Piss Alley – bad name, ugly lane but great food!


Shomben Yokocho or Piss Alley as it is better known is a interesting collection of small huts and restaurants squeezed between train tracks and the huge Odakyo Department store in Shinjuku Tokyo. It’s not the most beautiful laneway you will come across but is still a far cry from how it looked before a tragic fire in 1999 which destroyed much of the area. But the atmosphere and the aromas still remain and it is one of Tokyo’s best hidden treasures for great food. The area was once a notorious area with illegal activities including sex, gambling and dodgy booze deals but today only about 50 metres of the strip remains. The restaurants are no larger than a standard lounge room and the food is cheap and sure is good, with some of the city’s best yakitori. The area got its lovely nickname due to the lack of sewerage in the area, but fortunatly things have changed and plumbers have cleaned up the area. For those after a bit of a alcoholic treat when visiting the area try a Karai Shochu its a vodka like drink which has extremely hot chilli peppers dissolved in it… only a brave person will go back for seconds.

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