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Updated: July 30, 2019

Decadent entertainment and nostalgic backstreets

This is the side of Tokyo we often conjure in dreams: a sci-fi mashup of neon lights, glittering skyscrapers and mysterious back alleys. It's busy, noisy, brash and colorful fun. You can feast on delicious ramen noodles, visit a traditional shrine and dance with robots, all in one day. For the best experience, start around sunset and dive in.

General Tips

  • Shinjuku Station is the world's busiest, and a challenging place to meet friends; choose your exit carefully
  • In summer, head to the beer gardens on top of the Shinjuku department stores, including Lumine 1 and Isetan
  • See the spectacular city views for free, from the Tokyo Metropolitan Building observation deck

Map Legend

  • Walking
  • Taxi
  • Bus
  • Train
  • Water Bus

1

The world's busiest interchange

Shinjuku Station

The infamous "busiest train station in the world" can be confusing. Around 3.6 million commuters pass through here daily, but the train lines are well sign-posted and color-coded. Aim for the Central East Exit with a koban police box, to start your explorations of the east side.

Walking9 mins

2

Lurid lights and late nights

Kabukicho

Formerly a slightly seedy area of bars and hostess clubs, new additions such as hit themed-restaurants and the Toho cinema with the adjoining Godzilla-themed Hotel Gracery, have made it almost family friendly. The neon-drenched streets provide great photo opportunities.

Walking2 mins

3

The store that never closes

Don Quijote Shinjuku Kabukicho

In the city that never sleeps, you're sure to see some interesting characters shopping here, late at night. You could spend hours wandering this mega discount store, which seems to sell literally everything. If you're looking for souvenirs, you'll find matcha-flavored sweets and cute character goods.

Walking5 mins

4

Uncover the mysteries of the ninja

Ninja Trick House in Tokyo

The best way to learn about ninja is to be one. At this ninja house, you can explore hidden doors, trick floors and secret passageways and solve puzzles. Learn how to handle a sword like a ninja and evade capture. It's a fun experience for the whole family.

Walking6 mins

5

A historic shrine in the metropolis

Hanazono-jinja shrine

On the edge of Kabukicho, this sprawling Shinto shrine is considered the protector of the area and as such, draws many colorful local characters to pray for good business. In November at the Tori no Ichi festival, elaborately decorated rakes are sold to “rake” in good luck.

Walking7 mins

6

A cinematic experience

Omoide Yokocho

As you walk back to Shinjuku Station, it's easy to miss this discrete maze of lantern-lit alleys near the West Exit. The area is crammed with tiny bars and casual restaurants, with a nostalgic atmosphere. Make sure you take your camera to capture the scenes, straight out of a movie.

Visit Tokyo > Walks & Tours > Explore around Shinjuku