Osaka Nightlife – A Complete Overview and Guide

By SAMANTHA KHAIRALLAH for compathy on May 25, 2017

Partying is a vital part of the local culture of Osaka, and we're here to help you navigate through all the clubs, bars and live houses!

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Osaka is famous for its vibrant local culture, its great food and the peculiar dialect called Osaka-ben in Japanese. The city has plenty to offer and the surrounding cities and hillsides are full of great places to visit. It’s no wonder tourists from all over flock to Osaka.

As the second largest city in Japan, Osaka has a great many things to offer in terms of nightlife as well. A diverse and interesting selection of clubs, bars and live venues awaits you here. If you’re looking for places to enjoy a night of partying, drinks and music or even just some good old dancing, we’ve got you covered.

Osaka Nightlife vs Tokyo

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Tokyo and Osaka have pretty similar activities and venues, but Osaka has a definite advantage in terms of proximity. Clubs and bars are often in the same area – like Namba for example – and the last trains are much less of a tight fit than Tokyo’s equivalent. Taxi fares differ slightly with Osaka having a fixed fare of 660 yen for the first 2 km and 293 yen for every additional km, while Tokyo’s fares are at 410 yen for the first km and 237 for every additional km.

The nightlife in Tokyo is more of an area-oriented deal, where specific areas often offer specific music or genres, while Osaka’s nightlife is more of a mixture with venues tied together more closely. Osaka’s two main regions for clubs, Namba/Minami and Umeda are easy to navigate in. Tokyo may be at a clear disadvantage here, because of its sheer size and the distances that come with that.

Osaka Nightlife District – Namba, Minami

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Located around Namba Station, Minami (which means south in Japanese) is one of the aforementioned entertainment districts in Osaka that offers plenty of dining, shopping and sightseeing experiences. It is also home to plenty of clubs and bars, making it a top address for party goers in Osaka. Its counterpart is Kita, which means “north” in Japanese, and incidentally, that is exactly where Umeda is located. Both districts are easily accessible via several train and bus lines.

Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi and Souemoncho

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Dotonbori is a great place to visit, especially at night. The area never truly sleeps; some restaurants are open 24 hours. Dotonbori is famous for its canal and the vibrant lit up signs and posters along the road and river. It offers plenty of food, drink and entertainment venues for locals and tourists alike, making it one of the most popular places to go in Osaka. The famous Glico Running Man sign and the moving Kani Doraku crab are located here.

Shinsaibashi is possibly the largest shopping area in Osaka, with plenty of boutiques, craft shops, local eateries and Japanese traditional food shops. This area developed from the Shinsaibashi Shopping Street that connects to Mido-Suji Avenue – a famous and enduring landmark in Osaka. It has a vibrant and long history that dates back to the Edo period.

The western part of Shinsaibashi is commonly known as America-mura (the American village) and features uniquely painted walls, burger joints and more. It’s a hallmark of Osaka’s teen culture movement in the Minami area.

Souemoncho is known as Osaka’s nightlife center and is one of the most frequented downtown areas in all of Japan, with an excess of 700 shops in a vast shopping district stretching  500m from east to west. It is also quite popular for its long store hours that allows the shopping fun to continue well beyond dinner time. Souemoncho also features some acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurants.

Amerikamura (America Mura)

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Also called ‘Amemura’ for short, this shopping district is widely considered Osaka’s Harajuku (teen culture district in Tokyo) and is a good place to see the newest trends in teenage fashion and culture in Japan. Amemura has a great, lively atmosphere and is dotted with cafes, fashion stores and thrift shops giving it a younger feel than the older Shinsaibashi.

Umeda

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As mentioned above, Umeda is located in Osaka’s north and is the other main nightlife area next to Namba/Minami. It’s centered around a station intersection including multiple lines. The main two stations are Umeda Station and Osaka Station. Its proximity to Osaka Station and the many commuters coming through this transportation hub every day make it natural for Umeda to have a large network of hotels, restaurants and shopping complexes.

