Shinjuku is a bustling district of Tokyo, Japan, and is known for its vibrant nightlife, shopping, and entertainment. It is home to the Shinjuku Station, which is one of the busiest train stations in the world. With so many options it’s hard to make a solid plan.
This comprehensive travel guide will provide everything you need to know about visiting Shinjuku, Tokyo. From the top things to do, places to stay, and where to eat, to practical tips for getting around and staying safe.
Shinjuku has much to offer, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the Samurai Museum, and Kumano Shrine.
We’ll also help you discover the best places to shop, dine, and enjoy the nightlife in the area. So, get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Shinjuku and experience all that this exciting district has to offer!
Getting to Shinjuku
By Train: Shinjuku Station is served by several train lines, including the JR Yamanote Line, the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, and the Toei Shinjuku Line. If you are arriving from Tokyo’s Narita Airport, you can take the Narita Express to Shinjuku Station.
Accommodations in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is one of the busiest districts in Tokyo, and as such, there are many accommodation options available for travelers. From budget hostels to luxury hotels, there is something for everyone in Shinjuku. Here are some of the most popular accommodation options:
A Quick Note On The Japan Rail Pass Price Hike
The price of the wonderful Japan Rail Pass is going up a massive 62% in October but there’s still time to lock in the old rates if you’re quick. Klook still offers the old prices so if you buy before September 30th you can travel with the old prices until December 28th, 2023.
The Shinjuku Granbell Hotel is a popular choice for travelers looking for a mid-range option. It is located in the heart of Shinjuku and offers stylish rooms and a rooftop bar with views of the city. The Park Hyatt Tokyo is a luxury hotel located in the heart of Shinjuku. It offers spacious rooms with stunning views of the city, as well as a fitness center and spa.
The Khaosan Tokyo Samurai Hostel is a popular choice in Shinjuku. It offers dormitory-style rooms and private rooms, as well as a common area and kitchen for guests to use. Another popular hostel in Shinjuku is the Nui. Hostel & Bar Lounge. It offers a variety of room options, including dormitory-style rooms and private rooms, as well as a bar and lounge area for guests to relax in.
Things to Do in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Tokyo, Japan. It is home to numerous attractions that cater to people of all ages and interests. Here are some of the top things to do in Shinjuku:
- Visit Shinjuku at Night: Shinjuku is centered around the busiest train station in the world. It is a lively and bustling area, especially at night. There are many bars, restaurants, and clubs that stay open until the early hours of the morning. It is a great place to experience Tokyo’s nightlife.
- Explore the Shopping Centers: Shinjuku has some of the best shopping centers in Tokyo, including the famous Takashimaya Times Square, Lumine, and Isetan. These shopping centers offer a wide range of products, from high-end fashion to electronics and souvenirs.
- Visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building: This building has two observation decks that offer panoramic views of Tokyo. It is one of the best places to see Tokyo’s skyline, especially at night. The observation decks are free to enter, making it a great budget-friendly activity.
- Stroll through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden: This garden is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. It has a traditional Japanese garden, a French garden, and an English landscape garden. It is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.
- Experience the Unique Bars in Golden Gai: Golden Gai is a small area in Shinjuku that is home to over 200 tiny bars. Each bar has its own unique atmosphere and theme. It is a great place to experience Tokyo’s underground bar scene.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Shinjuku. Visitors can easily spend several days exploring the neighborhood and still not see everything it has to offer.
Food and Drink in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide variety of options ranging from traditional Japanese cuisine to international flavors. Here are some of the top food and drink options to try while visiting Shinjuku:
One of the most popular dishes in Japan is ramen, and Shinjuku has some of the best ramen shops in the country. Ichiran Ramen is a must-visit for any ramen lover, with their famous tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and customizable bowls. Another great option is Menya Musashi, known for their rich and flavorful broth and generous portions.
For a taste of traditional Japanese cuisine, head to one of the many sushi restaurants in Shinjuku. Sushi Zanmai is a popular chain with a wide variety of sushi options, including affordable sushi sets. For a more high-end experience, try Sushi Iwa, known for its expertly crafted sushi and intimate atmosphere.
Izakaya are Japanese-style pubs that serve a variety of small dishes, perfect for sharing with friends over drinks. Shinjuku has many great izakaya options, including Torikizoku, a budget-friendly chain that specializes in grilled chicken skewers, and Han no Daidokoro, known for their delicious yakitori (grilled chicken) and sake selection.
Shinjuku has a thriving cocktail scene, with many bars and lounges offering creative and unique drinks. Bar Benfiddich is a must-visit for any cocktail enthusiast, with a menu that includes drinks infused with herbs, spices, and even tobacco. Another great option is Golden Gai, a small alleyway filled with cozy bars and a lively atmosphere.
Overall, Shinjuku offers a wide variety of food and drink options for any taste and budget. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Japanese cuisine or international flavors, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant neighborhood.
