Translated by Shannon McNaught
Shinjuku's Kabukicho: Asia's Finest Entertainment District
Written by yohei matsui
Kabukicho, also known as the "city that never sleeps", is Japan's largest entertainment district. We run you through some activities you can do here!
Shinjuku is one of the most popular areas of Tokyo with travelers. It's mostly because there are many places to stay and it's convenient for travel, but Shinjuku also has Kabukicho, also known as Asia's finest entertainment district.
There are places to eat, izakaya to drink at, and people from all parts of the world hanging out. You'll have a good time here for sure.
Today, we'll tell you all about Shinjuku's Kabukicho.
Kabukicho, The City That Never Sleeps
Kabukicho is located seven minutes outside of JR Shinjuku Station's Central East Exit. It's easy to find with its bright red sign.
In post-World War II Japan, plans were underway to build a bustling shopping district in Shinjuku in 1948. They wanted to build a place to see kabuki theater, and that's when Kabukicho was born. Even though kabuki theaters in the area have since been closed, it remains known as the entertainment district Kabukicho.
You can enjoy all kinds of nightlife here. Since it springs to life in the evening hours, it's also been nicknamed "The City That Never Sleeps."
There are karaoke shops and izakaya...
...host clubs, and cabaret clubs where you can enjoy a few drinks with staff of the opposite sex. Of course, there are also more than a few gay bars if you enjoy the company of the same sex as well.
Since most of Kabukicho's establishments start up at night, it has a completely different atmosphere during the daytime.
Not Just for Nighttime Fun! Kabukicho's Rising Attraction
With its bustling nightlife, there are probably people who are concerned about their safety in Kabukicho. However, there are establishments being built recently to assure visitors of its safety.
One of these establishments is the Shinjuku Toho Building, which houses a movie theater, hotel, and restaurants. If you're out to sample some Japanese cuisine, the 1st floor has 16 eateries including sushi, yakiniku, and crepes.
How to Get Around Safely
There are many places to eat and drink in Shinjuku. Among them are some that will try to scam you with high prices. One way to avoid creating unpleasant memories with that kind of experience is to not go to places being advertised by people near the station. Look up the place you're thinking of going to beforehand and check out their ratings.
Of course, most eateries will give you fair prices. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. Kabukicho has a lot of good and bad. Keep a careful eye out in order to enjoy it safely.
Little Known Cheap Spots
Kabukicho may be famous as an entertainment district, but there are other ways you can have fun as well. One of those is one of the area's lesser-known spots, Shinjuku Batting Center.
Batting centers are where you can bat balls thrown by a pitching machine. It's good for both stress relief and light exercise. Employees in the area like to stop here on their way back from work.
You can hit 26 balls for 300 yen. The pitching machine starts firing once you put your money into the machine, so make sure you're prepared before inserting the coins. If you hit a home run, you'll get a free gift!
You can adjust the pitching speed anywhere from 70-130km per hour, so even beginners can enjoy it with ease. Put your spare change to use by hitting 26 balls at the batting center. You'll get your money's worth of leisure and a bit of exercise.
Shinjuku Batting Center
Address: Tokyo, Shinjuku, Kabukicho, 2-21-13
Closed: Open year-round
Credit cards accepted: N/A
Main languages: Japanese
Nearest Station: Higashi-shinjuku Station, Toei Oedo Line
Access: 5 minutes from Higashi Shinjuku Station