Featuring the world's busiest train station, Shinjuku is one of the loudest and most colourful districts of Tokyo. Synonymous with business, entertainment and shopping, Shinjuku is a popular tourist destination with many things to do, as well as home to Japan's wildest red light district areas. If you are interested in large department stores, crazy neon lights, massive electronic stores and subterranean malls, Shinjuku is the place to be. We sure added Shinjuku to our 7 day Tokyo itinerary.
Shinjuku Skyscraper District
Make your way towards the West of the Shinjuku Station and enter the Skyscraper District, home to Tokyo's tallest buildings. If you haven't visited the Tokyo Sky Deck at the Roppongi Hills or the Tokyo Skytree, this is your perfect chance to photograph the mega-metropolis from above. Follow the signs towards the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where it is free of charge observatory located on the 45th floor.
Shinjuku Interesting Fact
Here's what I found out when I visited Shinjuku: The Park Hyatt five star hotel was featured in the movie "Lost in Translation", together with many vibrant spots in Shinjuku and Shibuya.
Kabukicho: Japan's Largest Red Light District
A wild place featuring countless bars, nightclubs, love hotels and pachinko parlours, Kabukicho is the mecca for adult entertainment. If you are feeling adventurous, you can go visit a hostess bar which is innocent enough as it usually stops at conversation and some fun karaoke.
Many places in Kabukicho are ran by the yakuza. I would recommend always checking places' reviews before popping in, just to be on the safe side.
Known as Memory Lane, as per its literal translation, or its unconventional nickname, The Piss Alley, Omoide Yokocho consists of several small alleyways located around Shinjuku Station. This is a great place to have a quick snack or stop for some ramen, sushi or soba. I found the restaurants here very cramped and quite smoky, but the overall atmosphere was great.
In a city of multiple personalities, there is no surprise that you can find over 200 bars and restaurants packed together in a very small district in Kabukicho. This is not your typical pub, as most places feel as if you're stepping into someone's kitchen. The atmosphere is well worth a visit as this is a great place to spark a conversation with a local or meet other tourists in search of a chat.
No, I'm not talking about Manhattan, but Shinjuku's own Central Park. Located behind the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Central Park it's a great place if you fancy escaping Shinjuku's madness. Although not much going on around here, apart from the Kumano Shrine and the Waterfall, you can almost always see filming crews here, shooting some Japanese drama.
Although not as popular as Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen is considered one of Tokyo's great cherry blossoms spots. Initially a garden for the Imperial Family, the Shinjuku Gyoen park is now open to the public and a wonderful place for a pleasant stroll.
Food with attitude
With several 10+ story high department stores, you can be spoilt for choice in Shinjuku. Whether you end up in Isetan, a store with over 100 years worth of history or Takashimaya which has a food department in the basement as well as three restaurant floors, you're sure to find more food than you can handle.
From all the cities I have visited so far, Tokyo turned out to be most amazing for shopping. I could spend days, even weeks on end walking through all its stores and buying well-fitted clothes and funky souvenirs. Shinjuku is no exception to Tokyo's shopping beat, as you can either wander around Isetan, Takashimaya, Keio, Lumine, Mylord or Odakyu. This is the time to get lost in Shinjuku's shopping mazes.
Over to you now, what was your perfect place in Shinjuku and what was your favourite thing to do? What weird and crazy things did you come across? Tell me all about it by commenting below.