Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Shinjuku Complete Guide - Popular Places, Shopping And Dining
Written by OsawaKimie
This article is the comprehensive guide to Tokyo's famous Shinjuku area. You will find information on access, shopping facilities, dining places, as well as what are the recommended places to visit in Shinjuku.
One of the most prominent areas in Tokyo, Shinjuku is famous as a shopping district thanks to its wide variety of shopping malls and volume-sales electrical appliance stores. It is also a place to dine with various types of restaurants, and sightseeing spots, as Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Tokyo City Hall are located nearby. This article is all about Shinjuku, with information about the access, recommended spots and special dishes in this popular area.
1. How To Reach and Get Around Shinjuku
2. Shinjuku Station
3. Other Stations Near Shinjuku
4. Recommended Spots in Shinjuku
5. Shopping Spots in Shinjuku
6. Restaurants in Shinjuku
7. Hotels in Shinjuku
8. Travel Tips for Shinjuku
How To Reach and Get Around Shinjuku
From Haneda Airport
Take the bus bound for Shinjuku from Haneda Airport Terminal 1. The bus will stop at hotels (Hilton Tokyo, Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku and others), Higashi-Shinjuku Station, Shinjuku Station West Exit and the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal. The direct route takes about 35 to 75 minutes depending on the destination, and the one-way fare is 1230 yen. The fare for early-morning and late night hours is 2000 yen.
From Narita Airport
The airport bus is the easiest way to go. Take the bus bound for Shinjuku from Narita Airport Terminal 1. The destinations are mostly the same as the Haneda Airport bus. The direct route takes about 85 to 145 minutes depending on the destination, and the one-way fare is 3100 yen.
From Tokyo Station
Take the JR Chuo Line rapid-service train. The train will head directly to Shinjuku, and the ride takes about 15 minutes. The one-way fare is 200 yen.
Various railway companies, such as the JR Lines, Keio Line, Keio Shinsen, Odakyu Line, Toei Oedo Line, Toei Shinjuku Line and Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, stop at Shinjuku Station. It is a huge station, so be sure to use the proper exit for your destination. If you are heading for the Tokyo City Hall Observatory or a volume-sales electrical appliance store like Bic Camera, use Nishiguchi (west exit). For the Kabukicho area (Shinjuku Golden Gai) or shopping spots (Isetan, Marui and Lumine Est), head for Higashiguchi (east exit). Those who want to go shopping at the new stores (Lumine 1 and 2, NEWoman) should head to Minamiguchi (south exit).
Shinjuku Express Bus Terminal
To board an express bus leaving from Shinjuku, head for the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal. The terminal is connected to Shinjuku Station through the New South Gate, Koshu-kaido Gate and Miraina Tower Gate.
It is a four-storied building, and the Narita Express platform is on its first floor. Shinjuku Station gates are located on the second floor. The taxi stand and local bus depot are on the third floor. Ticket booths, information center, express bus depot and coin-operated lockers are on the fourth floor. Tickets can be purchased at the fourth-floor booth, but during the busy seasons such as the year-end and summer, it would be better to make reservations via the internet.
Please read Shinjuku's New Bus Terminal - How Traveling From Tokyo Got Easier for more information.
Other Stations in the Shinjuku Area
There are six stations in the Shinjuku area. To go directly to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, get off at Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line). Nishi-Shinjuku Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line) is located in the Nishi-Shinjuku area, where there are many high-grade hotels. The Marunouchi Line, Fukutoshin Line (Tokyo Metro) and Toei Shinjuku Line stops at Shinjuku-sanchome Station, located near Golden Gai. Visitors should use these stations according to their destination.
Recommended Spots in Shinjuku
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen is a famous park, and has been featured in various anime and movies. The park has many appeals, such as the Japanese Garden and the greenhouse. Visitors can also enjoy the cherry blossoms in spring, and the colorful leaves in fall. Take a look at Getting the Best Out of Your Shinjuku Gyoen Visit!
