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Shinjuku (新宿) / Tokyo

Shinjuku is one of the 23 wards of Tokyo, but the name commonly refers just to the large entertainment, business and shopping area around Shinjuku Station.
Handling more than two million passengers each day, Shinjuku Station is Japan's busiest railway station, served by six railway companies and about a dozen railway and subway lines, including the JR Yamanote Line.
West of the station is Shinjuku' skyscraper district, home to many of Tokyo's tallest buildings, including several premier hotels and the Metropolitan Government Office, whose observation decks are open to the public for free.
(Shinjuku from the sky)

(Shinjuku / Night Time)

Northeast of the station lies Kabukicho, Japan's largest and wildest red light district, while department stores, subterranean malls and electronic shops surround Shinjuku Station on all four sides, including the recently redeveloped south, where the pleasant Southern Terrace is located. Redevelopment there is still ongoing.

Shinjuku Map

Points of Interest:

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office (Tocho)

The 243 meter tall twin towers and surrounding buildings contain the offices and the assembly hall of the metropolitan government of Tokyo, as well as observatories on the 45th floor of each tower. The view from the southern tower is considered slightly more interesting.

Open daily 9:30 to 23:00 (south observatory until 17:30), except December 29-31, January 2-3 and occasional inspection days. Furthermore, the north observatory is closed on the 2nd and 4th Monday and the south observatory on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, except if a public holiday falls on the closure day, in which case the observatory is closed the following day. Admission is free.

Shinjuku Skyscraper District

Among the skyscrapers are the Tocho (see above) and some of Tokyo's leading hotels, including the Keio Plaza, Hilton, Hyatt Regency and Park Hyatt (featured in Lost in Translation). Several of the other skyscrapers have some shops on their ground floors and restaurants with great views of the city on their top floors.

The restaurants in the skyscrapers tend to be open from around 11:00 to 23:00. Some restaurants close for a few hours between lunch and dinner.


Named after a kabuki theater, whose construction plans have never been realized, Japan's largest red light district features countless restaurants, bars, pachinko parlors, love hotels and a wide variety of red light establishments for both sexes and sexual orientations. Explore with caution and beware of exorbitant cover fees.

Kabuki-cho comes to life daily after 18:00, and especially so on Fridays and Saturdays.

Department Stores:


Odakyu Department Store consists of 16 floors, including a wonderful food department in the basement and restaurant floors. The department store belongs to the Odakyu Group, which also operates a suburban railway line from Shinjuku to Odawara (Odakyu is an abbreviation for "Odawara Express").

Open daily from 10:00 to 20:00; restaurants from 11:00 to 22:00.


Keio Department Store consists of 11 floors, including a food department in the basement and several restaurants on the restaurant floor. The department store belongs to the Keio Group, which also operates a suburban railway line from Shinjuku to western Tokyo.

Open daily from 10:00 to 20:00; restaurants from 11:00 to 22:00.


Lumine is owned by JR East and located next and above Shinjuku Station's South and East Exits. Lumine is divided into "Lumine 1" west of and "Lumine 2" east of the South Exit and "Lumine Est" (formerly known as "My City") above the East Exit.

Open daily from 11:00 to 22:00; restaurants until 23:00.


Mylord offers seven floors of shopping and three restaurant floors. The complex also includes "Mosaic Dori", a narrow pedestrian street between the Keio and Odakyu department stores. Mylord is affiliated with the Odakyu Group.

Open daily from 11:00 to 21:00; restaurants until 22:30.


Opened in 1996, the Shinjuku branch of Takashimaya consists of 15 floors, including a food department in the basement and three restaurant floors. A Tokyu Hands branch and Kinokuniya book store with a large foreign language section are located in the same building complex, also known as "Times Square".

Open daily from 10:00 to 20:00; restaurants from 11:00 to 23:00.


With a history of more than 100 years Isetan is a veteran among Shinjuku's department stores. The Shinjuku store is Isetan's flagship and consists of ten floors, including a food department in the basement and a restaurant floor.

Open daily from 11:00 to 22:00 (from 10:00 on weekends and holidays); Lumine Est from 10:30 to 21:30; restaurants from 11:00 to 23:00.


Located next to the South Exit of Shinjuku Station, Flags is a ten-floor shopping complex featuring a Tower Records music store, an Oshman's sports goods store, a Gap and various other shops, cafes and an Italian restaurant.

Open daily from 11:00 to 22:00 (Tower Records and restaurant until 23:00).

Electronics Stores:

Yodobashi Camera

Yodobashi Camera is one of Japan's leading discount electronics retailers, and especially strong on camera equipment. Yodobashi's main store is located near the west exit of Shinjuku Station, while a smaller branch is located near the station's east exit.

Open daily from 9:30 to 22:00.

Bic Camera

Bic Camera is another of Japan's leading discount electronics retailers. Bic's main store is located in Ikebukuro, but it also operates two branches next to Shinjuku Station, one in the Odakyu Halc Building near the station's west exit and one east of the station near the Isetan department store.

Open daily from 10:00 to 21:00.


Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo's largest and most pleasant parks and best cherry blossom viewing spots. It was opened to the public in 1949, after it had served as a garden for the Imperial Family since 1903.

Open from 9:00 to 16:30. Closed on Mondays (Tuesday is Monday is a national holiday) from December 29 to January 3. There are no closure days during the cherry blossom season (late March to late April) and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition (first half of November). Admission is 200 Yen.

Central Park

Kumano Shrine (Kumano Jinja) and the cardboard box houses of a sizable number of homeless people are located in this public park directly behind the Tokyo Metropolitan Government twin towers.

Always open, free admission.

How to get there

Shinjuku Station is Japan's busiest railway station, served by about a dozen railway lines, including the JR Yamanote Line.

From Tokyo Station: The frequently departing, orange trains on the JR Chuo Line (Rapid Service) take less than 15 minutes and cost 190 Yen from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station.

From Ueno Station: By JR Yamanote Line it takes 25 minutes and costs 190 Yen to get from Ueno to Shinjuku. A slightly faster alternative is taking the JR Yamanote or JR Keihin-Tohoku Line from Ueno to Kanda Station, and then the JR Chuo Line from Kanda to Shinjuku.

By TS on Dec 8, 2010
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tag : Shinjuku, Tokyo




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Author:T. SATOH