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JR Shinjuku Station Guide For Beginners - How To Navigate And Transfer Lines

JR Shinjuku Station Guide For Beginners - How To Navigate And Transfer Lines

Translated by Jelena Kitamura

Written by MATCHA

Tokyo 2018.11.25 Bookmark

Shinjuku Station is the world's busiest public transit station. With numerous train, subway, and public transportation lines, it is easy to become confused about changing trains. In this article, we explain the transfer process for each line.

Shinjuku Station - The Transportation Center of Tokyo


Offering established department stores and gigantic fashion buildings, Kabukicho and the lively nightlife area of Golden Gai, Shinjuku draws in visitors day and night.

Its starting point is Shinjuku Station, the station with the largest number of daily passengers in the world. As it is one of the must-visit spots in Tokyo, you’ll be amazed to find out how complicated the station is with all the lines and routes available for use. However, don’t worry! This complexity baffles people who live in Japan as well.

This article aims to help guide beginners and those using Shinjuku Station for the first time. We explain how to change trains and subway trains at JR Shinjuku Station so that you won't feel or get lost.

The following passes and tickets are convenient and will save yen on travel in and around Shibuya and the rest of Tokyo: Tokyo Subway Ticket (24, 48, and 72-hour passes available), Japan Rail Pass, Suica IC Card Reservation

7 Lines You Can Take from JR Shinjuku Station

You can skip to the information about each line by clicking on its name.

We highly recommend travelers use the JR Pass and the Tokyo Subway Ticket to save money on traveling on JR trains, the Tokyo Metro, and Toei Subway. These discount passes not only help with navigating to and around Shinjuku, but throughout the rest of Tokyo and beyond.

Details and Reservations: JR Pass, Tokyo Subway Ticket

Line Name Spots You Can Travel To
1.Odakyu Line Hakone, Shimokitazawa, etc.
2.Keio Line Mt. Takao, Hachioji, etc.
3.Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line Ginza, Koishikawa Korakuen, etc.
4.Toei Oedo Line Tsukiji, Roppongi (Japanese), etc.
5.Toei Shinjuku Line Jinbocho, etc.
6.Keio Shin Line (Keio New Line) Hatsudai Station, Moto-Yawata Station, Sasazuka Station
7.Seibu Shinjuku Line Takadanobaba, Honkawagoe, etc.

Shinjuku Station on Tokyo Metro Toei Line consists of several different stations and not only Shinjuku Station. There are also Shinjuku-Sanchome Station, Shinjuku-Nishiguchi Station, which are all within walking distance of each other. The only difference between these stations is whether or not you’ll pass one more station on your route before arriving at your desired destination.

In this article, we focus exclusively on Shinjuku Station.

Ticket Gates at JR Shinjuku Station are Both Under and Above Ground

You’ll find gates (exits) at JR Shinjuku Station on two separate floors, both under and above ground. The main gates are the east gate (higashiguchi), the west gate (nishiguchi), and the south gate (minamiguchi). Please note that the east and the west gates are underground, and the south gate is above ground.

For further information, read the following article: Know Your Shinjuku Station Gates For A Smoother Shinjuku Travel (Japanese)

There are several possible transit routes for each and every line, but in this article, we will try to explain some of them in an understandable way.

1. Odakyu Line


The Odakyu Line is very useful if you’re going to Hakone. If you ride Odakyu Romance Car, it’ll take around one hour and 30 minutes to reach the very entrance to Hakone sightseeing (Hakone-Yumoto Station (2,280 yen)).

Without using the Odakyu Romance Car, you can get to the closest station to Enoshima, Katase-Enoshima Station (about one hour and 10 minutes, 630 yen). You can also travel to Shimo-Kitazawa Station (about 10 minutes, 160 yen) without having to transfer trains.

Buy Tickets at the West Gate


If you’ve already passed the ticket gate and left the inner zone, and you need to buy a paper ticket for the Odakyu Line, you should go to the west gate (nishiguchi). When you pass the ticket gate, you’ll notice large stairs and an escalator next to the Odakyu AZUR store. Climb up those stairs.


Once you’ve climbed the stairs, a spacious hall will appear in front of you. At the very end is the gate for the Odakyu Line. The ticket machines are to the left of the gate.

IC Card Holders Should Use the Central West Gate


The main west gate (chuo nishiguchi) is used for both JR Shinjuku Station and the Odakyu Line, so, if you have an IC card and don’t need to buy a paper ticket, we suggest using this gate.


The neighboring gate is Keio Line transit gate, so you should follow the blue mark (pictured above). We recommend memorizing that the Odakyu Line is marked with blue.

This gate is for transfers only, so if you wish to go above ground or leave the inner zone, use the west gate.

