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Shinjuku: Top 25 Things to Do in 2024, Dining, Shopping, and Access

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Shinjuku is one of Tokyo's bustling districts offering excellent options for shopping, dining, and nightlife. Read on to learn the best things to enjoy in Shinjuku in 2024, along with information on access and hotels.

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Shinjuku: Tokyo's Foremost Entertainment and Nightlife District

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Photo by Pixta
Shinjuku is one of Tokyo's top shopping and entertainment districts where you'll find large department stores, some of Japan's largest home appliance retailers, restaurants, and izakaya bars to suit every pocketbook.

Landmarks such as Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building are also located here, as well as new Tokyo highlights such as the Tokyu Kabukicho Tower and the Giant 3D Cat Billboard.

Read on to learn the best places to visit in Shinjuku, dining and shopping facilities, hotels, and access information.

Top Things to Do in Shinjuku: Dining, Shopping, Hotels and Access

1. Giant 3D Cat Billboard at Shinjuku Station's East Exit

The Giant 3D Cat Billboard on the Cross Shinjuku Vision ad space has taken the world by storm since July 2021 when it was first introduced. The Giant Cat (also known as the Calico Cat) can be seen from 7:00 AM until 1:00 AM at night. Its activity and movements change regularly to entertain the viewers.

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Picture courtesy of PR Times

To mark the Giant 3D Cat's two-year anniversary, from July 4, 2023, its face peeps out on the neighboring Shinjuku Alta Vision screen several times every hour.

Fans of the Shinjuku Cat can now enjoy desserts inspired by this unique 3D creation along with delicious Sarutahiko coffee at the Giant 3D Cat Cafe that occupies the first and second floors of the Cross Shinjuku building, right below the Giant 3D Cat.

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2. Tokyu Kabukicho Tower

Shinjuku: 10 Exciting Things to Do From Morning to Night

Photo by Pixta

Kabukicho, one of Tokyo's famous nightlife districts, is just a seven-minute walk from Shinjuku Station. This is where you'll find bars, clubs, restaurants, izakaya bars, karaoke facilities, game centers, and other places where you can have fun all night long.

Shinjuku Kabuki Hall Tokyu Kabukicho Tower

Among Kabukicho’s best nightlife spots is Tokyu Kabukicho Tower, which opened in April 2023.

Filled with neon signs and bursting at the seams with facilities, this massive entertainment complex has it all - shopping, restaurants, bars, gaming arcades, spa facilities, a cinema, and more! It’s a fantastic stop for excitement, gourmet food, and great photos.

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3. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory

Shinjuku: Top 25 Things to Do in 2023, Dining, Shopping, and Access

Photo by Pixta
The observatories at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building offer stunning night views of Tokyo free of charge. The two observation towers are 202 meters high, making this a view you won't want to miss in Tokyo.

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4. Omoide Yokocho: Stroll Down Memory Lane at a Retro Nightlife Spot

10 Exciting Things To Do In Shinjuku From Morning To Night

Photo by Pixta
Omoide Yokocho is located near Shinjuku Station's West Exit. The cluster of narrow back alleys is lined with charming, refined little yakitori shops and izakayas―loved by locals for some 70 years.

When dusk falls, the shops fill up with people on their way home from work, creating a lively atmosphere. These tiny gourmet streets are highly recommended by locals.

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5. Shinjuku Golden Gai: Enjoy a Casual Drink and Chat at Small Pubs

12 Experiences You Should Try in Tokyo! Tsukiji Market Tour, Go-Karts, and More!

Shinjuku Golden Gai is located in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district and is synonymous with the nightlife scene. The area is lined with bars exuding a retro atmosphere and privately-run, cozy drinking establishments.

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6. Hanazono Shrine

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Photo by Pixta

Hanazono Shrine is a historic landmark also known for hosting the annual Tori-no-Ichi Market in autumn.

At the Tori-no-Ichi, people pray for good luck and prosperity in business. It's also famous for selling a good luck charm called a kumade. The kumade is a decorative bamboo rake believed to "rake in good luck."

Another festival highlight is the performances held in the show tents (misemono-goya), a rare sight nowadays. The area is lined with many street stalls. Being at the festival will allow you to experience traditional Japanese culture first-hand.

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7. Juniso Kumano Shrine

juniso kumano shrine

Located in Nishi-Shinjuku, Juniso Kumano Shrine has been established here since the beginning of the 15th century. This sacred site enshrines the guardian deity of Nishi-Shinjuku, the vicinity of Shinjuku Station, and the Kabukicho district.