In recent years, Umeda has been undergoing much reconstruction and renovation, and even more improvement plans are underway. JR Osaka Station is a great example of this, having been transformed from a dark and dreary place into an altogether pleasant station.

Osaka Nightlife Events

Photo credit:   Miki Uchida   via   flickr   cc

Photo credit: Miki Uchida via flickr cc

Osaka has plenty of illumination events (especially during hanami – cherry blossom viewing season), an Easter night zoo special event, the Takatsuki Jazz Street festival, a ninja action show, a Nakanoshima river cruise and much more. To make sure you don’t miss any events, be sure to check the official Osaka city event page for more info and schedules.

Osaka Event Schedule

Osaka Nightclubs and Live Music

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Osaka night clubs and party venues are abundant, so if you’re looking for some fun, you’re in luck. Most of the clubs in both nightlife areas Minami and Kita are within walking distance of each other, meaning you won’t need to pay a lot of taxi fares or walk miles to get to the next place. Prices at clubs and bars are generally quite reasonable, but they can vary for live houses. Be aware that the entry fee may be inclusive or exclusive of one or more drinks. Some clubs also require you to buy at least one drink ticket at the entrance.

As trains don’t run all night (same as everywhere in Japan), you will need to either grab a cab or walk home if you don’t want to stay all night. As this is quite inconvenient, especially if your accommodation is not in of the two areas, it may be a wise decision to commit to either going home around midnight or staying out ’till dawn. Trains usually start their service around 4.30 am to 5 am in the morning.

 

Umeda Clubs and Live Houses

Umeda is the area surrounding Osaka Station to the south and east. It is host to a multitude of clubs and bars beside restaurants and cafes. This means the area stays lively well into the morning hours.

 

Umeda Club Quattro

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Club Quattro is a chain of clubs in Japan with locations in Shibuya (Tokyo), Nagoya and Hiroshima. It’s a high-quality venue with plenty of events and concerts going on, sometimes already starting at noon. For all the information on events and the club itself, check their website below. In order to get cheaper tickets, buy them online beforehand. Also, be aware that the entry fee may be excluding the first drink ticket, meaning you will have to buy the first drink at the door extra.

Opening hours: varying weekdays (usually from around 18.00)
Phone:  06-6311-8111 Website:  Official Website (JE/EN)

Prices:  ~ 3,000 yen Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  530-0051 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita, Taiyujicho 8-17

 

Billboard Live Osaka

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This is a venue for live show lovers; most of the performances held here are by locally or internationally established artists. The concert hall can also be rented for private parties, so make sure to check their site for special closings. Event information and tickets are available online as well. Go check it out if you’re in the mood for a good concert.

Opening hours: varying weekdays (events usually from around 17.30)
Phone:  06-6342-7722 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  530-0001 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita, Umeda 2-22

 

Explosion

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Explosion is a hugely popular gay club in Umeda’s gay bar and club district. Definitely check it out as it’s generally a very welcoming scene, though they do have men-only nights, so check their page for info first. Explosion also features drag shows and promises to be a blast for local and foreign visitors alike.

Opening hours: Saturdays and sometimes weekdays (usually from around 22.00)
Phone:  06-6312-5003 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  2,000 yen (+ 2-3 drinks) Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  530-0027 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita, Umeda 8-23

 

Sam & Dave Umeda

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A bar during weekdays, a club on weekends. Its cool, casual interior and great atmosphere promise to be an instant favorite. It’s about an 8 -minute walk from Umeda Station, and is surrounded by other venues, restaurants and more. It’s a great place to finish off an exhausting weekday with a drink or get dancing on the weekends.

Opening hours: Mon - Thu (19.00 - 01.00), Fri - Sun (20.00 - 05.00)
Phone:  06-7663-6689 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  2,000 yen (men), 1,000 (ladies), weekdays free entry 
Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  530-0047 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita, Nishitenma 4-15-9

 

Namba Clubs and Live Houses

Namba is an intersection south of Osaka Station that sees a lot of tourists and locals pass through every day. The closest train and metro station is Namba Station. The venues here cater to all the nightly visitors and tourists in the many nearby hotels. The nightlife is varied and includes live houses, karaoke venues, clubs, bars and more. Everyone is sure to find a great place here. Surrounding areas include Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori, Souemoncho and Sennichimae.

