When you imagine the city of Tokyo, the skyscraper, neon lights, and bustle of Shinjuku are what come to mind for many. Some of the best things to do and see in Shinjuku are the observation decks, expansive parks, tiny alleyways filled with bars, shopping galore, and more nightlife than you can imagen.
Let us help you put together an unforgettable Shinjuku itinerary for your visit to this metropolitan wonderland
A few Quick Take Aways
- Shinjuku station is the world’s busiest train station
- Tokyo metropolitan government building offers free observation decks with great views
- Shinjuku Gyoen national garden has cherry trees, walking trails, and fantastic Japanese gardens
- At night time uncover tiny bars at Golden Gai
- You can get discount tickets to the robot restaurant, ninja experience, and samurai museum online
- Nearby Shin Okubo or little Korea is a great place for a BBQ dinner
- Always avoid touts when choosing a place to drink in Shinjuku
- Shinjuku station building has a host of shops and a department store where you can shop till late.
What is Shinjuku known for?
Shinjuku is a city ward in Tokyo’s 23rd district, although the name generally refers to a large entertainment area around Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku is the most visited and crowded train station with daily traffic of more than 500,000.
Is Shinjuku a red-light district?
Kabukicho is a district within the Shinjuku district in West Japan. Even though family members could come and see this place during the daylight hours there’s a strong “adult” atmosphere when the moon rises.
Head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Located along Tokyo’s bustling business areas, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck is an attraction you can’t ignore. This spectacular two-story building features an impressive observation deck measuring 202 meters high. To view spectacular city views, go to the 45th level at either the North or South Tower.
You can enter both observation areas in the tokyo metropolitan building free of charge. Daytime: When you are visiting Shinjuku in daylight you can get a 360-degree look around it. Try also seeing Mount fuji and Tokyo tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree, and other Tokyo landmarks.
Explore the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a breathtaking nature park that offers stunning scenery for tourists. Find inspiration from colorful and multicultural gardens – from English to Japanese. The park has hundreds of stunning trees and flowers, offering an excellent backdrop for photo shoots.
You can stroll through the gardens and enjoy the views. And you can’t help but admire the gardens’ landscape, because they change in the different seasons. This allows you to view the Park throughout the season.
Get in touch with the cherry tree in Spring or the maple tree in Autumn. It is certainly worth putting it on your Shinjuku bucket list.
Shinjuku Central Park
Shinjuku Central Park is another green area in a very busy area of Tokyo. Shinjuku Central Park is often served by salary-men or career-woman workers working nearby skyscrapers. There is a fountain, chapel, and cherry tree.
During Sakura season, there are plenty of local residents enjoying picnics under trees. It’s a great place in Shinjuku to enjoy the green space and relax. Allow about one hour for the parks. It’s less big than Shinjuku Gyoen, but it’s worth visiting.
Shinjuku Train Station
Shinjuku is the busiest station on Earth with 2 million people logged on each year. Yes, you read that correctly. More than 2m passengers use the train station every day. You’ll probably be arriving here in the morning.
Get your coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee. There are many stores at the station. However, you’d prefer to find a nearby exit point to travel to Shinjuku. Tip: Try not to travel by subway during high traffic times. If you have an insane idea, things could go horribly wrong.
Take a peek at the Giant Godzilla’s Head
Godzilla Head is a must-see in Shinjuku. It is situated in the eighth-floor lobby at the Gracery Shinjuku. Take photos of famous characters in an iconic landmark and pose for photos.
The Giant Godzilla can be viewed in a few moments. The site provides a chance to spot incredible flames and lasers from Godzilla. Roar Time: 12:00 pm, 21:00 pm, 15:00 pm.
Pay Your Respects at the Hanazono Shrine
A good way to get into Shinjuku is by stopping at Hanazono Shrine. The quiet hidden treasure sits at the heart of the bustling city center.
The temple is regarded as a favorite by many people whose business is centered around business. Besides prayers, make sure to photograph the beautiful religious landscape as well.
Check out BICQLO Shinjuku
The BIC QLO Shinjuku is a combination of a popular Japanese retailer in TokyoBic Camera and a Japanese retail chain, Uniqlo. Bic Camera is an internationally renowned manufacturer of electronics for homes and Uniqlo is known for its clothing brands as well.
It is a very distinctive store from all the malls in Shinjuku. Take a moment to view the products in the store, including beauty appliances and cameras. In addition to fashion clothing, you will see a vast variety of stylish accessories. Starting from floor 1 you will do everything Uniqo requires. And the other floor is dedicated to camera equipment and other items.