Within the shrine precincts are many designated historical sites and tangible cultural properties of Shinjuku, such as large ema (votive plaques) and komainu (guardian lion-dogs) dating back nearly 300 years. Although the current extent of the shrine is not large, in the past, there were ponds and waterfalls here, making it a scenic spot during the Edo period. Unfortunately, these can only be glimpsed through existing paintings now.

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8. Shin-Okubo Korean Town

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Photo by Pixta

The Shinjuku area is also home to Shin-Okubo's Korean Town. This popular spot is where visitors can enjoy the latest eating tours creating a buzz on social media and authentic Korean cuisine.

The area is lined with fashionable Korean-style cafes, so it's also a mecca for taking Instagram-worthy photos.

Another fun activity to enjoy in Shin-Okubo is purchasing K-POP goods starting with BTS and TWICE. You can also buy the most recent Korean cosmetics, which are hard to find in Japan, at reasonable prices.

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9. Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum

Rediscover Culture Through Fashion at Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum

The 2019 “Ikat Textiles from the World” exhibition. Picture courtesy of Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum

Although technically located in Shibuya wards' Yoyogi district, the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum can be reached in about 8 minutes on foot from Shinjuku Station's South Exit. This unique museum dedicated to the history of clothing around the world is a must-visit for fashion enthusiasts.

The museum is affiliated with Bunka Gakuen, a renowned educational institution that has been influential in the development of Japanese fashion and has an impressive collection of clothing items ranging from the time of Marie Antoinette to modern fashion.

Please note that the museum can only be visited when it holds one of its four annual exhibitions. In 2023, there is an exhibition dedicated to traditional Japanese clothing until August 6, an exhibition on the history of Western clothing in Japan (September 16 - November 13), and an exhibition on amulets sewn into clothes and worn as protection from evil (December 9, 2023 - February 14, 2024).

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10. The LOVE Monument and Other Public Art

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Photo by Pixta

The LOVE Sculpture, located at the entrance to Shinjuku I-Land Tower, is a pop art piece by the legendary Robert Indiana.

It's rumored that this art piece will bring good luck in love. No wonder many people visit the statue daily, hoping to fulfill their wishes!

Additionally, Shinjuku I-Land features other examples of public art (Japanese).

Also located in the Nishi-Shinjuku (the area west of Shinjuku Station) is the Shinjuku NS Building home to one of the most impressive clock monuments in Tokyo: the Yukku-Rhythm Pendulum Clock.

Built in 1982 by Seikosha, this mechanical pendulum clock is powered by a waterwheel and has a total height of 29 meters.

There are many other public artworks scattered around Shinjuku. Take a look at the article linked below to find out more:

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Shopping in Shinjuku

11. Isetan Department Store

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Department stores stock various merchandise related to food, clothing, and lifestyle goods.

Among these is Isetan Shinjuku Store, which is directly connected to Shinjuku 3-Chome Station. It has a full selection of high-class fashion items, cosmetics, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

In addition to the main building, you'll find the Men's Kan and Isetan Kaikan right next door—which have excellent restaurants. You'll definitely have an enjoyable shopping experience at Isetan.

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12. Marui Department Store

Marui Shinjuku is a shopper's paradise offering sophisticated and functional fashion items. Marui's private shoe brand Rakuchin is famous for making pumps that are comfortable and easy to wear.

Near the Marui Shinjuku Main Store, you will also find the Shinjuku Marui Annex.

13. Takashimaya Department Store

Shinjuku Takashimaya is a long-established department store with a wide range of products, from miscellaneous goods to high-quality brand items.

With a Tokyu Hands store, a rooftop garden, and numerous lunch spots, there are many ways for shoppers to have an enjoyable time. There are also handy services for international visitors, including a duty-free counter with language support, free Wi-Fi, and an English floor guide.

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14. Home Appliance Shops

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

The Shinjuku area is home to many large home appliance shops, including Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera, and Yamada Denki.

On holidays and long weekends, these shops often have discount sales. If there's a particular item you're looking for, we recommend comparing prices among the different retailers.

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15. Don Quijote

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

The Don Quijote Main Store is near Shinjuku Station's East Exit and is considered one of the best shops for souvenir hunting.

They specialize in various products related to daily life that are reasonably priced. These include miscellaneous goods, sweets, electrical appliances, and cosmetics, to name a few.