 

Club Pure Osaka

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An all-you-can-drink option all night makes this place very popular with party goers, and means you might find the club quite crowded. You can choose to buy the nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink) plan at the entrance. Men pay around 3,500 yen and women 2,000 yen for entry and drinks. Regular entry is around 1,000 yen cheaper each.

Opening hours: varying weekdays (usually from around 22.00)
Phone:  06-6214-6600 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  ~ 2,000 yen (men), 1,000 yen (women) Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0085 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Shinsaibashisuji 2-3-12

 

Ghost Ultra Lounge

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Located in America Mura (American Village), this club is a high-spec place with international DJ’s and artists performing regularly. A mixed crowd of Japanese and foreign visitors makes this a great place to mingle and have a generally fantastic time.

Opening hours: every day (open from around 22.00)
Phone:  06-6214-0545 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0086 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Shinsaibashisuji 2-27-3

 

Osaka Club Ammona

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One of the clubs with cheaper entry fees and reduced admissions available for women on specific days, Club Ammona is part of a group of venues popular with the young crowd in Osaka. Visit this club for party tunes, house, R’n’B, hip hop and all the mainstream club music you can handle.

Opening hours: every day (from around 23.00)
Phone:  06-6211-3993 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0083 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Higashishinsaibashi 2-3-22

 

Art Club

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A live house with local artists mainly performing jazz, chansons, bossa nova and classical music. It’s definitely a great way to spend a relaxing evening while enjoying food, music and drinks with friends or a date.

Opening hours: 18.00 - 00.00 Closed:  closed on Sundays
Phone:  06-6212-2870 Website:  Official Website (JP only)

Prices:  ~ 5,000 yen Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0085 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Shinjaibashisuji 2-6-14

 

Club Bambi

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Bambi has a schedule of fixed events and special events depending on the season, with special guests and so forth. It’s a great club to choose for some classic clubbing, as it has very reasonable admissions (even cheaper for women). Check their timetable on the website to know when to get the cheapest fare, as they vary according to entry time.

Opening hours: every day (varying opening times)
Phone:  06-4708-7009 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0083 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Higashishinsaibashi 1-17-27

 

Club Circus Osaka

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Live acts from all over and great ambiance are trademarks of Club Circus. They have reasonable entry prices, great music and a good drink selection. Make sure to check their schedule and see if anything catches your eye. The club has a facebook page and LINE account you can follow for regular updates on what’s happening so you don’t miss any good acts.

Opening hours: Fri, Sat, Sun (usually from around 23.00)
Closed:  closed Mon - Thu
Phone:  06-6241-3822 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  ~ 1,000 yen (+ 1 drink) Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0086 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Nishishinsaibashi 1-8-16

 

Club Candy

Club candy underwent renovations and renewal in March 2017, and with new the facilities, music every night and a good crowd, this place promises to be a popular nightlife spot for both locals and foreigners. Currently, it tends to be more of a spot for locals, but go have a look and mingle – it’s the best way to enjoy Osaka.

Opening hours: every day (usually from around 23.00)
Phone:  06-6211-3565 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0083 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Higashishinsaibashi 2-8-26

 

Cheval Club

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Right around the corner from Club Candy is Club Cheval – another hugely popular nightlife spot. The prices are fair and the surrounding area is filled with bars, restaurants and more for visitors to enjoy before, during or after clubbing. Cheval is a mainstream club venue with international party tunes being played on any given night. As a foreigner in Osaka, this is a place to enjoy dancing to songs you recognize.

Opening hours: every day (open from around 22.00)
Phone:  06-6243-6288 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0085 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Shinsaibashisuji 1-5-30

 

Club Camon

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Club Camon focuses on reggae, hip hop and R’n’B music. It’s open almost all week and has regular party nights that are held in cooperation with other labels or host special events. The club’s website has all the info you need to plan a visit, so make sure to check their schedule and entry fees for specific events.