2. Keio Line


The Keio Line was created in order to connect Shinjuku with Hachioji. This line is convenient to use for visiting the west part of Tokyo and Mt. Takao. It takes around 50 minutes by limited-express train from Shinjuku Station to Takaosanguchi Station (the closest station to Mt. Takao), and the fee is 390 yen.

Buy Tickets at the West Gate


After you’ve passed the west gate you’ll see the Odakyu ox SHOP on your left, and a large sign in front of you. To get to the Keio Line, turn left.


Pass the narrow hallway with coin lockers, and keep straight.


Follow the path between the omusubi (rice ball) restaurant in front of you, and the curry restaurant Curry Shop C&C. But, be warned, as the curry restaurant entices commuters with its irresistibly delicious aroma.


As soon as you pass the hall and arrive at an open area, you will find the ticket gate on your left.

IC Card Holders Should Use the Central West Gate


Next to the Odakyu Line transit gate are stairs leading to the Keio Line. Take the stairs (pictured) down.


Ascend the stairs at the end of the hall and you will see a pink ticket gate. This gate used for both the JR Line exit and the Keio Line entrance. We recommend these gates for passengers who don’t have to buy a paper ticket.

3. Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line


To locate the underground gate of the Tokyo Metro, pass the east gate on B1F. Use the stairs on your left after you’ve passed through the east gate (higashiguchi).


At the end of the stairs is an open area with multiple passages.


Proceed diagonally to your right, and you will reach the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line ticket gates. Use this line to visit Ginza (Ginza Station), Koishikawa Korakuen garden (Korakuen Station), or Tokyo Dome City (Korakuen Station).

4-6. Toei Oedo Line/Shinjuku Line, Keio Shin Line are Together


Particularly confusing lines are the Toei Oedo and Shinjuku Lines, and the Keio Shin (New) Line. The Oedo Line leads to Roppongi, and Shinjuku Line to Jimbocho, a neighborhood known for its bookstores. Since these lines share the same ticket gate, we recommend memorizing them as a set. Also, this route is along part of the path from the central west gate (chuonishiguchi) to the Keio Line.


For the Keio Line, pass through the pink ticket gate. The green ticket gate on the left is for JR.

初めてでも安心! JR新宿駅から私鉄・地下鉄への乗換方法

Follow the path that leads under the sign marked with the red circle on your left.


Turn left at the KEIO MALL sign. Proceed further and look for a sign with "Toei Oedo Line" written on it, with the ticket gate in front.

Don’t get confused if you see the Oedo Line ticket gate on the right side, too. Please note this ticket gate is for the Oedo Line only. If you intend to ride on the Keio Shin Line or the Shinjuku Line, use the ticket gate that appeared in front of you after you’ve turned left at the KEIO MALL sign.

7. Seibu Shinjuku Line


Seibu Shinjuku Line is further from JR Shinjuku Station than other the transportation lines. Use the Seibu Shinjuku Line to go to Takadanobaba Station to visit Waseda University, or Honkawagoe Station, if your plan includes seeing Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, the famous love shrine.


Use the east gate (higashiguchi) to exit from JR Shinjuku Station. The square near the east exit leads to Kabukicho, but you have to turn in the right direction. Shinjuku Station should be right behind you. As soon as you reach the passage next to the Don Quijote store, cross the street and turn left.


After continuing on, the next thing to for look for is a sign with Pe Pe on it. You will then see a brown building, which is for the Seibu Shinjuku Line. Go under the Pe Pe sign. The gate is at the end of the path.

Seibu Shinjuku Station Google Map

If You Miss an Exit, Remain Calm and Check the Signs!

Just as stated in the following table, you can change trains using gates not introduced in this article, too. If you pass the gates (exit) and are not sure where to go next, there is no need to panic. Simply check the signs to find the information you need.

Line Name Gates Where You Can Transfer
Odakyu Line West Gate (Nishiguchi), Central West Gate (Chuo Nishiguchi), South Gate (Minamiguchi)
Keio Line West Gate (Nishiguchi), Main West Gate (Chuo Nishiguchi), South Gate (Minamiguchi)
Tokyo Metro Maruonuchi Line East Gate (Higashiguchi), West Gate (Nishiguchi)
Toei Oedo Line/Shinjuku Line, Keio Shin (New) Line Central West Gate (Chuo Nishiguchi), South Gate (Minamiguchi)

If you feel confused by the information written on the signs along the way, don’t hesitate to ask the directions at the information desk. You can also consult with a station employee directly. Master the transfer process for a fun, carefree trip!

Writer: Yudai Sasaki

** This is a revision of an article published on July 13, 2015.

TOKYO Travel Guide

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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