We recommend this store for those interested in buying low-cost souvenirs for large groups.

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16. Tokyu Hands

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Tokyu Hands handles household goods, such as daily necessities, stationery items, cosmetics, and furniture.

Many of their products are well thought out and ingenious. It's the ideal place for shoppers looking to buy a present that embodies functionality and innovation.

17. Kinokuniya Bookstore Shinjuku Main Store

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

From the basement first floor to the 8th floor, the Kinokuniya Bookstore is filled with books from all around the world. This large bookstore is popular with shoppers in Tokyo searching for English books, travel guides, art albums, and stationery that makes excellent gifts.

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18. Matsumoto Kiyoshi Shinjuku 3-Chome Store

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Matsumoto Kiyoshi is a drugstore chain that sells cosmetics and daily goods. They also stock medicine at reasonable prices.

The shop premises are filled with shoppers looking for high-quality, made-in-Japan skin lotion and other beauty products.

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Dining in Shinjuku

Shinjuku is packed with countless eating and drinking establishments for every occasion and budget - from excellent sushi shops to casual dining, cafes, and stylish restaurants with city views.

19. Kizuna Sushi: Choose From 100 Types of Sushi

Kizuna Sushi. From Morning To Night: 7 Things You Must Do In Shinjuku

Kizuna Sushi, located in Kabukicho near Shinjuku Station, is popular for the quality of its sushi and reasonable prices.

You can choose your favorite types of sushi from a regular menu or an all-you-can-eat menu that features almost all the types of sushi available on the regular menu. They also offer other dishes, which makes this a great place to try out other Japanese foods as well.

Kizuna Sushi Shinjuku Kabukicho Store
Business Hours: 11:00 - 22:00
Location: Map

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20. Udon Shin

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Even in the world of Japanese cuisine, udon noodles are known for their simple yet deep flavor.

Among the many specialty udon shops in the Tokyo area, Shinjuku's Udon Shin is a famous spot for freshly made, superb udon noodles. The rich flavor of the dashi broth and chewy noodles is a delightful combination that will easily have you hooked!

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21. Brooklyn Parlor

Brooklyn Parlor is a trendy book cafe that's extremely popular among the youth. In this fashionable space, visitors can read their favorite books and savor a tasty meal in a relaxing atmosphere.

22. WIRED CAFE Lumine Shinjuku Shop

WIRED CAFE Lumine Shinjuku Shop is a popular spot with free Wi-Fi and a charging service for digital devices. It's on the 6th floor of the shopping building LUMINE 2.

Diners are treated to tasty and filling meals in a sophisticated space. There are often lines outside the shop during lunchtime.

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23. cafe nook

cafe nook has a calm, relaxing atmosphere just eight minutes on foot from Shinjuku Station's South Gate.

How about ordering the Homemade Coffee Shochu when visiting the shop? This tasty beverage contains freshly brewed coffee plus a traditional Japanese distilled spirit called shochu. These two ingredients pair surprisingly well together!

24. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Staff Cafeteria

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a popular spot for many visitors to Japan due to its free-admission observation towers.

The staff cafeteria on the 32nd floor of the building is a hidden gem open to the public.

In addition to the panoramic view of Tokyo, all the menu items cost less than 1,000 yen! We highly recommend this place for visitors who'd like to enjoy a satisfying and filling lunch with a stunning view of Tokyo—all at a reasonable price.

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25. Restaurants with Night Views

With tall skyscrapers lining Shinjuku, there are many restaurants with a romantic mood and beautiful night views of the city. Within the relaxed atmosphere of these restaurants, why not take your time experiencing a delicious meal with Tokyo's sparkling skyline?

Sky View Dining on the 50th floor of the Shinjuku Nomura Building, New York Grill on the 52nd floor of Park Hyatt Tokyo, and the French cuisine restaurant Kozue on the 40th floor of Shinjuku Park Tower are just some of best locations for a romantic dinner with city views.

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How to Get to Shinjuku

Getting to Shinjuku from Haneda Airport

When heading to Shinjuku from Haneda Airport, board the Haneda Airport Line Bus (for Shinjuku) at Haneda Airport's Terminal 1.

The bus makes numerous stops, including the Hilton Tokyo, Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, Higashi-Shinjuku Station, Shinjuku-Nishiguchi Station, and the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal.

