Shinjuku Station is massive! You walk around the inside of it and feel like you're in an airport!
Once outside the station you will find the Shinjuku Station crossing where 2 million cross the road everyday! It's a really big place with heaps of shops and a big Starbucks over the road. It as to been seen to be believed!
You should not have any problem buying alcohol in this area, or any other for that matter. Bars are located all over Tokyo and most restuarants have it available as well. One thing about the bars however, there are some that are like member only. Clientelle bring in their own bottles and the bars keep them at the bar for the customers. Almost exclusively Japanese and VERY spendy. There are also vending machines on the streets that have sake.
I think Pachinko is like going to Las Vegas: putting metal balls into the machine to gain more balls and then exchange them for prizes. But if you want money, exchange your metal balls for vouchers and then go to small exchange center generaly located outside the pachinko to get your cash, as in Japan gambling is illegal. Good luck!
My goal, when emerging from the Shinjuku subway station, was to find the Metropolitan Government Building and take the elevator to the observation deck (it free). But I was immediately lost above ground. I had to go back underground to get my bearings. I consulted my books and soon realized that it is absolutely vital to exit the station correctly. I had mistakenly assumed that one could take any exit and find landmarks above ground. At some stations this may be true, but not Shinjuku, considered the busiest station in Tokyo. One side of the station is completely different from the other – by different I mean different cities.
The west side is a city of towering modern office buildings and the municipal buildings I was looking for.
The east side is a city of wild chaotic shopping, giant outdoor video screens, all night entertainment, and thriving sex establishments.
Spend time on each side.
I've never seen so many people walking side to side wearing exactly the same business suit in my life.. My boyfriend and I felt like sore thumbs sticking out of the crowd, but it might've been because we decided to walk around this business district during rush hour! It was "human" rush hour traffic and we we're in the middle of it! I had a lot of fun there people watching that night.
The 45th-floor obervatories in Tokyo's own Twin Towers is a great place to just take in the sheer sprawl of Tokyo. Granted it's usually quite hazy but still quite breath-taking. Unless it's particularly bad you should also see Mount Fuji.
There is an observatory in each tower, take your pick. I think it must be even more impressive at night.
Opening Hours 9.30am-11pm
Shinjuku is a good place to shop and hang out. However, to get the best of this area, you have to walk... lots of it. Shops range from low-mid range. Not very expensive place to hang out in Tokyo context. Shops open till late. Best time to visit Shinjuku is in the night, where the place is lighted up with neon lights. It is so bright that I do not remember seeing any street lights in Shunjuku. Though nearby is a "red-light" district, however, these areas are still consider save to walk around.
Recommended 2 days should be sufficient if you are on tight schedule. However, if you have the time, 4 days would be good, especially if you are into shopping....
To all who visit Tokyo, Shinjuku is a place to go!
I was only in Tokyo for one day and I basically just wandered around taking it all in. As I walked, I noticed a lot of interesting artwork scattered about (like the toe in the picture). As long as you don't get lost, it's quite fun to simply walk around Tokyo without a purpose and just see what there is to see. Tokyo is a unique place, so you're bound to find something of interest!
Shinjuku is the hub of Tokyo, and Shinjuku Station is the most used in Japan, with over 1 million people passing thru everyday.
There are 3 main exits.
Take the "East Exit" for the high street shopping area,
the "South Exit" for the Times Square Shopping Centre and
the "West Exit" for the skyscraper and business zone.
NW of the station is Kabukicho - named for its Kabuki stage area, but now more famous for being Tokyo's adult area. English books and magazines can be found at Kinokuniya ...
If you want to see a bird-eye view of Tokyo and the surrounding mountains, go to Shinjuku's Government metropolitian building where the observatory towers are free of charge. When you go up there, grab one of the brochure maps there, besides getting you around city, it also has numerous discount coupons to the main sightseeing attractions in Tokyo.
Shinjuku is the place where you see the most tall buildings of Tokyo. Is the place where in the subway station a man wearing white glove is gently pusshing the people to make possible to close the trains doors ...
One side of Shinjuku station is for offices, univercities, and governmental institutes while the other side of the JR station is hosting shops and shops and even more shops but a bit further you can find Kabuki-cho where Tokyo's red light district is.
