The Tokyo Metropolitan Government building has been a landmark of west Shinjuku since it was built in 1990. The building has two towers and is 243 metres tall. Both towers have free observation decks on the 45th floor where visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see the beautiful Mt Fuji. But the highlight here is the night view. The north observation deck is open till 10:30 pm, and is a popular spot for viewing the spectacular Tokyo city lights.
Kabukicho is the area that never goes to sleep. The neon lights and the crowds of people are the icons of the night life here. The area covers over 3,000 entertainment facilities, including restaurants, izakaya pubs, karaoke bars, movie theatres and night clubs, making it the largest entertainment district in Japan.
Golden Gai is an area with more than 200 small bars in six narrow alleys. Most bars here are only big enough to seat five to eight customers. The area used to be a site of prostitution in the 50s. Now, it has survived as a place where you can experience a unique Japanese bar culture.
Omoide Yokocho, literally “memory lane”, is a street area packed with small Japanese-style pubs. The area is not designed for tourists, so visitors can see what locals eat and drink in normal Tokyo life. It’s a good place to mingle with locals and share a glass or two in a nostalgic atmosphere.
©YASUFUMI NISHI ©JNTO
If you want to find a little peace in downtown Shinjuku, Shinjuku Gyoen is the place to be on a sunny day. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden located in the south of Shinjuku covers 58.7 hectares. From the end of March to April, the garden is a very popular cherry blossom viewing spot with more than 1,500 cherry blossom trees in the garden. It has three areas, including a Japanese traditional garden area, formal French and English landscape where you can take a walk. Shinjuku Gyoen is loved by locals and tourists as an oasis in the big city.
KINOKUNIYA BOOK STORE
Kinokuniya book store in Takashimaya Times Square, located a five-minute walk from the south exit of JR Shinjuku Station, has the biggest foreign book selection in Tokyo. The 6th floor is especially for foreign publications, where you can find wide range of books, magazine and Japanese comics translated into English.
Isetan department store was established in 1886, making it the oldest department store in Shinjuku. It has three buildings with a huge selection of international and domestic brands. Isetan is known as an icon in Shinjuku for lovers of shopping.
Kagurazaka, which literally means “sacred music slope”, is an ideal area to discover a traditional Japanese atmosphere in Shinjuku. The area used to be Japan’s premier pleasure district before World War II, with many geisha houses. Even now the area is redolent of old Japan with traditional houses and temples. There are also great restaurants and many interesting shops.
Day & Night
Shinjuku, located west of Tokyo, is known as the world’s busiest train station and is recognised as such in the Guiness Book of Records. More than two million people use Shinjuku Station to commute every day.
Shinjuku is divided into three areas. The west area of Shinjuku is a business district full of skyscrapers. The south area has a variety of shopping complexes, including the huge 14-storey Takashimaya Times Square shopping mall. And the east area is an amazing entertainment district full of restaurants, bars and clubs for an exciting night life.
Shinjuku offers not only bustling urban areas, but also historical temples and beautiful parks. It is a place that can satisfy all the expectations of Tokyo of any visitor to Japan.
Words: Tetsuo Nakahara