Travel time is about 35 to 75 minutes (no transfers required) depending on the destination. The one-way fare is 1,300 yen. The fare is 2,000 yen for late-night or early-morning departures.

For more details, please refer to the Airport Limousine Bus Official Website.

Accessing Shinjuku from Narita Airport

To access Shinjuku from Narita Airport, we recommend taking the Narita Airport Line Bus (for Shinjuku) at Narita Airport's Terminal 1 bus stop. This bus follows the same route as the above-mentioned Haneda Airport Line Bus.

Travel time is about 85 to 145 minutes (no transfers required) depending on the destination. The one-way fare is 3,200 yen.

For more details, please refer to the Airport Limousine Bus Official Website

Click here to reserve an airline ticket on skyticket!

Accessing Shinjuku from Tokyo Station

To access Shinjuku from Tokyo Station, it's best to take the JR Chuo Line's rapid train. This will get you directly to Shinjuku in about 15 minutes. The one-way fare to JR Shinjuku Station is 210 yen.

Shinjuku Station: Navigation Tips

Shinjuku Station connects various railway and subway lines, including the JR Line, Keio Line, Keio New Line, Odakyu Line, Toei Oedo Line, and the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.

The station is huge, so we suggest using the exit closest to your intended destination.

The West Exit of Shinjuku Station is best for visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and its famous observation towers. Western Shinjuku is also the place where you'll find the home appliance shops Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera.

The East Exit of Shinjuku Station is ideal if you wish to go to the Golden Gai entertainment district and other spots in the adult-oriented Kabukicho. It's also perfect for shopping at Mitsukoshi Isetan, Marui, and LUMINE EST.

Visitors should use the South Exit for the latest fashion spots, including Lumine 1, Lumine 2, and NEWoman.

Book the Japan Rail Pass (7, 14, 21 days)

Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

To take a highway bus to other parts of Japan from Shinjuku, head for the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal. The terminal sits atop JR Shinjuku Station's New South Gate, Koshu-Kaido Gate, and Miraina Tower Gate.

The Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal is comprised of four separate levels.

The first floor has JR Shinjuku Station's Narita Express platform, and the second floor is home to JR Shinjuku's New South Gate, Koshu-Kaido Gate, and Miraina Tower Gate. The third floor has taxi pick-up/drop-off points and the bus arrivals area. The ticket office, service center, bus departures area, and coin lockers are all on the fourth floor.

It's possible to buy a bus ticket on your day of travel. However, we recommend reserving a seat online beforehand for busy periods, such as the year-end and summer months.

Check seat availability and prices on WILLER highway buses

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Other Train Stations in the Shinjuku Area

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

The Shinjuku Station area has six other stations besides the JR Shinjuku Station, which is the main local hub of transportation.

When you want to skip the shopping and head directly to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, take Tokyo Metro's Marunouchi Line to Shinjuku-Gyoenmae Station.

Those heading to the high-class hotel area of Nishi-Shinjuku can take the same Marunouchi Line to Nishi-Shinjuku Station.

There's also Shinjuku 3-Chome Station, which is right near the Golden Gai area. Tokyo Metro's Marunouchi Line, Fukutoshin Line, and the Toei Shinjuku Subway Line pass through this station.

You'll reach your destination smoothly by using these stations in accordance with your travel plans.

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Shinjuku Hotels

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Shinjuku has convenient accessibility, making it a popular area for staying the night. While famous luxury hotels like Park Hyatt Tokyo cater to customers who wish to enjoy a sophisticated stay in Tokyo, there are plenty of other accommodation options.

For example, there are large hotels offering a full range of handy services starting at just 3,500 yen per night up to 8,000 yen per night. There are also capsule hotels equipped with a large public bath for only 5,000 yen per night.

We introduce a few recommended hotels offering rooms at affordable prices.

Kadoya Hotel

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Kadoya Hotel is located just 3 minutes on foot from the West Exit of Shinjuku Station. The hotel offers 90 Western-style rooms with a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere and a stylish Japanese design at affordable rates.

The hotel staff wishes to ensure that guests enjoy a good night's sleep so there is a collection of pillows at the reception desk, which guests can choose from based on their posture and sleep preferences.

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Shinjuku Guide 2023:The Best in Shopping, Dining, and Sightseeing!

Photo by Pixta

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku occupies floors 8 to 30 of the same building with Godzilla's head in Kabukicho.

