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Sports bars are a great place to start your journey in Tokyo.

sports bars in tokyo

Did you know there are several sports bars conveniently located in and around Tokyo? Here you can experience the energy and excitement along with locals and other visitors, who share your passion for sports.

Roppongi

Legends Sports Bar

Legends Sports Bar photo1

Champion of Tokyo’s Sports Bar Scene

By Julian Ryall

With no fewer than eight large-screen televisions dotted throughout the bar—including one conveniently in the gents’ toilets—and access to hundreds of sports channels showing games from around the world, Legends Sports Bar is ready for anything.

The bar has become a landmark in Tokyo’s Roppongi district since it opened in 2004—and it has earned a reputation as the place where professional sportsmen and women come to watch games when they are in Japan.

“We can show eight different sports at the same time and we have always been big on rugby and baseball coverage since we opened,” said Mark Spencer, founding owner of the bar.

To underline his point, the screens in the bar are presently showing the latest leg of the Tour de France, a rugby league game being played in Australia, a J-League soccer match, and an Aussie rules game. The following week, the bar planned to screen live the finals of Wimbledon and the Cricket World Cup, along with the British Grand Prix.

“This place is famous, and we have a great position, so we have had the All Blacks players come in here for a drink, and the Welsh team comes by when they are here for a game. We regularly have baseball players and Formula One drivers coming in—and it’s nice for customers to be able to rub elbows with sportsmen that they’ll later be cheering on,” said Spencer.

Legends Sports Bar photo2

In true sports bar tradition, the walls of Legends are covered in sporting memorabilia. A signed Argentina soccer shirt is alongside a Brazilian strip signed by Pele. A framed England cricket shirt signed by the 2005 team hangs next to Takuma Sato’s Formula One all-in-one driving suit. A glass-fronted cabinet displays dozens of baseballs signed by some of the biggest names in the game, including Randy Bass, Boomer Wells, Tuffy Rhodes, and Bobby Valentine.

Elsewhere, a selection of signed baseball bats is in a rack on the wall, beside an ice hockey stick. Signed golf balls are in another case on the counter—alongside the cigar selection—and the bar boasts an impressive collection of bobblehead baseball dolls.

“I think it’s great that Japan is attracting one of the biggest sporting events in the world and raising the profile of sports like rugby here,” said Spencer, although he points out that Japan is in a “tricky group” in Rugby World Cup 2019 and will need to put in a good performance in their first game, against Russia on September 20, if they are to progress.

Legends Sports Bar photo3

Ben Fraser, an Australian who works in the financial sector and has been in Japan since 1994, says the atmosphere in a bar like Legends is all-important to the experience.

“For Japanese people who maybe don’t know much about rugby, this will be the perfect place to watch some of the World Cup games,” he said. “And for anyone who can’t get tickets, being here will be the next best thing because the atmosphere will be electric.

“I was here in 2002, when Japan co-hosted the football World Cup and I am sure there will be just as much excitement and enthusiasm as there was across the country then,” he said.

Name Legends Sports Bar
Address 1F, Aoba Roppongi Building, 3-16-33 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Location About 6-minute walk from Roppongi Station (Hibiya and Toei Oedo Lines)
Tel 03-3589-3304
URL More information

Shinjuku

No Side Club

No Side Club photo1

Passion for Sport Runs Strong at the Rugby Bar in Tokyo

By Julian Ryall

  With tens of thousands of avid—and thirsty—rugby fans about to descend upon Japan, Masakazu Takeuchi has been busy making plans. In preparation for Rugby World Cup 2019, his No Side Club bar will start taking delivery of three times the amount of beer that he normally has in stock.

  “This World Cup is really important for Japanese rugby,” he said. “Baseball and football are the established sports in Japan, and it is important that rugby capitalizes on this tournament to make itself popular.”

  “I am really hoping that Japan can do well in the World Cup, which will make more people take notice of rugby and want to get involved,” he added.

  Takeuchi opened No Side Club in 2011 and it is the dedicated rugby bar in Tokyo. The bar has signed rugby shirts on the wall, including one of the distinctive red-and-white striped jerseys that Japan’s “BRAVE BLOSSOMS” wear when they take to the pitch—as well as scarves, photos and other memorabilia.

No Side Club photo2

Statuettes of a number of famous players are on the bar, along with a number of rugby balls. On the bar’s large television screens, New Zealand’s Hurricanes are playing the South African Bulls in Wellington in the quarter-final of the Super Rugby tournament, a match that the home team will eventually win 35–28.