Opening hours: Tue - Sat (open from around 23.00)
Closed:  closed on Sun and Mon
Phone:  06-6245-4888 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  ~ 2,000 yen Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0083 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Higashishinsaibashi 1-12-17

 

Club Drop

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Drop is a live venue with great flair and a variation of different artists and events happening weekly. They open every day and feature local acts, though often with international influence in their music. Located in America Mura, the club is surrounded by venues for young people, plenty of bars and pubs.

Opening hours: every day (varying opening times)
Phone:  06-6213-9101 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0086 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Nishishinsaibashi 2-18-9

 

Giraffe Osaka

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A club with many international artists and generally a lot of foreigners, Giraffe is a cool venue to check out, especially since the club opens early each day. And if you don’t feel like staying all night, you don’t lose any money, as admissions are usually free. It’s a cool place to mingle and enjoy the groove with all the other partygoers. Check the page for information on their international live acts, as there might be a few really interesting ones going on while you’re in the area.

Opening hours: every day (open from around 19.00)
Phone:  06-6211-1516 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  generally free entry (see page for more info) Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0084 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Souemoncho 7-9

 

G2 Osaka

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G2 Club is popular with the regular party crowd for being open all week and having both regular and special events. Much like some of the other clubs in the area, G2 also has a system of entry fees that favor women but it isn’t way over the top for men neither. International party music and special guests from all over are a definite selling point of this nightclub. G2 is generally toward a more local crowd, but that doesn’t mean foreigners aren’t welcome. Check their event calendar and prices on the page for more info.

Opening hours: every day (open from around 22.00)
Phone:  06-6244-3177 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0082 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Shimanouchi 1-18-8

 

Sam & Dave One

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Sam & Dave One is a popular venue for foreigners, with an international feel to it, plenty of international acts and party themes. The club is open daily and organizes pub crawls every Saturday, so you can experience several clubs in the area in a short span of time. It’s a cool place to start out if the clubs with mainly Japanese acts still seem a bit intimidating.

Opening hours: every day (open from around 22.00)
Phone:  06-6212-5867 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0083 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Higashishinsaibashi 2-7-20

Vanity Osaka

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Vanity Osaka has regular party events that recur weekly, as many of the clubs introduced above have. The venue also hosts special guests and events that you’ll find listed in their monthly schedule. The club closes only on Mondays for maintenance and is open for the rest of the week. It’s a popular spot for locals and offers a variety of party music genres.

Opening hours: Tue - Sun (open from around 22.00)
Closed:  Mondays
Phone:  06-6212-3333 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0083 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Higashishinsaibashi 2-7-20

 

Owl Osaka

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Owl is quite a popular club with foreigners, so you’ll most probably be able to meet people who speak English here. As one of the more famous clubs in Osaka’s party quarter, you can enjoy plenty of international acts as well as local ones visiting Owl Club. Its proximity to Osaka Station and the relatively early opening hours gives this venue a clear advantage for travelers passing through.

Opening hours: every day (open from around 19.00)
Phone:  06-6362-0822 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  530-0017 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita, Kakudacho 5-1

 

Rock Rock Music Bar

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Rock Rock is – as the name suggests – a music bar with live acts that opens irregularly. Basically, it’s sure to be open Fridays and on weekends, but opens on weekdays every now and then. Acts are not scheduled for all days, so make sure to check their calendar online if you’re looking for a specific event or just really want to hear some live music.

Opening hours: irregular
Phone:  06-6244-6969 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  ~ 1,500 yen Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0086 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Nishishinsaibashi 1-8-1

 

King Cobra

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Hip hop, R’n’B and rap acts are all part of King Cobra’s repertoire and make this live club a popular spot for party goers. The club has some great international acts that perform live, so make sure to check their schedule. Also because they open irregularly, be sure to confirm opening days and hours before you go.