The Godzilla-inspired corner rooms on the hotel's top floor are known as Godzilla Rooms. Guests can also stay in the Godzilla View Rooms, which offer a close-up look at the Godzilla Head.

Other Tips for Exploring Shinjuku: WiFi and Internet Connection

Ninja Wifi

It can be challenging when you are unable to access the internet while walking in the city.

In Shinjuku, there is a pick-up counter for the popular Japanese pocket WiFi service NINJA WiFi where you can rent a device on the same day.

With NINJA WiFi, you can use 3 GB per day for 770 yen. Furthermore, if you apply through MATCHA, you can get a 20% discount!

For more details, check out the article below!

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What are the best places for shopping in Shinjuku?

In Shinjuku, there are several fantastic places for shopping. Isetan is a renowned department store with a wide range of high-end fashion and quality goods. Odakyu Department Store is another popular destination, offering a mix of brands and products. Takashimaya Times Square is a massive complex with various shops, including luxury brands and international retailers. Shinjuku Southern Terrace provides a more open-air shopping experience, ideal for boutique finds and casual browsing. Don Quijote is perfect for quirky and affordable items, from souvenirs to everyday goods. After exploring these spots, visitors can enjoy the vibrant shopping scene Shinjuku has to offer.

Any good hotels in Shinjuku?

Shinjuku boasts a plethora of excellent hotels catering to various preferences and budgets. Park Hyatt Tokyo is a luxurious option, famous for its panoramic views of the city and featured in the movie "Lost in Translation." Keio Plaza Hotel stands out with its convenient location near Shinjuku Station and a wide range of amenities. Hilton Tokyo offers a blend of comfort and sophistication for guests seeking a refined stay. For a more budget-friendly choice, Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku provides a comfortable and convenient accommodation option. These hotels in Shinjuku cater to different traveler needs, ensuring a pleasant and fulfilling stay in the bustling district. For other options, please check our article on Shinjuku hotels.

How to travel from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station?

To travel from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station, you have several convenient options. The most common and efficient way is to take the JR Chuo Line from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station. This direct train route takes you to Shinjuku in 14 minutes and is a popular choice for locals and tourists alike. Another way is to take the Marunouchi Line on the Tokyo Metro subway system from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station (18 minutes). This option can be a good alternative if the JR Chuo Line is crowded. Both routes are efficient and well-connected, making the journey between Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station relatively quick and straightforward.

What is Shinjuku known for?

Shinjuku is known for being a vibrant and bustling district in Tokyo, Japan, with a diverse range of attractions. It's famous for its skyscrapers, including the iconic free-admission Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, offering panoramic views of the city. Shinjuku is also a major transportation hub, home to busy Shinjuku Station, one of the world's busiest railway stations. The district is renowned for its shopping, with various department stores like Isetan and Odakyu, as well as trendy boutiques and electronics retailers. Additionally, Shinjuku is a nightlife hotspot, with a vibrant entertainment scene, including bars, restaurants, and theaters. This dynamic combination of commercial, entertainment, and cultural offerings makes Shinjuku a must-visit destination for travelers looking to experience the lively spirit of Tokyo.

What is Shinjuku's famous shopping street?

Shinjuku is home to several famous shopping streets, but one of its most renowned and bustling thoroughfares is Shinjuku's Takeshita Street. This vibrant and bustling street is lined with a diverse array of shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, catering to various tastes and preferences. Takeshita Street is particularly popular among young people and tourists, offering a unique shopping experience with a mix of trendy fashion, accessories, and quirky items. It's a hub for street fashion and pop culture, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to explore the vibrant and eclectic shopping scene in Shinjuku.

Is Shinjuku worth visiting?

Shinjuku is definitely worth visiting for a multitude of reasons. This bustling district in Tokyo offers a diverse array of attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. From towering skyscrapers and bustling shopping streets to vibrant nightlife and cultural experiences, Shinjuku has something for everyone. Visitors can explore traditional Japanese culture at shrines like Hanazono Jinja, indulge in shopping at upscale department stores or quirky boutiques, and enjoy a lively night out in the entertainment districts. The district's dynamic energy, convenient transportation connections, and abundance of dining options make it a vibrant and exciting destination for travelers looking to immerse themselves in the unique blend of modernity and tradition that Tokyo has to offer.

Enjoy Tokyo's Culture in Shinjuku

We hope that this guide will help you decide what to visit in Shinjuku and have a great time in this bustling Tokyo district.

Main image courtesy of PR Times

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