SHinjuku is a part of that has to be seen.
In Shinjuku you can find also the twin towers hosting Tokio Metropolitan Government. These towers are having two observatories which are for free and they offer great view of Tokyo. If you are lucky (not like me - I was waiting for weeks but every weekend was raining or very cloudy) you may even see th Mt. Fuji from the South Tower!
If you're at the towers don't forget to pick up some maps and other interesting and good info leaflets from Tokyo Tourist Information Board, located near the elevator that goes up to the North Observatory.
You can go up to both observatories but if you want to have a look just from 1 of them than I recommend the south tower because the observatory there is more spacious and you have access to more windows!
When leaving the world's biggest trainstation, Shinjuku-eki, to the east you will find yourself in yet another famous entertainment district of Tokyo. Although you can find "normal" things like Pachinko halls, clubs and bars, this part is most notorious for the red-light district Kabuki-chô (If this fact scares you be advised that Tokyo is the safest metropolis in the world and so is this district).
The main reason for going there as a tourist is the broad avenue Yasukuni-dôri which has one of the biggest and most famous line-up of neon advertising and is, of course, great to look at at night.
The advertising changes constantly so don't wonder when you should return to Tokyo another time that the place has changed completely.
In spring, during the cherry blossoms season, pop into the Shinjuku Gyo-en (Shinjuku Garden) to do cherry blossom viewing. Although there is a 200yen entrance fee, it is worth it. Particularly for visitors who cannot find a place in Ueno Park to relax and enjoy the scenery.
I was alone and bought a plastic sheet to lay on the ground. Bought some food and just spent the morning laying there enjoying the experience of having natural confetti falling upon me while having a suntan. Children running all about having fun with their parents is a common sight.
Of course, take a walk round the park and you will see many different types of cherry blossom trees. One tree had a combination of 2 different coloured blossoms, it was lovely!! Great view of the garden with the Shinjuku skyscrapers in the background, particularly taken at a small bridge in the garden.
I would have loved to lay there the whole day but was running short on time.
Tokyo neighbourhoods: Shinjuku!
Shinjuku is a futuristic neighbourhood with infinite shopping possibilites (for people with infinite amounts of money). It is also a great place for strolling about. I can recommend a walk from Shinjuku to the famous Harajuku park which is not too far away!
Exit the Shinjuku station at one angle and you have the skyscraper area with among other things the Metropolitan government building, exit the other angle and you have the crowded shopping areas. Also, Shinjuku's Ni-chome is supposedly the gay center of Tokyo.
The bustling centre of Shinjuku is the closest thing Tokyo has to a "downtown". Centred around the world`s largest train station, which swallows and spits out 2 million people every day, Shinjuku is the unmissble beating heart of the metropolis.
Like much of Tokyo its thin on "sights" but rich in experiences. The surprises start almost immediately. Starting from the East Gate of the train station, head under the little passageway directly to the left and you`ll come up in the area known as "P*ss Alley" - this little block, in the heart of the busiest district in one of the world`s busiest cities, has preserved a ramshackle little labyrinth of smoky bars, and down at heel restaurants untouched since the 1950s. Garish decorations hang over the streets, and the smell of yakitori fills the air. Local salarymen sit for an afterwork beer. Atmospheric.
Kabukicho- a 5 minute walk down buzzing streets of neon, hawkers and pachinko parlors, is Tokyo`s notorious vice distrinct but worth a stroll if only for the vibe of bright lights, busy streets, and hookers and small time crooks from all over the world.
If you walk down the main strip (so to speak!) you`ll come to a Subway sandwich-shop - just opposite is an easy to miss but lovely spot- a quiet little alleyway lined with bamboos and trees, like a little forest in the middle of the urban jungle. Notice the laundry hanging above in the branches?Homeless people wash their clothes here. Walk up this little laneway and you`ll come to "Golden Gai" - another atmospheric quarter of tiny , postwar bars cramped together, under the shadow of the beautiful Hanozono Temple (famed for its outdoor theatre performances and its Sunday kimono market).
Linger a minute n the temple garden and then walk through its red torrii gates, and soon youre back on the Vegas-like blazing canyon of Yasukuni Dorii- one fo Shinjuku`s main drags- almost a full loop back to the station!