10 interesting things you can do in Shinjuku

File:Shinjuku-Station-West-01.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

After Shibuya and Ikebukuro, the third largest city center of Tokyo is Shinjuku.
Known as the entertainment, shopping and office-complex city, Shinjuku also hosts the world’s most busiest train station: Shinjuku station.
It is definitely an area worth visiting and spending a couple of weekends exploring.
I added Shinjuku’s official website below so be sure to check it out!
http://www.city.shinjuku.lg.jp/foreign/english/ (English)
Here are 10 interesting places/things you can do in Shinjuku:

1

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Being one of the most visited tourist attractions in Shinjuku, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building aka the Tokyo Twin Towers (following the Twin Towers in New York) offers amazing views for its visitors on the 45th floor of their observatory.
When I first moved to Japan, I decided to visit the government building in the first month– as the place isn’t only famous for its incredible observatory, but it also provides an information center for visitors and interesting restaurants and souveniers shops on different levels throughout.
The twins used to be Tokyo’s tallest building structure before Midtown Tower and Skytree were built.
The first thing you notice going in, is how modern the internal architecture is – the place gives off an astonishing official yet vibrant feeling.
The elevator takes seconds to get to the 45th floor, and some people ‘complain’ how their ears get blocked for a second.
The view is amazing – Tokyo Tower, SkyTree, Shinjuku and beyond can be seen from the 360 observation deck.
It is definitely worth going, and after you visit the observation deck I recommend stopping by the Central Park.

2

Shinjuku Central Park aka Shinjuku Chuo Central Park

File:Shinjuku chuo park 2009.JPG – Wikimedia Commons

After visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, a lot of people pop into the Shinjuku Central Park on their way home.
Situated right in front of the Twin Tower building, the Shinjuku Chuo Central Park is a gem to find in the midst of the busy metropolitan city.
Similar to Yoyogi park, this is a relaxing and quiet park where a lot of people take walks and meet up.
Since Shinjuku has a lot of offices and department stores, a lot of the office workers eat lunch and relax here before continuing with their work.
The park has a well known, Kumano Shrine in the North bit, and a lot of people visit it because of its unique structure.
A lot of keen photographers visit the waterfall to take pictures of the nature and the opening skyline around it.
It is truly a relaxing and nice place to visit if you want a break from the bustling city around.

3

Shinjuku Gyoen National Park

File:Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – sakura 4.JPG – Wikimedia Commons

One of the most well known parks around Shinjuku and Shibuya is without doubt the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park.
Even though the Shinjuku Central Park located in front of the Twin Towers is frequently visited, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park is more varied and diverse and has a lot to offer to its visitors.
During springtime, this park is visited during the cherry blossom season and is one of the most popular hanami destinations apart from Ueno.
Apart from the two traditional Japanese gardens, Shinjuku Gyoen National Park also features some ‘international’ gardens as well, and these are quite interesting to visit.
The park features many pine and maple trees as well as several ponds and bridges making it a popular destination for photography fans.
It is worth visiting and is an interesting place to go in Shinjuku.

4

Omoide Yokocho

Up for some yakitori or sushi? Then Omoide Yokocho is the place to go!
These unique alleys of about 50-60 mini restaurants/bars offer many different yakitori and sushi food for their customers.
The isles themselves go way back, as they used to be black markets for products banned by the government after WW2.
They quickly became popular, and they still maintain their old and traditional atmosphere to this day (don’t worry – its not a black market anymore). The place is also famous for fresh-made udon and soba noodles so you might want to check it out if it grasps your attention.
Many office workers or people commuting through Shinjuku might pop in for a drink/snack/chat before going home – this is why seeing people with official suits are quite common.
If you are interested you can check out their main website for more information on the different shops and unique history:

http://www.shinjuku-omoide.com/english/

5

Kabukicho

File:Kabukicho-Sinjyuku-Tokyo 2014.JPG – Wikimedia Commons

One of the most visited date/ hanging out places in Shinjuku, Kabukicho is known as the ‘never dull or quiet’ red-light district.
Do not mistaken it for the red-light district in Amsterdam – the place does contain thousands of bars, love hotels and clubs, but it’s most certainly nothing alike to the European red-light district.
The history goes way back to WW2 when a Kabuki place was in construction, but it got cancelled halfway although the name remained – Kabuki-cho. A cabaret bar was established and many different businesses thrived around the area. It is said that the majority of the places are controlled by the yakuza.
Even though Tokyo is tourist-friendly, do beware the possibilities of scam, as not every place is traveller-friendly.
However, it is an interesting place to explore – you might have seen Tokyo neon light scenes in films, and some are usually filmed in Kabukicho.