Dress up as a Samurai at the Samurai Museum
We didn’t get to the Samurai Museum yet, but it has a great review and it was an enjoyable family-friendly activity. The smaller museum displays costumes of these honored warriors.
The price includes guided tours to learn more about the samurais and their impact on modern Japanese society. It is possible to try the costumes as an exciting photographing opportunity.
Stroll Down Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho)
Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho in Japanese) is my favorite location in Shinjuku during the night.
It’s also less romantically known as Piss alley and is in Nishi Shinjuku so you can get there by taking the west exit from Shinjuku station.
You can eat yakitori skewers washed down with beer with the locals and tourists. The tiny bars have paper lantern decorations and seasonal flowers (summer leaf and cherry blossom) as well as smudges from the grill.
The area can get busy – our visit on a rainy October night was much more fun than on April Saturdays.
Sing Karaoke in a Private Booth
We walked into the neon center of bustling Kabukicho, before enjoying our first Japanese Karaoke Experience. In Japan karaoke has become a popular pastime. Visit any one of Japan’s large karaoke centers and make for a fun local experience.
You rent a private area with comfortable seats and a tablet in which you can pick up plenty of English songs. Use a microphone to play slang in this funny video. Package options vary depending on the number of times of the week.
Visit Shinjuku Golden Gai
Shinjuku golden gai (Golden Street) is a fantastic way to experience traditional nightlife in Tokyo. Located in six narrow alleys, the attraction hosts over 250 bars.
This area became popular after the second world war where it offered cheap drinks and street food.
Do mber that the now most places are not cheap drinking places and its clients generally are wealthy residents of the area. We don’t recommend eating at the restaurant here.
A lot of local bars are also open at 7pm. Therefore the area remains extremely quiet from dawn until late in the afternoon. But if you want the best place to visit with a beautiful view or relaxation, it’s an interesting option. Most of the bars here are very small; one bar can accommodate only 5 people.
When a salary-payer or career worker finishes a job, they often enjoy a drink after work. You may discover them in Golden Gai, a fantastic location for beer lovers. Golden Gai is the perfect place to stay when you want to explore Shinjuku.
Golden Gai bars and restaurants have a little bit of an alternative style. These are small spaces and have very little seating.
It’s hard to escape from talking to a local (provided the person knows English or Japanese). Sometimes the owners may refuse to let you go, even if the seat is empty.
Recreate Lost in Translation at the New York Bar at Park Hyatt
We recommend watching a Lost in Translation movie before you visit Tokyo. The characters reside in the Park Hotel Tokyo in Shinjuku and first meet in an upstairs 52nd-floor bar that offers a breathtaking panorama of the City.
Go shopping at Don Quijote Shinjuku
The trip to Shinjuku is impossible without seeing Don Quijote. Currently, it has over 160 stores across Japan with an impressive number of outlets.
Keep in mind that these tourist attractions are very popular because it gives you a convenient shopping experience. Explore a gigantic Don Quijotes branch on five floors.
The mall has an even more efficient tax-free counter! Browse through these sections and discover tons of Japanese instant noodles and beverages. Asahi Beer can and bottled drinks are offered. Fruit and iced tea are also offered. Japan’s snack shops are also nearby.
Learn to be a Ninja at Ninja Trick House
Another good option for children to visit Shinjuku is Ninja Trickhouse. This will go on our next best list! Here you’ll discover how a ninja lives and try their techniques yourself. Experiences can last between 20-45 minutes.
Details: The entry fee for a child under three and under is 14 yen per adult. Opening hours are between 11 am – 6pm. Closed Tuesday-Friday. Reservations are very important.
Spend a Night Out at Kabukicho
There is no list of things that are great about Shinjuku nightlife without visiting Kabukichok. Take a walk through the largest red light neighborhood in Japan which is often described as the most lively city centre in the world.
In the popular entertainment district take a photo of a special spot in the famous white Kabukitcho gate. Here you’ll find plenty of nightclubs, restaurants, hostess bars, and some less reputable establishments.
Just wander through the bright streets and take pictures. If your search for the easiest place to explore Shinjuku especially at night is certainly a top option.
Experience Sensory Overload at Robot Restaurant
After that we had our heads swollen but it wasn’t disputed that robot restaurants are among the craziest Shinjuku activities. It’s a highly energetic show, not a restaurant (no food there), and features robots, dragons, ninjas, blue-haired dancers, creepy clowns, guitarists, on swings, drums and more.
The Robot Restaurant has become an extremely popular place to go in Shinjuku’s entertainment and red lights district Kabukicho. It’s a small seedy but lively area that features hostesses, bars, and hotel ambiance. The area offers plenty of good lighting.
