Shinjuku Station - A Beginner's Guide

Shinjuku Station - A Beginner's Guide

Tokyo 2017.08.18

Shinjuku Station is the busiest train station in the world! But don't be afraid, we'll help you navigate through its different train and subway lines!

Translated by Laura Jacob

Written by Yudai Sasaki

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Many travelers find themselves lost on their first visit to Shinjuku Station. Many learn a lesson about the relentless pace of Tokyo here, at one of the city's most labyrinth-like stations.

But don't let this scare you away - while Shinjuku is indeed complicated, it's actually quite easy to find your way as long as you understand the station's layout.

This article will explain how to transfer from JR Shinjuku Station to private and subway lines so that even first time visitors to the station can find their way.

There may be faster ways around, or routes that help visitors avoid the crowds; however, this article will focus on easy-to-understand routes only.

Part One: Understanding Shinjuku Station's Structure

Shinjuku Station Map 2

Source: JR East

Tip 1: Ticket Gates Are Categorized into Above and Below the Platform

One of the reasons Shinjuku Station is so complicated is that the ticket gates are divided - they are either located above the platform or below the platform.

Travelers who are unaware of this fact and go to a floor different than the one with their desired ticket gate will find themselves wandering for an eternity. Shinjuku Station has a total of 8 ticket gates, with each location described below.

Ticket Gates Above the Platform
  1. South Exit (Points of Interest: Lumine 1 & 2, Takashimaya)
  2. South East Exit
  3. New South Exit
  4. Southern Terrace Exit
Ticket Gates Below the Platform
  1. West Exit (Points of Interest: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Odakyu Department Store)  
  2. East Exit (Points of Interest: Kabukicho, Shinjuku ALTA)
  3. Central West Exit
  4. Central East Exit

Tip 2: Stop and Confirm Your Location After Getting Off the Train

The first step to make sure that you do not mix up the exits is to stop and confirm your location within the station, and not let the crowd push you along.

If you follow the other passengers ahead of you, you'll wind up at a completely different exit than the one you were looking for - this mistake is one often made by travelers unaccustomed to Shinjuku Station.

Even if you want to go to the East Exit, upon climbing the stairs you will only find the South Exit and East South Exit. It may be difficult to make your way through the crowds, but stay calm and look for the signboards.

Just be sure to remember:

"Up are the South and East South Exits. Down are the West and East Exits."

Tip 3: Stick to the East or South Exits If Transferring to Private and Subway Lines!

JR Shinjuku Station serves as a transfer point for all of the following lines:

  1. Keio Line
  2. Keio New Line
  3. Odakyu Line
  4. Toei Oedo Line
  5. Toei Shinjuku Line
  6. Marunouchi Line

The Seibu Shinjuku Line is not directly connected to the station, but is also located nearby. There are ways to transfer to other lines from other exits, but first-time visitors should stick to the East and South Exits.

In addition to it being easy to understand the routes from the platform, it's easy to transfer to every line to the East and South Exits.

You can transfer to the following lines from the South Exit: Keio, Keio New, Odakyu, Toei Shinjuku, and Toei Oedo Lines. From the East Exit, you can transfer to the Marunouchi and Seibu Shinjuku Lines.

Find out how to get to the South Exit and how to transfer to other lines on the next page!

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