March 17. From March 12-20, Paddy Foley’s will be serving a special menu of Irish food, whiskies and beer (sets for ¥1,000; special “Irish flag” shots for ¥500 each). Their after-parade party on March 13 promises to be quite the shindig, with Irish musician Cashel heading up a night of lively traditional jigs. On St. Patrick’s Day itself, meanwhile, there’ll be an Irish dance session with ceílí band Mutiny and the Paddy’s Dancers from 8pm. Special beers will be available throughout the festivities for only ¥600, with live broadcasts of 6 Nations rugby matches (March 19) and the Cheltenham Gold Cup (March 18) promising to heighten the excitement.

B1 Roi Bldg, 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3497-9900. Open Mon-Thu 6pm-late, Fri 5pm-late, Sat 1pm-late, Sun 3pm-late. Nearest stn: Roppongi.

Seamus O’Hara

Meguro stalwart Seamus O’Hara is splitting its celebrations over two days this year. On March 13, take in live Irish music by Mutiny from 6-10pm, then head back on the 17th for a bevy of DJs spinning folk and punk from the Emerald Isle (from 8pm). As good as that all sounds, we suspect that most people will be there for the libations: Guinness, Kilkenny, Heineken, Sapporo and Bass Pale Ale will all be going for just ¥500 a pint on both nights. Soak up all that alcohol with special dishes including a hearty Irish breakfast (¥1,200) and Irish smoked salmon salad (¥1,000).

B1, 3-12-3 Meguro, Meguro-ku. Tel: 03-3760-6179. Open Mon-Thu 6pm-2am (4pm on March 17), Fri 6pm-4:30am, Sat noon-4:30am, Sun & hols 12pm-midnight. Nearest stn: Meguro.