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Shimbashi is known as a sarariiman district. Here you will find taverns and yakitori restaurants packed full with middle-aged men perched on counter seats letting off steam after work. And the surrounding area, especially the high-rise office buildings of nearby Shiodome, ensure that the customers keep flowing through the doors.

The SL Plaza

Come out of the Hibiya Exit of JR Shimbashi Station and you will see the “SL” train in the center of the plaza. This was placed there in 1972 to commemorate the centenary of Japan’s first railway which began operations in 1872 and ran between the old Shimbashi Station, Shimbashi-Teishajo (actually located in Shiodome—a museum now stands in its place) and Yokohama. The side streets behind and to the left of the SL train contain all manner of bars and eateries. There are no attractions or activities, per se. Shimbashi is all about heading into the most smoke-filled yakitori restaurant you can find, squeezing up among strangers at the counter, ordering a beer, and, just for an evening, living like a local.

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