My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: October 19, 2022
A station bursting to the seams, armies of office workers, school kids and international travelers squeeze through Shinjuku Station's ticket gates on a daily basis—out into a sprawling area of towering sky scrapers, wide shopping streets and countless cafes, bars and restaurants. Nishi-Shinjuku, west of the station, houses a forest of skyscrapers, while the east side is your access point for shopping, dining and entertainment. Bathed in neon, the area of Kabukicho is a maze of hotels and spots for nighttime revelry. Exit south from the station to find the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal and modern shopping complexes such as NEWoMan Shinjuku.
Shinjuku Station is on all the JR lines, the Keio Line, the Odakyu Electric Railway, and Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, the Toei Shinjuku, and the Toei Oedo Line. You can also access the area from Seibu-Shinjuku Station on the Seibu-Shinjuku Line, Shinjuku Nishi-guchi Station on the Toei Oedo Line, and Shinjuku-sanchome Station on the Marunouchi, Fukutoshin and Toei Shinjuku subway lines.
From Haneda Airport: 55 minutes by either limousine bus or train to Shinjuku Station.
From Narita Airport: Two hours by limousine bus, or one hour 35 minutes by train to Shinjuku Station.
From Tokyo Station: 14 minutes on the JR Chuo Line Rapid to Shinjuku Station.
Tokyo's most famous department stores are clustered around Shinjuku Station's exits meaning you have access to high-class shopping as soon as you set foot off the train. The floors of the Isetan, Keio, Odakyu and Takashimaya department stores are packed full of designer wear and their basement floors overflow with sumptuous edible fare. Spend an afternoon browsing the shops and take advantage of Japan's peerless customer service. If you are hunting for something high tech, visit the area west of the station where electronics megastores display all the latest gizmos and gadgets.
At dusk, Shinjuku is transformed into a futuristic city of neon with endless opportunities for nighttime entertainment. Get a seat in one of the countless bars and restaurants and join in the revelry with the throngs of fun-seekers. Find a place at the top of one of the many buildings and have spectacular views over the city while you dine. Alternatively, head to the streets of Kabukicho where tiny wooden bars are quite literally piled on top of each other and spend a night bar-hopping. Sample some Shinjuku ramen in the “Ramen gekisenku” (battleground), an area to the north of the station with a high concentration of ramen stands. Shinjuku also has many unique restaurants and izakaya (Japanese style gastropubs), where you can enjoy gourmet food. Public transport runs until around midnight, but the city of Shinjuku rarely sleeps, meaning your night needn't end when the last trains leave the station.
Not just a spot for nighttime fun, Shinjuku offers a wealth of activities during the daylight hours as well. Take the elevator to the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building for vistas of the city. For views of the city from the ground up, head to the manicured lawns of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden*. Take in Shinjuku's cityscape from what was once the Imperial gardens.
*Please note: drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, using sports equipment and musical instruments in the garden are prohibited.
For some cultural recreation, Hanazono-jinja Shrine is just 10 minutes from the station. If you prefer a more interactive cultural experience, take a trip to the Ninja Trick House to witness the trickery of the stealthy shinobi firsthand. Anime and movie fans can also track down some of their favorite locations. Shinjuku features in Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name and Weathering with You, as well as Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Lost in Translation.