  Takeuchi, who wears a T-shirt with the designation “Master” on the back, plays hooker for the bar team and has fond memories of Japan’s first match at the 2015 World Cup in England, where Japan beat the highly rated South African team in a frantic finale. To many, the 34–32 result is widely considered the biggest upset in rugby history.

  “We had about 70 people in here that night and it was an incredible result,” he said. This time, Takeuchi hopes that Japan can at least make it through to the last eight teams. Samuel Ducroquet, who was also at the No side club when I visited there, has been the Olympic attaché at the French Embassy since arriving in Tokyo 10 months ago and agrees that the World Cup is a “great opportunity” for the sport to gain a broader following here.

  “It’s very important that the game is presented to a new audience because that can introduce a new generation of players to rugby and encourage others who are already playing,” said Ducroquet, who played as a winger for his home town club, Dunkirk, when he was younger. “This is also a great opportunity for world rugby to expand into a relatively new market.”

No Side Club photo3

  Ducroquet adds that he has been very impressed by the passion and pride that Japanese supporters have in their team, but also the good sportsmanship that they display at every game. “I have also been really pleasantly surprised at the matches that I have been to with the depth of knowledge that rugby fans here have,” he added. “They really know the game and I’m sure the World Cup will have a very positive impact.”

Name No Side Club
Address 2F, Castle Anzai Bldg., Takada 3-10-22, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Location About 5 minutes walk from Takadanobaba station (JR Line)
Tel 03-3209-0723
URL More information

Shibuya

The Aldgate

The Aldgate photo1

Rugby World Cup 2019 has begun!! Japan prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of excited fans. Many establishments all across Tokyo are preparing to welcome an influx of visitors looking for places to watch their favorite teams.

The Aldgate, a traditional British pub in the heart of Shibuya, Tokyo, opened in 1995. Welcomed by a sign reading “Hot beer, lousy food, bad service,” customers get a quick introduction to dry British humor and sarcasm. Filled with wooden booths and bar stools, a handwritten list of beers on tap, and a small brick fireplace, the pub is cozy, warm, and very atmospheric.

Like many typical British pubs, the Aldgate streams a wide variety of rugby, football and other sports. With four screens around the bar, visitors can enjoy the games from almost any angle.

The Aldgate photo2

On August 10, the pub hosted a night of back-to-back games. First was a live broadcast of the Australia vs. New Zealand Bledisloe Cup opener at 6:30pm. The pub steadily filled with viewers as the game started. Some fans from New Zealand could be heard—and seen—shouting “Come on Blacks!” as the team performed their famous haka (Maori ceremonial dance or challenge).

Straight after, the West Ham vs. Man City Premier League football game came on, attracting more punters. A Rugby World Cup warmup match between Ireland and Italy was broadcast on the big screen an hour before the Premier League match between their favorite teams.

Enjoying a broad selection of 21 different draft beers on offer, including the house craft specials—Aldgate Ale and Porter—sport fans from Britain, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Japan came together to cheer on their favorite teams while sharing a drink and lively conversation.

Throughout the night, customers could order food from a wide selection of traditional British pub grub, such as fish and chips, cottage pie, and bangers and mash. The pub also offers vegetarian and gluten-free options. Bilingual and international staff were on hand throughout the night to take orders and chat with customers.

The Aldgate photo3

Whether they are visitors or residents, the Aldgate plans to welcome all fans for Rugby World Cup 2019—just as they always do. When asked what preparations the pub is making for the start of the event in September, Hiroyuki Hanaka, the owner of the Aldgate, replied, “We aren’t planning anything special or specific. We are just going to keep showing games and doing what we’re doing.”

Rugby World Cup 2019 will be sure to unite rugby fans from all corners of the world, and sports bars and viewing pubs will provide fans without tickets a place to watch the matches and soak up the unique atmosphere.