Opening hours: irregular (see schedule online)
Phone:  045-901-2606 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0086 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Nishishinsaibashi 2−18-7

 

COMODO Bar with Jazz

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Comodo Bar with Jazz is another live house that offers great acts even on weekdays. They do have a table charge, so check prices and reservations before going. They focus on jazz, but offer a broad spectrum of local artists within that genre, from bands to piano solo artists and singers. You’re sure to enjoy this place if you’re up to seeing some Japanese jazz in a nice setting. The bar closes quite early, so this is a cool option to go for drinks and some food before heading to another bar or club later on.

Opening hours: Mon - Sat (18.30 - 24.30) 
Closed:  closed on Sundays
Phone:  06-6258-8088 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees (table charge 500 yen) Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  542-0083 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Higashishinsaibashi 1−17−15

 

Osaka Salsa – Vida Latina

If you’re a fan of salsa or generally love Latin dances – this is a must-see spot for you. This dance studio/club/bar close to Awaza Station that everyone is talking about has assembled quite a community in Osaka. It’s sure to blow you away. Check their website and see if you want to check out some of their classes as well. They have visiting stars of the salsa world teaching some courses, so don’t miss the opportunity!

Club and bar are open for parties in the evening while classes are held during the day. The studio also hosts private events, so make sure to check their facebook page or call before going.

Opening hours: Fri - Sun (parties open from around 20.00)
Phone:  090-8574-3272 Website:  Official Website

Prices:  varying entry fees Payment: All major credit cards ok
Address:  550-0012 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Nishi, Itachibori 4-3-16

Izakaya Haven – Hozenji Yokocho Alley

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There is a famous narrow, stone-paved alley called Hozenji Yokocho, named after the temple Hozenji, that houses a myriad of izakayas (Japanese pub), bars and food stalls. It’s located right behind the Hozenji temple and has been a much-frequented nightlife and drinking spot since the 17th century when the area was a theater district and entertainment quarter. It’s a popular spot with celebrities and locals, so as a visitor it provides a great glimpse into Japanese traditional nightlife activities.

At the end of the 80m long alley, there is a statue of the Japanese god Fudomyoo. This kami (‘god’ in Japanese) represents fury and has a scary expression that is supposed to scare people into achieving enlightenment. The god is said to grant wishes and protect people despite his frightening exterior, making it a popular visiting spot for Buddhist believers in Osaka. The way to gain the god’s favor is to pour water over the statue. The water being poured constantly over the statue has led to moss growing all over it. The completely covered statue is quite a sight and well worth a visit.

 

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Hozenji Yokocho includes two parallel alleys running from east to west, and therefore offers plenty of opportunities to grab something to eat before heading on to a club or bar. Especially the great atmosphere at night with the dimly lit streets and the cozy venues will have you coming back for more. We recommend going in the evening while it’s still bright out to see the temple and statue and then continue on for dinner and drinks when the sun goes down. Don’t miss this pearl of ‘old Japan’ at the heart of Osaka.

Osaka Nightlife Tips

Last but not least, we have some tips to keep you safe and for having fun in Osaka’s nightlife scene. Some of these may be common sense, but just to make sure culture clashes are avoided wherever possible, here’s our list of things to remember when partying in Osaka:

  • • ID’s are required (most clubs require official ones with a picture)

  • • Clubs are only accessible for people aged 20 and over

  • • As with a lot of clubs, going early might pay off (especially for men as there is usually a priority on letting women in later)

  • • No hassling

  • • If you have a problem, let the club staff/door security know

  • • Keep your bags in lockers whenever possible

  • • No-photo rule (a lot of clubs have no-photo rules, so be sure to check before snapping away)

  • • Entry fees may not include drinks you are required to buy at the entrance

  • • Taxi rides (memorize or write down your address so you don’t get lost)

  • • Try ‘ukon no chikara’ ウコンの力 or ‘heparize’ ヘパリーゼ (Hangover herb mix you drink before having alcohol. No    guarantee that they work, but they might provide some relief and be an interesting experience while in Japan.)

GoParties