6

Isetan Department Store

File:Isetan Shinjuku.JPG – Wikimedia Commons

The Isetan department store is one of the most well known / influential shopping centers you can go to do your ultimate shopping in Tokyo.
Establishing its headquarters in Shinjuku, Isetan has already spread many of its branches through not only Japan, but also international countries as well making it a famous destination for Tokyo tourists.
The variety of different shops is amazing – people comment on the delicious food court and the trend–setting shops throughout the building.
If you need to buy something, or you are just looking for something that might catch your eye – Isetan is a good place to start.
Many people say that Harajuku might be the better option for trendy clothes, but I assure you that Isetan isn’t that far behind either.
They have many promotions and interesting sales so be sure to check out their main website to see if they have something to offer:

http://isetan.mistore.jp/onlinestore/index.html

7

Bic Camera

File:Odakyu-Halc-03.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Although the name might sound not as appealing, Bic Camera is known for their massive technology selling input throughout Tokyo.
Situated in Shinjuku as well as Shibuya and Ikebukuro (the three main metro stations in Tokyo), this department store sells all kind of different computer technology to its visitors.
The first thing you would probably notice coming up is the massive crowd around the building – but don’t let that scare you off. Shinjuku is a very populated region so many people walking around is normal. Usually, there are “callers” on the street who invite customers in telling them the main deal of the day/week.
If you are a geek, or just looking for some new upgraded tech gear – this massive department store is definitely a must to visit.
From video games to computers to phones and different electronic applications, Bic Camera is a good place to shop.
Check out their main website for interesting new sales and deals.

http://www.biccamera.co.jp/shoplist/shop-016.html

8

TAITO Game Station

Taito Game stations from the Taito Corporation are an interesting place to visit at least once when coming to Tokyo.
Headquarters in Shibuya, this branch is situated all along Japan and could be frequently seen on the streets of Tokyo.
Japanese purikura and UFO catchers (Claw machines) are quite popular among teenagers, as well as different music and arcade games. TAITO also has DDR and many interesting virtual games which appeal to their visitors.
The game station in Shinjuku is very well known and many foreigners like to visit it for one big reason – cosplay purikura aka cospuri.
Purikura, or Japanese sticker photos are booths that are situated mainly around the whole of Japan where people can come in and take some photos and enjoy their time decorating them with different messages. Cospuri – is basically a mix of cosplay and purikura where you get the opportunity to dress up in different outfits and take purikura. It’s a fun destination and attraction for dates as well as the general public.

9

Die Katze (ディ・カッツェ)

Die Katze, and adorable teashop situated in Shinjuku. However, it has a big twist – it’s not only a teashop, but it’s a popular destination for cat lovers because it’s a cat café!
This adorable café offers scones, brownies and black tea for its visitors. They provide a really nice lunch menu as well.
There are many different themed cafes and shops in Shinjuku and Tokyo, but I think this one is a must to visit for any cat fan.
You can check out their main website for coupons and more information if interested.

http://www.hotpepper.jp/strJ000123602/

10

MOVE Café / Robot Restaurant

Apart from the previously mentioned Die Katze cat café, I think these two cafes are a must to visit as well.
Starting from MOVE café with an interesting concept of “Being alone with your own secrets” in an interesting space, this café strives to leave their visitors happy and smiling.
The thing that appealed to me the most is their late art. On every plate of food / every drink you order there is a cute design. This is a really nice place to relax with friends and coworkers or even alone if you have any free time.

Moving on to the Robot restaurant, which is much harder to explain than the peaceful MOVE café. This restaurant is in one word – crazy.
You notice the vibrant colors and mind-blowing detail when walking into the entrance. Robot restaurant hosts around 3 drag-like performances a day and people comment on the spectacular visual stimulations and unique concepts. It is really exciting and interesting to visit.
Check out their main website for a general feeling of the atmosphere or the prices.

http://www.shinjuku-robot.com/pc/ http://www.movecafe.com/index.php

CONCLUSION

Overall, Shinjuku has many different things to offer its visitors – department stores, themed cafes and restaurants as well as relaxing parks. It is truly an interesting place to visit for tourists who search for exotic experiences or just wish to spend time with themselves in a cozy corner. It is definitely a must to visit – just spending an evening there is enough to get an understanding of the atmosphere and the attractions. It is a widely visited place for people of all ages.

maria.p

maria.p

Freelancer from UpWork. Lived in Germany, LA, Tokyo before coming to the UK. Hope you enjoy reading my articles:)