Name The Aldgate
Address Shin-Iwasaki Building 3F 30-4 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Location About 4-minute walk from Shibuya Station (JR and Keio Inokashira Lines)
Tel 03-3462-2983
URL More information

THE FooTNiK

THE FooTNiK photo1
Name THE FooTNiK
Address 1F, Asahi Bldg., 1-11-2 Ebisu, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo
Location About 1-minute walk from Ebisu station (JR Line), or about 2-minute walk from Ebisu station (Hibiya Line)
Tel 03-5795-0144
URL More information

Marunouchi

HUB Hibiya branch

HUB Hibiya branch photo1

British Atmosphere, Global Sportsmanship

The dark wood paneling, burnished brass, and soft leather seats at the Hibiya location of the hugely popular HUB chain of pubs in central Tokyo are reminiscent of a traditional British country pub. The impressive selection of beers on tap and spirits behind the pub—along with fish and chips and other meals and snacks on the menu—only serve to heighten the impression.

But today, the clientele probably never looked more international. The second day of Rugby World Cup 2019 brought sports fans and beer-lovers together to create a very special kind of atmosphere.

Men and women wearing jerseys representing a dozen nations—from Italy to England, Australia to Canada, the United States to Samoa—all rubbed shoulders and traded opinions on the day’s game.

It was a particularly important day for supporters of Argentina and France. The teams faced-off at Tokyo Stadium, and every pass, ruck, and maul was watched on one of the pub’s many big-screen TVs.

HUB Hibiya branch photo2

“I have been traveling around Japan for one month with some friends and tomorrow I have to fly back to Paris, so this is the perfect way to spend my last day in Japan,” said Pierre Woroniak, a 21-year-old who lives in the French capital.

“We came to experience Japanese culture and history, and to see as much of the country as we could, but being here at the same time as Rugby World Cup is special—even if we could not get tickets for the game today,” he said.

Woroniak admits to being more of a football (soccer) fan than a rugby follower, although he did play the game in school.
“Rugby is definitely the second sport in France, but when Rugby World Cup comes on I think that the whole nation gets behind the team,” he said.

Woroniak and his friends were delighted with the result. France’s first game in the tournament ended in a narrow 23–21 victory over Argentina. He reached out sportingly to a group of Argentine fans that had come to the pub to watch the game.
“To shake their hands at the end of the game is the right thing to do,” he said. “They would have done the same to us if Argentina had won.”

HUB Hibiya branch photo3

Today there are dozens of HUB spread throughout the city.
Thanks in part to its location, the HUB in Hibiya is regularly busy with customers attracted to its cozy but lively British atmosphere.
They also like that customers are free to move around. In contrast, it is often said that patrons sit down at the same table and with the same people all evening at more traditional Japanese-style izakaya.

The staff members say they have been looking forward to Rugby World Cup, but now that it has started, they are surprised by just how busy they have been.
“I was excited that so many people would be coming for rugby, but because most of our customers are usually Japanese I was not expecting so many foreigners to be here for the games,” said Tomoko Okayasu.
“Since the tournament started, about 80 percent of our customers have been foreigners, which gives the place a different feel,” she said. “And we have next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games to look forward to as well, so I think we will be preparing for that next.”

Name HUB Hibiya branch
Address Matsui Building B1F, 1-6-8 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Location About 1-minute walk from Hibiya Station (Hibiya Line, Chiyoda Line and Toei Mita Line)
Tel 03-3592-0309
URL More information

300BAR NEXT

300BAR NEXT photo1
Name 300BAR NEXT
Address B1F, Murasaki Bldg., 1-2-14 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo
Location About 3-minute walk from Hibiya station (Chiyoda, Hibiya and Mita Lines) or about 5-minute walk from Yurakucho station (JR and Yurakucho Lines)
Tel 03-3593-8300
URL More information

Odaiba

TGI Fridays Odaiba Aqua City

TGI Fridays Odaiba Aqua City photo1

Bar with a View

With four large televisions around the bar and a menu that perfectly meets the needs of sports fans cheering their favorite team, the Aqua City Odaiba of TGI Fridays is the ideal place to see a game. But there is a drawback.

Too often, patrons’ gazes are pulled away from the on-screen action to what must be one of Tokyo’s most breathtaking views. From the floor-to-ceiling windows that run the entire length of the bar and the spacious deck outside, diners have a stunning panorama of the towering Bay Bridge, yakatabune party boats bobbing on the waters of Tokyo Bay, and the skyscrapers on the city horizon.

As the sun goes down, the neon lights switch on, and the strains of music and laughter filter up from the cruising boats and the beach below; it’s mesmerizing.

