Missed Your Last Train In Tokyo? Here’s What You Can Do!
Despite Tokyo being dubbed the City That Never Sleeps, it will surprise you to know that between 12:30am and 5am the trains stop running. I have had to deal with the offset of this on multiple occasions; whether it was because I went out with friends, or because I just hung out until late at a restaurant in Shibuya and I need to get to Saitama in time (my Saitama-based homies will know what I mean, because Saitama is further from the city centre than one might expect). So, after having had one year’s experience surviving the night after missing the last train, I’m here to help you with my tips and tricks!
Have a buddy
If you live far from where you’re going out, a great idea is to ask a friend who lives close to the area you’ll be hanging out at if you could crash at their place. Most of my friends live far away, so I have never had this option. It would have been a life saver, though!
Pump yourself up with a cup o’ joe
Most Starbucks’ in Tokyo close at about 10pm (and I know this for sure because I’m legit a #coffeeaddict). But I’ve noticed that some of the shops in Shibuya and Shinjuku (the areas you’ll most likely be hanging out at) stay open till 3am. This makes Starbucks the perfect place to visit if you’ve missed your train in winter, because you can warm yourself up with a nice cup of joe while waiting for the next train. Starbucks will kick you out at about 3:30am, however, so you will have to resort to another “accommodation” if your train is after then.
Eat your sorrows away
McDonalds (and other cheap fast-food restaurants) in touristy areas tend to be open 24/7. So, this is the perfect place to take a siesta when you’re low on cash and need to find a pastime for a few hours.
Play the night away
Another popular all-night attraction in Japan are arcades. These could be considered as popular as karaoke, and slightly less popular than night clubs. If you head to one of these, before you know it you’ll have spent a ton of hours (and money) trying to win that one plush toy at a crane game, beat your high score in a race car game, win a duel at a taiko drum game and get that perfect picture in a purikura photo booth.
Sing till sunrise
Karaoke is the ULTIMATE way of partying in Japan. Rent a booth with friends and you’ll be provided with a TV screen, table and microphones, along with iPads from which you can choose your songs and phones with which you can order food and drinks. The best thing about karaoke bars is that they are open 24/7. If you’re in a bigger group and you can divide the (sometimes expensive) fee of a booth between a few people, this is a nice place to spend the night. Also, for those who get tired, there are benches or sofas in the booth on which you can catch some z’s.
Go for a walk
If it’s a warm night, why not start walking to your destination and take the first train at whatever station you’ve reached by 5am. This is a perfect idea for warm summer nights. And don’t worry about the danger – Japan is one of the safest countries to live in. To illustrate this: back in my home country, I would always jog in the morning because I was too afraid to be out alone at night as a girl. But, since living in Japan, the night has become my favourite time to hit the streets. I have never felt unsafe here. So, it shouldn’t be an issue for you either. Of course, walking is always more fun if you’re with a friend!
Take a taxi
This should only be considered as your last resort, because you will pay an arm, a leg and your first-born child just to get home.
Don’t (I repeat, DON’T) put your dearest belongings in a locker at the nearest train station when you plan to go out partying or other endeavours. Train stations tend to close down completely once the last train has passed, which means you also won’t be able to get into the station until 5am.
This is a good option to get rid of some shopping bags or big backpacks, but don’t put your wallet or anything of great value in there. You might need it during the night. I once left my wallet in my backpack that I had put in a locker. I thought I took out enough money, but hey, Tokyo is expensive. I ended up miscalculating a little and had to survive the night on a few hundred yen (which is equivalent to around US$3) and ended up at McDonald’s eating the cheapest fries.
Have you guys ever missed the last train? Be sure to tell us about what your last resort was and leave any other tips in the comments!