While Shibuya is becoming a boomtown for bars aimed at the young and casual, one small area -- right at its heart -- has been a hot spot for more than half a century.

Nonbei-yokocho is the name given to the clump of hole-in-the-wall drinking establishments that cling to a small sliver of land between the JR Yamanote Line tracks and a narrow lane (which covers the Shibuya River), one block off the Meiji-dori thoroughfare on the northeast side of the station.

In English, the term roughly translates as "drinkers alley." and there's actually another Nonbei-yokocho next to the JR Yamanote tracks near Shinjuku. Local history has it that these small concentrated areas of bars first emerged during the postwar Occupation when yatai (street stalls) were banned.