TGI Fridays Odaiba Aqua City photo2

Chris Curtin, the director of finance for a business advisory firm based in Washington, DC, admits to being very impressed by the spectacular view across Tokyo, which is the capital of Japan, and Rugby World Cup 2019 match being played on the screens, with England on their way to a 39–10 victory over Argentina at Tokyo Stadium.

“It’s a fantastic spot to get a very different perspective on the city and to see the game while I enjoy some food from home,” said Curtin, who had tickets for three rugby matches on his first visit to Japan.

“I guess my interest in rugby goes back to college 10 years ago when I started playing as scrum-half,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of other rugby fans from around the world since I have been here and every one of them has been very impressed by the show that Japan has put on for the tournament.

“It’s a pity that the US is not going to get out of their group, but this is not really a big sport in America,” he said. “I just hope that the team will be stronger and a bit more experienced by the time the next World Cup comes around. We might still not be a world power, but I would hope that we could be a lot more competitive.”

Curtin had arrived at the bar early to claim one of the best seats in the house for the game—at the long counter in front of the main screen and constantly in the barman’s line of sight.

Switching between draft beer and the impressive house red, Curtin said he was waiting for the second game of the evening—Japan against Samoa—before ordering a meal.

TGI Fridays Odaiba Aqua City photo3

TGI Fridays has 14 stores across Japan and is steadily opening new outlets, according to Yuki Sukegawa, general manager of the Aqua City Odaiba restaurant. A large part of the brand’s success revolves around its generous portions of American staples—try the buffalo wings, don’t miss the Fridays signature sirloin steak and, if you still have room, squeeze in a portion of New York cheesecake.

As well as the wine selection and beers on tap, TGI Fridays has a selection of cocktails to suit all tastes, including the Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea and Ultimate Tropical Margarita. But as I turn back once more to that view across the city, a chilled Blast on the Beach is completely appropriate.

Name TGI Fridays Odaiba Aqua City
Address Aqua City Odaiba 6F, 1-7-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Location About 5-minute walk from Daiba Station (Yurikamome Line)
Tel 03-7300-6213
URL More information

Asakusa

The World End

The World End photo1

Bar Where the Globe Comes Together

For a tiny bar where elbow room is at a premium, The World End generates a lot of atmosphere and passion when sports are on television sets dotted throughout the bar. It’s also a remarkably friendly pub, perhaps because patrons are so close to each other that there is no choice but to talk to their neighbors—even if they are cheering for the other team.

“We’ve been open for pretty much all Rugby World Cup games and it has been super busy,” said Natsuko Osumi, who works behind the bar as a part-time job while she studies at university.

“The atmosphere has been great and we have had visitors from all over the world coming to watch the games and enjoy the beer,” said Osumi, who studied in a town close to Melbourne when she was in high school and was supporting the Australian team as they took on England in the quarter finals of Rugby World Cup 2019.

“It has been really nice to see so many foreign people supporting Japan in the matches as well and it’s so good that Japan will be playing in a quarter-final tomorrow,” she added, referring to the match against South Africa.

The World End photo2

The bar’s commitment to international relations is visible at every turn. The walls are covered with stickers and beer mats showing an amazing array of beers. Several of those beers are on tap behind the bar, and they are from various countries in the world.

The international flavor carries over into the cocktails. True to the theme, the whiskies hail from Ireland, Scotland, the United States and—of course—Japan.

The bar has also started a tradition of inviting patrons to leave a little reminder of where they are from, with small-denomination coins and signed bank notes taped to the top of the bar. In one section, a Korean 1,000-won bill overlaps a US one-dollar bill, Thai baht, Norwegian 100-kroner note, and Mexican pesos.

The World End photo3

Between watching the match on the TV screens and returning regularly to the bar for top-ups, customers tuck into generous portions of fish & chips and meat pie, along with a selection of finger foods.

With the game reaching its crescendo, there is much cheering and shouting, with supporters congratulating or commiserating with each other after England’s 40–16 victory. The World End has that sort of effect on people.

Name The World End
Address 2F, TSU Building, 6-14-7 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Location About 1-minute walk from Ueno Station (JR, Ginza and Hibiya Lines)
Tel 03-3837-8870
URL More information

Three Monkeys Cafe

Three Monkeys Cafe photo1
Name Three Monkeys Cafe
Address B1F, Pasela Resorts Bldg., 2-14-30 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Location About 3-minute walk from Ueno statinon (Ginza, Hibiya, and JR Lines)
Tel 03-3837-2064
URL More information