All about Shinjuku

all about shinjuku Excursion

Features of Shinjuku

The city of Shinjuku is wide-ranging. I am not talking about area, but rather genre. Kabukicho, Japan’s largest entertainment district; Shinjuku 2-chome, Japan’s gayest town; Nishi-Shinjuku, the skyscraper district where the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is located; and Shinjuku Gyoen, an oasis in the metropolis. All of these are located in the area known as Shinjuku.

Shinjuku Station is also the stop for the Narita Express, the limousine bus service to Narita Airport. To go to Haneda Airport by train, you need to change trains, but limousine buses are available. Tokyo Station is about 15 minutes away by Chuo Line.

How to capture Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station boasts the highest number of passengers in Japan. (In other words, the best in the world.)

shinjuku station

The number of lines serving the station is off the charts: JR lines, Tokyo Metro, Odakyu lines, Keio lines, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Transportation Bureau. The number increases even more if you include other nearby stations where you can transfer between lines. In any case, Shinjuku is always crowded with people.

Because of this, Shinjuku Station is a labyrinth. With the opening of the East-West Free Passage in 2020, it has become easier to get to and from the east and west sides of the station, making it easier to find your way around. Even so, first-time visitors will probably still get lost. If you are planning to change trains at Shinjuku Station, you should take enough time.

Shinjuku Station is big, but it doesn’t have a bullet train!

Sometimes people are mistaken, but there is no bullet train(Shinkansen) service at Shinjuku Station. If you want to take the Shinkansen, go to Tokyo Station wherever you are going. If you take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station, you can get there in a little over 10 minutes.

When you take the Narita Express, the platform is a bit far away, so you should allow plenty of time to get there. You will probably walk more than you imagine. If you have a lot of baggages, especially if you have a lot of baggages, you should get there early.

Kabukicho, a nightlife district


Kabukicho is also called the best entertainment district in the East. As one would expect from a town that never sleeps, the neon lights shine brightly even late at night, and the streets are crowded with people and touts. There is no danger if you just look around, but beware of shady stores and illegal touts. The city has a unique obscenity that some people may like, but I don’t like it.

In one corner of Kabukicho is Shinjuku Golden Gai, lined with retro drinking establishments. This area has a different atmosphere from Kabukicho and is popular among foreign tourists.

Must-visit in Shinjuku

Shinjuku Takashimaya Department Store

Although there is a long-established department store, Isetan, in Shinjuku, I recommend Takashimaya. As you can see from the exterior, the floors are spacious. It is easy to shop. There is also Tokyu Hands, which has an excellent selection of sundries, stationery, cosmetics, etc.  There is also a UNIQLO on the upper floor. I recommend not only the restaurant floor, but also the café on the middle floor, where you can relax.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and Shinjuku Central Park

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is located at the end of a long underground walkway after exiting the west exit of Shinjuku Station. The distinctive building is a landmark of Tokyo. It has an observation deck that is open to the public free of charge.

Right next to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is Shinjuku Chuo Park. Enjoy a stroll in this oasis amid the skyscrapers.

Shinjuku Gyoen


The Shinjuku Gyoen is a large park with Japanese, English, and French-style gardens. It is famous for its cherry blossoms, which attract many people. There are many trees, and visitors can enjoy the flowers of the four seasons. Although there is an admission fee, the garden is not so crowded except during the cherry blossom season. Stop by when you want to spend a relaxing time on a nice day.

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

The Shinjuku Toho Building stands in Kabukicho, with a movie theater on the lower floors and a hotel on the upper floors. The hotel features Godzilla. A Godzilla head is installed on the eighth floor, where the lobby is located. If you want to see the powerful Godzilla, go to the lobby floor. If you are a Godzilla fan, I suggest you book a room with a Godzilla view and stay there.

Tokyu Kabukicho Tower
Standing in the middle of Kabukicho, an entertainment district, the building is unique from the outside. The design, which is inspired by a fountain, catches the eye from afar. It opened in April 2023 as an entertainment building.
It houses a movie theater, restaurants, an arcade and a hotel. In the movie theater, there are also seats for a premium experience that costs more than 4500 yen (about 2000 yen for a movie ticket in Japan). The food hall with a stage is a flashy production, making it an exciting place to be.

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Shinjuku for me

Shinjuku is a town with a lot of people. Not so much during the daytime on weekdays, but especially at night. Friday night is the worst night. It is unusual to see people who have spent late at night in bars and pubs rush to the station all at once. The trend has eased a bit after the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is not nice to see a city full of drunken people. Especially for people like me who don’t drink. Such a scene is often seen in Kabukicho, where there are many izakaya (Japanese style pubs), and around the east exit of Shinjuku Station. The west exit of Shinjuku Station is quiet at night, due to the many office buildings. Staying at a hotel in this area is a good choice.

I used to work in Shinjuku for a while, but to be honest, I don’t like it that much. It’s convenient for shopping, and I use it to meet friends because of the convenient transportation, but that’s it.