Shopping in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is one of the best places to shop in Tokyo, with numerous department stores, shopping centers, and specialty stores. Here are some of the best places to shop in Shinjuku:
Shinjuku is home to some of the largest and most famous department stores in Tokyo, including:
- Takashimaya: This department store has a wide range of products, including fashion, cosmetics, and home goods.
- Odakyu Department Store: This store is known for its high-end fashion brands and gourmet food selection.
- Keio Department Store: This store has a large selection of fashion, cosmetics, and electronics.
Shinjuku is also home to several large shopping centers, including:
- LUMINE: This shopping center has a variety of stores, including fashion, cosmetics, and accessories. It also has a rooftop garden with a great view of the city.
- NEWoMan: This shopping center has a focus on women’s fashion and beauty products. It also has a food hall with a variety of restaurants and cafes.
- Terrace Mall: This shopping center has a mix of fashion, home goods, and gourmet food shops. It also has a rooftop garden with views of the city.
Shinjuku has many specialty stores that offer unique products and experiences, including:
- Tokyo Hands: This store has a wide range of products, including DIY supplies, stationery, and beauty products.
- LOFT: This store has a variety of products, including stationery, home goods, and beauty products. It also has a large selection of souvenirs.
- Bic Camera: This store has a large selection of electronics, including cameras, phones, and computers.
Nightlife in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is known for its vibrant nightlife, and there are plenty of options for those looking to experience it. From bars and clubs to karaoke and live music venues, there is something for everyone.
One of the most popular areas for nightlife in Shinjuku is Kabukicho, which is known for its bright lights and bustling atmosphere. Here, visitors can find a variety of bars and clubs, as well as other entertainment options such as arcades and pachinko parlors.
For those interested in live music, Shinjuku offers several venues, including the famous Shinjuku Pit Inn. This jazz club has been around since 1974 and has hosted some of the biggest names in jazz. Another popular live music venue is the Shinjuku Loft, which hosts a variety of genres, including rock, pop, and electronic music.
If karaoke is more your style, Shinjuku has plenty of options for that as well. Karaoke Kan is a popular chain that offers private rooms for groups to sing their hearts out. Another option is Big Echo, which has locations throughout Tokyo and offers a wide selection of songs in various languages.
It’s important to note that some areas of Shinjuku, particularly Kabukicho, can be quite crowded and lively, so visitors should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to ensure their safety. However, with the right mindset and a sense of adventure, Shinjuku’s nightlife can be a truly unforgettable experience.
Day Trips from Shinjuku
Shinjuku is a bustling district in Tokyo that offers a wide range of activities for tourists. However, if you are looking to explore beyond the city limits, there are several day trips that you can take from Shinjuku. Here are some of the top options:
Shinjuku is the starting point for most tours to the mount fuji area or even a Fuji climbing tour to the summit. There is also the new and awesome Fuji Excursion train that runs directly to Fuji Kawaguchi-ko station, plus bus services. So staying in Shinjuku is a great option if you plan to take a day trip to mount fuji while you’re in Tokyo.
Another great day trip is Hakone a popular day trip destination from Tokyo, known for its hot springs, stunning views of Mount Fuji, and outdoor activities. From Shinjuku, you can take the Odakyu Romancecar train to Hakone-Yumoto station, which takes around 85 minutes.
Once you arrive, you can take a cable car or ropeway to Owakudani, a volcanic valley with hot springs and sulfur vents. You can also visit Lake Ashi, a scenic crater lake, and take a boat cruise or hike around the area.
Kamakura is a historic city located south of Tokyo, known for its temples, shrines, and beaches. From Shinjuku, you can take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line to Kamakura station, which takes around 60 minutes.
Once you arrive, you can visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura, a bronze statue that dates back to the 13th century. You can also explore the various temples and shrines in the area, such as the Hasedera Temple and the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. If you have time, you can also visit the nearby beaches, such as Yuigahama Beach or Zaimokuza Beach.
The Sum Up
Shinjuku is a vibrant and exciting district in Tokyo that offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From shopping and entertainment to cultural experiences and delicious food, there is something for everyone in Shinjuku.
One of the highlights of any trip to Shinjuku is visiting the iconic Shinjuku Station, which is the busiest train station in the world. Visitors can explore the station’s many shops and restaurants, or take a stroll through the nearby parks and gardens.
Another must-see attraction in Shinjuku is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck. Visitors can also explore the building’s many exhibits and learn about Tokyo’s history and culture.
For those looking for a more cultural experience, a visit to the Kabukicho district is a must. This area is known for its traditional Japanese theaters, where visitors can watch performances of kabuki and other traditional arts.
Finally, no trip to Shinjuku would be complete without trying some of the delicious food that the district has to offer. From traditional Japanese cuisine to international dishes, there is something for every palate in Shinjuku.
Overall, Shinjuku is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Tokyo. With its endless array of activities and attractions, it is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Japan.