Tokyo City Hall
From the observatory of Tokyo City Hall, visitors can enjoy the night view of Tokyo for free. It is located at the altitude of 202 meters, and the view is worth the visit. Read all about it at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Observatory: Enjoy The City View For Free!
Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho)
Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho), located near Shinjuku Nishiguchi, is a street filled with small yakitori restaurants and taverns. It has been frequented by the local residents for 70 years, and people gather here after a day at the office. Take a look at Slip 70 Years Back in Time at Shinjuku’s Memory Lane! for more information on this spot.
Shinjuku Golden Gai
Shinjuku Golden Gai is located in Shinjuku Kabukicho, which is also known as the "town that never sleeps." Old-fashioned bars and small taverns run by private owners are lined up in this area. Please see Shinjuku Golden Gai's Top 3 Stores for more information about this exciting area.
inSPYre is a spy-themed attraction in Shinjuku Kabukicho. It's the perfect place to go with your friends or families. Completing a mission in limited time will make you feel like the protagonist in a spy movie.
Of the various characters in Japanese history such as geisha and ninja, samurai seems to be one of the most popular. At the Samurai Museum in Shinjuku Kabukicho, visitors can learn how to handle a katana (sword), or don a samurai armor (yoroi). For more information, please read Learn How to Use a Katana! The Samurai Museum in Shinjuku.
At the Robot Restaurant, visitors can enjoy performances featuring robots and dancers. This spot is very popular with visitors from abroad, and recommended to those who love singing and dancing performances.
Shopping Spots in Shinjuku
A wide variety of products can be found at Shinjuku's department stores. Isetan Shinjuku Store is the trendsetting leader in the Tokyo's fashion scene, while Marui Shinjuku Store supplies fashionable items for office workers, and Shinjuku Takashimaya handles everything, from general merchandise to high-end fashion brands. These stores also offer duty-free services with multi-lingual staff, free Wi-Fi, and pamphlets in various languages for non-Japanese speakers.
Bicqlo is a joint project between Bic Camera (an electrical appliance store) and Uniqlo (a low-priced fast fashion brand). It became famous as a unique store thanks to its handling of both electrical appliances and clothing. Shinjuku Bicqlo: A Place to Buy both Electric Appliances and Clothes has more on this amazing shopping spot.
Besides Bicqlo, volume-sales electrical appliance stores such as Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera and Yamada Denki are all gathered in Shinjuku. Some stores have discount sales on holidays, so if you plan to go shopping, it would be wise to compare their prices first. For more information, please read Shinjuku's Top 5 Recommended Electronics Stores.
Don Quijote at Shinjuku Higashiguchi (east exit) is a perfect place to look for souvenirs. Every item, from general merchandise to snacks, electrical appliances and cosmetics, is low-priced. This store is recommended to those who want to buy a large amount of souvenirs at a moderate price.
Tokyu Hands is another store that handles a wide variety of items, from general merchandise to stationery, cosmetics and even furniture. The items are all well-designed, so those who are looking for a "unique but practical souvenir" should drop by this store.
Please read A Complete Guide To TOKYU HANDS for more about this brand.
Books Kinokuniya Shinjuku Store
Books Kinokuniya Shinjuku Store is loaded with books, from the basement floor to the eighth floor. This large bookstore is popular among those looking for English books in Tokyo too.
Read more about the charms of Books Kinokuniya: Discovering An Unexpected Destination: Shinjuku's Kinokuniya Bookstore
Matsumoto Kiyoshi Shinjuku Sanchome Store
Matsumoto Kiyoshi is a chain of stores handling medicine, cosmetics and household supplies. Customers looking for high-quality Japanese cosmetics frequent this store.
Koiki Shinjuku Store, located on the Mosaic Street of the Shinjuku Mylord Building, handles Japanese accessories with modern designs. If you can't decide on a souvenir, this is the place to go.
