Shinjuku is one of the 23 city wards of Tokyo, but the name commonly refers to just the large entertainment, business and shopping area around Shinjuku Station.
Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest railway station, handling more than two million passengers every day. It is served by about a dozen railway and subway lines, including its main artery, the JR Yamanote Line.
Shinjuku is also one of Tokyo’s major stops for long-distance highway buses and city buses.
Named after a kabuki theater, whose construction plans have never been put to fruit. Japan’s largest red light district features countless restaurants, bars, nightclubs, pachinko parlors, love hotels and a wide variety of red light establishments for both sexes and different sexual orientations. Tourists would usually do well to explore with caution and beware of exorbitant cover fees.
Omoide Yokocho, also known under its more colorful nickname Shomben Yokocho which means Piss Alley. It got it’s name from drunkards pissing in this very alley. It’s a small network of alleyways along the tracks northwest of Shinjuku Station.
The narrow lanes are filled with dozens of tiny eateries serving ramen, soba, sushi, yakitori and kushiyaki. Many restaurants consists of just one counter with some chairs, while others have a couple of small tables.
West of the station is Shinjuku’s skyscraper district, home to many of Tokyo’s tallest buildings, including several premier hotels and the twin towers of the Metropolitan Government Office, whose observation decks are open to the public.
The area west of Shinjuku Station is home to a large number of skyscrapers including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and leading hotels such as Park Hyatt Hotel (featured in the movie: Lost in Translation).
Several of the skyscrapers have shops and restaurants on their ground floors and additional restaurants with great views of the city on their top floors.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku is often visited for its free observation decks which provide good panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond.
The 243 meter tall building has two towers, and each houses an observatory at a height of 202 meters.
With favorable weather conditions, famous landmarks such as Mount Fuji, the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine and the Tokyo Dome can be seen from the observatories.
Each observatory has a cafe and a souvenir shop. The North Observatory remains open later at night, making it a popular date spot to catch night views of the city.
The towers and the surrounding buildings contain the offices and the assembly hall of the metropolitan government of Tokyo. Visitors are therefore subjected to bag checks prior to boarding the elevators as part of the security measures.
On the second story of the building, there is a tourist information center with lots of information about Tokyo, but also about various other tourist destinations across Japan. Periodically, the center holds fairs during which local products from selected regions that are being introduced and put on sale.
Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most pleasant parks and one of the city’s best cherry blossom viewing spots. It was opened to the public in 1949, after it had served as a garden for the Imperial Family since 1903.
The park is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks. Located just a short walk from Shinjuku Station, the paid park’s spacious lawns, meandering walking paths and tranquil scenery provide a relaxing escape from the busy urban center around it.
In spring Shinjuku Gyoen becomes one of the best places in the city to see cherry blossoms. Shinjuku Gyoen originated during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as a feudal lord’s Tokyo residence.
Later it was converted into a botanical garden before being transferred to the Imperial Family in 1903 who used used it for recreation and the entertainment of guests. The park was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but was eventually rebuilt and reopened in 1949 as a public park.
Shinjuku Gyoen is comprised of three different types of gardens.
The oldest is a traditional Japanese landscape garden featuring large ponds dotted with islands and bridges. Well manicured shrubs and trees surround the water together with several pavilions and the Kyu Goryotei which was built on the occasion of the wedding of the Showa Emperor.
A chrysanthemum exhibit is held during the first two weeks of November in the Japanese garden with flower displays and large, temporary pavilions erected around the grounds. The park’s other main gardens include a symmetrically arranged formal French garden, and an English landscape garden featuring wide, open lawns surrounded by flowering cherry trees.
The rest of the park consists of forested areas, lawns and several structures including a restaurant, an information center and an art gallery.
Shinjuku Gyoen is home to a large number of cherry trees of more than a dozen different varieties. From late March to early April, more than 400 somei yoshino trees blossom around the English garden turning the lawns into one of Tokyo’s most popular and pleasant hanami spots.
In addition, the park has numerous early and late blooming cherry trees which provide an extended cherry blossom viewing season (mid March to late April) for those who miss the main season.
Shinjuku Gyoen is also nice to visit during autumn when the leaves change. There are a lot of different types of trees that change colors around the park, however the maple trees are particularly beautiful and can be seen in large numbers around the Japanese garden and Momijiyama (maple mountain) on the park’s eastern side.
Shin-Okubo Koreatown is a collection of Korean shops and restaurants found along the main road and side streets around Shin-Okubo Station, one stop north of Shinjuku Station.
Many of the shops and restaurants are operated by Korean immigrants and sell a variety of Korean goods, including K-Pop music, videos and groceries.
Department stores, subterranean malls and electronic shops surround Shinjuku Station on all four sides, including the recently redeveloped Southern Terrace.
Shibuya, girls paradise; is just located nearby to Shinjuku.
Note to Readers: The pictures in this post are not in sequence and do not necessarily match the contents here.