Satisfy your Cravings at Isetan
The Shinjuku Isetan restaurant is well known for having an outstanding menu. If you’d like some food, just go to the ground floor. As an ideal place for hungry consumers, there are many tasty options there.
Choose from many delicious bento meals containing everything you need. Another delicious choice is served at the restaurant in terms of tempura, sushi teas wines, or other local desserts. It would certainly make for good snacks while walking in Shinjuku.
Enjoy Sushi in Shinjuku
Sushi Zanmai Shinjuku Higashiguchi is an unbeatably excellent place to get great sushi. This renowned restaurant is famous for its excellent sushi selection.
See its impressive sushi selection which varies from noncooked food to cooked food. They have a wide choice of sushi varieties, ideal for all kinds of sushi lovers.
The menu in English allows easy ordering. In addition, staff can communicate and speak English, so they are easier to find.
Try Ichiran Shinjuku
It is an undisputed favorite ramen spot for local residents and visitors in Shinjuku. This is the most popular Japanese food that you should try to avoid. Savor the simplest Tonkotsu Rame that has an intense, creamy pork broth.
The soup combines smooth noodles, cut meat, seasoned red sauce, and roasted red onions. A meal for ramen is 1 495 yen and 890 yen for ramen with no sides.
Stop by Niboshi Ramen Nagi
Another popular place for delicious ramen at Shinjuku is not far away from Nibushi Ramen Nagi. Explore the best Ramen option here.
Devour some Tendon Tenya
Tendon Tenya was rated among Shinjuku’s best restaurants for tendon dishes. They have delicious tendon dishes at a good price. Browse their meals to satisfy all kinds of hungry consumers. They offer excellent tendon, prawn & chicken tendon, and vegetable tendon.
But if you are looking for the best, you should never miss out on their most popular tendon. Those come with prawns, squid, pumpkin, and okra.
The meal was surprising because it was cheap. So, if you want tasty tendons at reasonable prices, these should definitely be the best choice for you when you travel to Shinjuku.
Enjoy a feast at Torikizoku
Torikizoku offers delicious yet cheap meat and drinks. It is famous for its tasty chicken skewers known as yakitori. Make sure you include the information on your list of activities at Shinjuku because it will really be worth it.
Choose from a huge range of dishes ranging from shrimp to meatballs with cheese. Also, try kizokuyaki (thigh beef) and yakitori (chicken skewer).
Among their best-selling items are grilled meat skewers and the chicken meat skewer. You can also add sides of chicken and fried meat or green onion to your salad.
Eat Vegan Ramen In Shinjuku
If you are vegan you can still enjoy some delicious ramen while in Shinjuku. Shinjuku Gyoen ramen ouka offers a fantastic vegan ramen. Ippudo and Menya Musashi also cater to vegan and vegetarian customers.
Where to stay in Shinjuku: The best hotels for sightseeing
Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s coolest places to live. Hotels at Shinjuku cost more than other places in Taito. For many travelers, it is worth every dollar spent a few nights in this wild city of Tokyo.
Accommodation in Shinjuku
In addition to the love hotels and capsules, there is ample accommodation available at the heart of Tokyo. If you want close proximity to most of Tokyo’s most significant sights, choosing a hotel is a good option. We’ve chosen our favorite hotels in Tokyo to give you a pleasant stay at the most reasonable prices. Please check where you are staying in Tokyo and see other, quieter neighborhoods.
Park Hyatt Tokyo is highly regarded if you can afford it.
Is Shinjuku worth visiting?
Shinjuku is an important business area around Tokyo’s busiest railway station. It’s a Japan you’ve imagined with huge skyscrapers, neon signs, and a loud arcade. Besides being crowded, there is plenty to escape from the crowds.
Why should I visit Shinjuku?
Shinjuku city is a must-visit area of Tokyo and is known for its entertainment district in Tokyo. This neighborhood offers an extravagant nightlife filled with neon lights and is considered the largest red light district in Japan.
More tips and facts About Shinjuku
- Jazz lovers should make a beeline to Shinjuku Pit Inn which is the center of Tokyo’s jazz scene
- At Shinjuku Chuko Camera Ichiba you can find some great deals on new and vintage models of cameras
- Note that many hostess bars will not allow entry for non-Japanese speakers
- The new “BUSTA” bus terminal is right next to JR Shinjuku station
- Note that the entrance fee for the fantastic Sompo Museum of art will change depending on the current exhibition
- Many coffee shops and bars will offer free wi fi