Yoyogi Broadway

Yoyogi Broadway

Tokyo slices of art, dining and nightlife


Yoyogi Broadway

Yoyogi is the perfect little slice of Tokyo that has been hiding right under our noses. It’s small enough that it flies under the radar of the tourist flocks, but lively enough to have cultivated its own micro-culture and food scene. 

Giving a stage to that culture is Yoyogi Broadway. In a neat little section between Shinjuku Gyoen and Meiji Jingu, Yoyogi Broadway covers food and recreation in a way that will make you want to keep coming back. At one end you’ll find an izakaya (traditional pub) with an open-air rooftop adorned with lanterns, and at the other, a modern art gallery with a clean and minimalist aesthetic. 

One of the reasons Yoyogi Broadway covers so much is that it encompasses three different sections, each with a welcoming atmosphere where customers and staff alike can get to know each other: Hoboshinjuku Norengai, the Souko Bekkan, and 10th Place. Hoboshinjuku Norengai gets its name from the traditional noren curtains at the entrance to restaurants, combined with gai meaning “block” or “town.” Unsurprisingly, the area is filled with eateries sporting noren with their own original designs. Soukou Bekkan is a covered area with neon lights and funky signs for all sorts of culinary options, creating an atmosphere inspired by the streets of Hong Kong. Finally, 10th Place is characterized by the eye-catching Broadway Diner and the modern stylings of GALLERY10 [TOH]. 

What might surprise you most about the attraction is how the scenery transforms between day and night. You might stumble across the mini Statue of Liberty on the way to visit Meiji Jingu during the day, only to find yourself asking “is this the way we came?” when you walk back to find lanterns glowing and beer flowing on your evening return. 

But not every restaurant here is lit up with lanterns. Sushi no Darihan has an unassuming front door, with nothing but photos of the day’s catches and handwritten menus to tell you where you are. All the more energy for them to spend on finding the best, most affordable fish at Yokohama Port every morning. “Every morning when we’re told what fish is coming in, the team decides how to use it together,” they tell us. 

Yoyogi Broadway

Sushi no Darihan’s manager, Win, also spoke to their originality when it comes to food and affordability. “Everyone is currently raising their prices, and the owner hates being like everyone else. This goes for the prices and the food itself. Other places often sell at 2.5x market price, but sometimes we even sell at market price. It’s the same with our alcohol.” 

“We think of ourselves more as a fish shop that happens to sell sushi, rather than a sushi place.” 

Sushi no Darihan opens for business at 4pm, a time you might usually be hard-pressed to find any non-chain restaurants open nearby. But at Yoyogi Broadway that is the norm, not the outlier. Most spots open at around 2pm here, and the gallery at 1pm. So you could easily visit the gallery, have a late lunch, and go bar hopping all in this one area and still feel like there’s more to explore. You might find yourself wrapped in the smoky aromas of grilled yakitori chicken at Shinkei, or sipping on an elegant glass of red at Awadsutsumi. 

To let visitors know where Hoboshinjuku Norengai begins and ends during their exploring, establishments are marked with a traditional numbering system using hiragana characters. If you’re familiar with that alphabet or want to learn a few characters, look out for the following: い ろ は に ほ へ と ち り ぬ. Each one represents a different restaurant and is marked on the wooden maps you’ll find here and there. Small nods to tradition and izakaya culture like this can be found all across Yoyogi Broadway, adding to the overall atmosphere. 

All these little touches make for pretty good photos, too. The entire area is a Japan traveler’s dream, with warm lighting and photogenic exteriors at every corner, and points of contrasting aesthetic for something different. 

You can walk through the streets in the early morning to get the perfect camera angle with no visitors around, and return at midday for that dazzling afternoon sun and a peek inside GALLERY10. Or go later in the day to marvel at the creative graffiti on the terrace at teatime, then go izakaya-hopping with your travel partner in the evening. But however you choose to spend your time at Yoyogi Broadway, you’ll always be welcomed with a different atmosphere and plenty to take in.