Translated by Hilary Keyes
7 Exciting Things To Do In Shinjuku From Morning To Night
Shinjuku is the world's busiest train station, and home to an incredible number of different facilities - it's easy to spend a full day taking in numerous aspects of Japanese culture here! We introduce an itinerary for a fun day and night in Shinjuku.
Written by Tomoko Takahashi
Here is a model itinerary that'll make sure you enjoy all the most entertaining parts of Shinjuku, all in a single day.
1. Breakfast - Start Your Morning Right
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Sarabeth's in Shinjuku is one of the best places to go. There you'll find fluffy pancakes, and eggs Benedict that taste heavenly. Best of all, Sarabeth's opens at 9:00, so you can sleep in a bit before heading out for the day.
2. Take in a Spiritual Spot
Hanazono Shrine near Shinjuku Sanchome is a spot well known for its connections to the entertainment industry. In fact, the Geino Asama Shrine within its precincts is where the god of performing arts is enshrined. During the New Year's celebrations, this shrine is often visited by Japanese celebrities from stage and screen.
If you're lucky, you may visit when Red Tent of the theater troupe Kara-gumi is up, and be able to see a Japanese theater performance, or one of the many markets that take place within the grounds too.
3. Stroll Through the Park or Explore the World of Anime
Shinjuku Gyoen was created 400 years ago on the property of a local feudal lord, became government property during the Edo period (1603 - 1868), and was later opened to the public in 1949. Entrance tickets cost 200 yen per adult, but the numerous gardens and sights to enjoy that spread out across this 58 hectare park.
Or, if you are fan of the anime and movie "Your Name" (Kimi No Na Wa), the sixth full length animation movie by Makoto Shinkai, you may want to use this article as a guide to finding some of the real life spots that are shown in elaborate detail in the series.
4. Try 100 Different Kinds of Sushi for Lunch
Sushi is a must try food for many coming to Japan, but finding the right restaurant can be daunting - there are simply that many to choose from. Kizuna Sushi near Shinjuku Station's West Exit, is popular with locals for its quality and prices of its sushi, and for its outstanding service.
You can choose from a regular or an all-you-can-eat menu that features almost all the types of sushi available on the regular menu, plus a la carte menu dishes other than sushi, which makes this a great place to try out other Japanese foods as well.
5. Become a Samurai and Learn How to Wield a Katana
Samurai and ninjas are two of the best-known characters from Japanese history, but being able to truly get in touch with what the samurai is like is a rare opportunity, especially in English.
In the Samurai Museum, you'll find displays of historical armors on the first floor, and weapons on the second. Here you can also try on armor, take part in sword skill demonstrations, and even learn Japanese calligraphy too.
6. Enjoy Seasonal Sweets to Your Heart's Content
Bitter Sweets Buffet Lumine EST Shinjuku Branch is located inside the LUMINE fashion mall connected to Shinjuku Station. The inside of the shop is decorated with dark colored furniture, dimly lit, and arranged with mirrors and glass boundaries, giving the restaurant a luxurious ambiance that feels incredibly indulgent.
This buffet doesn't only specialize in sweets however, they also have a great range of savory meals as well. But be warned, there is a time limit as to how long you can stay and enjoy the all-you-can-eat course, so you might need to choose your treats quickly to make the most out of it.
7. Experience Shinjuku's Exciting Night Life
Kabukicho, the most popular entertainment area in Asia, is just a seven minute walk from Shinjuku Station, and where you'll find bars, restaurants, izakayas, clubs, karaoke spots, and scores of other places that you can enjoy all night long.
One of the most popular is, without a doubt, the famous Robot Restaurant, where you can enjoy stage shows, dazzling lights and lasers, and of course costumed performers, but if you want to get in on weekends, you should book your ticket in advance, just to be safe.
On the other hand, if you prefer the cozy atmosphere of local bars and chattering with people who know Shinjuku like the palm of their hand, how about enjoying a drink in the famous Shinjuku Golden-Gai, a street lined with privately owned traditional bars? It's an area where you can get to know the story of Shinjuku, a town that has always been exerting a mysterious fascination on locals of travelers alike.
Purchase tickets from Voyagin here
Dawn to Dusk and Beyond in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is one of Tokyo's most popular areas and a place that you can easily spend 24 hours in if you're so inclined. It's even a great place to be if you've missed your last train!