There are many places to eat in the Shinjuku area, including sushi restaurants, which are one of the best known Japanese foods. From low-priced eateries to prestigious counter-style restaurants, visitors should be able to find a place that fits their taste and budget. Take a look at 5 Sushi Restaurants in Shinjuku for Every Situation!
Aomori PR Izakaya
Aomori PR Izakaya Ringonohana, located at Yotsuya Sanchome in Shinjuku is a unique restaurant offering Aomori cuisine. The foodstuff, along with the sake, is delivered from all over Aomori Prefecture, which is known as the place to enjoy fine food. Read all about it at Aomori PR Izakaya Ringonohana - Taste Delicious Aomori Food In Tokyo.
Udon is a popular Japanese food with a simple, yet deep, taste. Udon Shin, located in Shinjuku, is famous for its fresh noodles. The rich-flavored soup, along with the firm noodles, has been charming the customers for many years. Take a look at Udon Shin In Shinjuku: Fresh Udon Noodles Make A Perfect Dish.
Tokyo City Hall Cafeteria
Tokyo City Hall is famous for its observatory. It is also known for its cafeteria, which both local residents and visitors can enjoy, along with the city hall workers. All the dishes are priced below 1000 yen, and the meal comes with a panoramic view of Tokyo. The cafeteria is recommended for those who want to enjoy a great view with a big lunch. For details, read Savor a Great View and Delicious Lunch at Tokyo City Hall, Shinjuku.
One of the joys of visiting Japan is the opportunity to taste sushi, soba, udon and seafood dishes. From inexpensive restaurants to high-end places serving course meals, Shinjuku offers a wide variety of choices. Take a look at Six Famous Japanese Restaurants You’ll Want to Visit in Shinjuku for more on dining in this area.
Restaurants with a Night View
There are various restaurants in the high-rise towers of Shinjuku which offer a romantic night view. Those who want to dine in a quiet atmosphere and enjoy the view should read The Best 5 Restaurants to Enjoy the Night View in Shinjuku.
Halal Food Restaurants
Shinjuku offers a wide variety of restaurants for those with dietary restrictions. Besides the Halal-certified ramen, there are Turkish, Indian and Thai restaurants as well. These restaurants have menus in multiple languages, so visitors from abroad need not to worry. Take a look at 4 Shinjuku Restaurants With English Menus And Halal Foods.
Brooklyn Parlor is a trendy book cafe, popular with the younger generation, as the customers can enjoy reading and dining in an elegant atmosphere here.
Cafe ＆ Bar The olive offers Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese dishes. It is located in Shinjuku's Kabukicho, and has an English menu.
WIRED CAFE Lumine Shinjuku Store
Visitors can enjoy free Wi-fi and recharge their phones at WIRED CAFE Lumine Shinjuku Store, located on the sixth floor of LUMINE 2. It gets quite busy here at lunchtime, as patrons can enjoy a voluminous lunch in a chic atmosphere.
From the Minamiguchi (south exit) of Shinjuku Station, it is an eight minute walk to cafe nook, a cafe with a comfortable atmosphere. If you have the chance, try their special homemade coffee shochu (*) and see how well coffee and shochu go together.
*Shochu is a type of Japanese alcohol.
Hotels in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is a popular place to stay, as it is easy to access. Visitors can choose from various types of accommodations: hostels with fares from 3500 yen per night, large hotels which also offer various services at 8000 yen per night, or a capsule hotel with a big bathing room at 5000 yen per night.
Travel Tips for Shinjuku
When you need to exchange currencies, go to the bank, or try the ATM at 7-Eleven.
If you're short on cash, look for the ATM with the "PLUS" logo, which offers cash advance with credit cards.
A little Japanese may help when checking into hotels. For further information, please check 10 Japanese Phrases You Can Use At A Hotel.
"Japan Connected-Free Wi-Fi" is a service for the visitors from abroad. Be sure to download the application in advance.
Read about it on Where To Find Free Wi-Fi In Japan - Japan Connected-Free Wi-Fi.