Tokyo is a very large city, and as a result of this, it can be intimidating to visit; especially if it is your first time. With around 14 major districts and plenty of day trips that voyage outside of Tokyo itself, you may be struggling to plan your itinerary. Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s most popular neighbourhoods, and therefore, you may be wondering if it is something you should consider for your trip. So, is Shinjuku worth visiting?
Shinjuku is worth visiting when in Tokyo. Shinjuku is home to some of Tokyo’s most iconic stores, malls, streets, bars and much more. It is one of the busiest districts in the capital city, and for good reason. It’s guaranteed that you will not be bored when visiting this district.
With many things to do and see in Tokyo’s busiest district, it is almost a no-brainer to visit the neighbourhood. However, before you get off on your travels, there are some important things to know.
In this article, we will take a deeper look into this buzzing district and explore why you should seriously consider spending some time here on your travels.
What Makes Shinjuku Worth Visiting?
Shinjuku stands on the western outskirts of central Tokyo and is the city’s busiest district. It only takes approximately 13-15 minutes by train via the JR Yamanote Line from Tokyo station, so it is fairly easy and quick enough to get to. While on the topic of train stations though, Shinjuku Station is in fact, the world’s busiest railway station, with approximately 3.5 million travelling passengers going in and out every single day.
Now, unless you’re a train fanatic, this won’t exactly be enough to persuade you into going to Shinjuku. However, Shinjuku is so much more than just a busy railway station and district.
Let’s take a look at what exactly makes Shinjuku worth your time.
If shopping is your thing, then Shinjuku will not disappoint. Whether it’s electronics, kitchen utensils, home goods, collectables or any other general goods you are looking for; this is the place to be in Tokyo. With many different shopping centres and hundreds of stores on the streets of Shinjuku, you shoppers will be in heaven.
Check out my article on ‘7 reasons you should visit Shinjuku’ for even more reasons to visit the district
Themed Cafes & Restaurants
If your visit to Tokyo is somewhat seeming a bit too normal, then Shinjuku’s vast collection of themed restaurants is waiting for you. I mean why eat at a normal restaurant with normal staff, that’s boring right?
Shinjuku has so many themed restaurants that you would struggle to come up with an idea for a restaurant theme that isn’t already in existence. Expect themes such as samurais, ninjas, robots, prison and so much more.
There is even a restaurant where you rent a rod and catch your fish, for you to then decide how it is cooked, ready for you to then eat. Not everyone’s ideal way of eating fish, but there’s definitely an audience for it!
Tonnes Of Activities
Tokyo is known for the large array of unique and crazy activities it has at its disposal. Shinjuku is one of the main hubs within the city for many activities.
From arcades with hundreds of iconic games inside them, private karaoke booths to sing your heart out while saving yourself the embarrassment, a batting centre to show off your baseball skills and so much more.
Shinjuku does not fall short of entertainment options at all. You could quite literally spend hours upon hours exploring and finding new activities to do all around Shinjuku.
A Buzzing Nightlife
If you class yourself as a night owl and can’t help but love going out in the evenings, Shinjuku is the place for you! Kabukicho in particular is one of the most popular nightlife locations in all of Tokyo.
Kabukicho is a smaller neighbourhood within Shinjuku and it is known as Tokyo’s ‘red light district.’ Within the area of Kabukicho itself, you can expect to find things such as host/hostess clubs, thousands of neon lights, bars, pachinko parlours and pretty much anything which makes up that authentic Japanese nightlife.
Check out my article on ‘Is Kabukicho safe and should you visit?’ to know if you should check out this area
Iconic Areas & Streets
If you have had enough of all the energetic activities, crazy-themed restaurants and the busy streets at night time; Shinjuku has more to offer that might be up your alley.
Shinjuku is home to some of the most iconic locations in Tokyo and Japan as a whole. For example, take a stroll down Golden Gai; a small area consisting of narrow alleyways which contain over 200 bars and small restaurants. It is one of the few remaining areas in Tokyo that hasn’t been reconstructed, and for that, it is beautiful.
There are many more iconic locations to be seen in Shinjuku though. Some examples are Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Omoide Yakocho, the samurai museum and much more.
How Long Should I Spend In Shinjuku?
You may now be considering visiting Shinjuku, but that leads to another question, “how long should I spend there?”
That question can be somewhat difficult to answer though. After all, there is just so much to see and do in this district. It can be an overwhelming amount in some situations.
Check out my article on ‘Is Shinjuku Safe?’ for important information before you visit
It is necessary to spend at least two days/nights in Shinjuku due to the sheer amount of things to do and see. In some cases, depending on the length of your stay, I would even recommend spending longer in the neighbourhood. However, if you can only spend a short amount of time in Shinjuku, I strongly recommend going once in the day and once in the evening. This way you will see both sides of Shinjuku, which are very different.
I would personally recommend having your accommodation for your stay based in Shinjuku. This is because there is so much around, and with having your accommodation based in the middle of it, you can explore as and when you please.
Let’s say for example you go on a day trip to Akihabara. You spend hours there, then you get back to the hotel, have a power nap, and then you decide you want more. Well, with your hotel in Shinjuku, you won’t have to travel far at all to find some amazing locations.
Shinjuku is undoubtedly one of the best areas you can visit in all of Japan, let alone Tokyo. With the mix of modern craziness and traditional tastefulness, this area provides an experience that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world.