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Dive Underground to Shinjuku Dug, a Charming Old Jazz Café

Nov 22, 2018

Jazz Café and Bar Dug stands out thanks to its bright neon sign. This Tokyo jazz club was founded in 1961 and has a history of over 50 years. After changing locations and being temporarily closed, the space reopened in 2007 and is now one of the fixtures on the always-lively Yasukuni Street.

Don't Hesitate and Enter!

Dug has two “faces”, as it operates as a café in the afternoon and as a bar in the evening. This café draws attention from people both inside and outside of Japan - many jazz musicians visit this café when they are in town.

It might seem a bit intimidating to enter this space at first. However, once you open the door and go down the staircase, you will be invited into a space lined with bricks by great jazz music. There are photos of great jazz musicians lining the walls, and combined with the antique furniture you will feel as if you have gone back in time!

The Concept of the Bar

Jazz cafés and jazz bars are primarily places for people to enjoy records that are too expensive or rare for regular fans to own. Thus, conversations are forbidden at many of these places. However, Hozumi Nakadaira, the founder who is a also well-known photographer of jazz musicians, wanted to open a space where anyone could enjoy jazz music, so it is OK to chat while enjoying the records at Dug!

These days, the son of Hozumi Nakadaira, Louis Nakadaira, works at the bar during the evenings. “The reason many visitors from overseas come to our bar is because it appeared in Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood,” remarked the friendly Mr. Nakadaira. “Even if you are not familiar with jazz, don’t hesitate to stop by.”

In addition to music, another lesser known reason why this spot remains so popular is the wide selection of cocktails, coffee and snacks. Be sure to try the rich chocolate brownie!

Chill Out and Listen to the Music

If you’re in Shinjuku, check out this spot filled with historical jazz culture.

Jazz Cafe & Bar Dug
Address: 3-15-12 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Telephone Number: 03-3354-7776

Hours of Operation:
Regular Hours (Sunday to Thursday)
12:00PM-6:30PM (coffee time)
6:30PM-11:30PM (bar time)

Fridays, Saturdays and National Holidays
12:00PM-6:30PM (coffee time)
6:30PM-2:00AM (bar time)

*There is a table charge of 550 yen per person during bar time