Shinjuku Travel Guide

Shinjuku at a glance

Shinjuku is a popular business, entertainment, and shopping district in the heart of Tokyo. The area is filled with flashing neon, shiny skyscrapers, huge TV screens, expensive department stores, bargain shopping markets, and crowds and crowds of people. More than 3.5 million people pass through the doors at Shinjuku Station everyday, making it the busiest in Japan and possibly the world.

Shinjuku is home to Tokyo’s largest skyscraper district, home of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices – two massive buildings designed by renowned architect Tange Kenzo. The area also has Tokyo’s biggest red-light district (Kabukicho), the city’s center of gay culture (Shinjuku Ni-chome), and one of it’s best parks (Shinjuku Gyoen). The prestigious Waseda University and Tokyo’s best-known Korean district, Okubo, are also found in Shinjuku.

Shinjuku hotels boast some of Tokyo most expensive, including the Park Hyatt Tokyo (featured in Lost in Translation), Keio Plaza Hotel, Hyatt Regency Tokyo, and Four Seasons Tokyo.Click on the Shinjuku map for a larger version.

Shinjuku map, Tokyo

Orientation

Shinjuku is located in Shinjuku-ku, one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo, but usually refers to the area around Shinjuku Station. It lies in western Tokyo near Shibuya, Harajuku, Roppongi, Omotesando, and Aoyama.Shinjuku is divided into east and west by the many railway tracks that run into Shinjuku Station.

West Shinjuku

West Shinjuku (Nishi Shinjuku) is a showcase for modern architecture and is one of the few areas in Tokyo with a high concentration of skyscrapers. The area remained largely undamaged during the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and is considered to be more stable than other areas in the city.During lunch time, West Shinjuku streets fill up with the area’s OL (office ladies) and sarariman (salaried company employees), and can be a great place for people-watching. The area also boasts Tokyo’s largest camera stores – Yodobashi and Sakuraya.

East Shinjuku

East Shinjuku (Higashi Shinjuku) is a shopping and nightlife center packed with bars, clubs, and restaurants. It is most famous for Kabukicho, Tokyo’s largest red-light district and the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station is Japan’s busiest station and one of the busiest in the world. Above ground, the station is attached to department stores, shopping malls, restaurants, and drinking establishments. Below ground, the station is a town of its own, with miles of stores, restaurants, and other commercial facilities.

How to Get to Shinjuku

Shinjuku is serviced by over a dozen trains and subway lines. Most stop at JR Shinjuku Station, though some pull into other stations that are either attached or close by.

Tokyo Metro: Marunochi Line, Yurakucho Line, Tozai Line, Namboku Line
JR: Yamanote Line, Chuo Line, Sobu Line, Saikyo Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line
Toei: Shinjuku Line, Oedo Line, Toden Arakawa Line
Keio: Keio Line, Keio New Line
Seibu: Seibu Shinjuku Line
Odakyu: Odawara Line