Drunkard's Alley, Shibuya

Tokyo’s unapologetic development can get a little tiring sometimes- inside the circular Yamanote line, it’s hard to escape towering skyscrapers, manicured lawns, and hordes of pedestrians, heads down, headed from one train to another.

Sometimes, though, you find a respite from it all, a little piece of “shitamachi” (literallly ‘downtown,’ but means a traditional, working-class neighborhood) tucked away between department stores or besides train tracks. Conversation, laughter, and the smell of ramen waft out from half-closed paper doors, and you feel like you’ve gone back in time thirty years (or so I imagine; I wasn’t exactly around to compare). After a pretty lame Myspace happyoukai (presentation party), my friend Dominic showed me one of these hidden alleys (“Drunkard’s Alley” is his moniker for the street).

Drunkard's Alley

Behind Half-Closed  Doors

渋谷か下町?

Journeyman

Hack Hack

Hack Hack Dumpster

Face Breaker

Nonbei, as the sign calls it, is about a one-minute walk from Hachiko, right next to the Yamanote tracks. If you want to see what it looks like by day, check out Shibuya246’s post on it.