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Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip
Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip

The Best Things to Do and See in Shinjuku

Picture of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer
Updated: 26 January 2018

There is more to Shinjuku than nightlife and shopping. Check out the top things to do and see in Tokyo‘s Shinjuku Ward.

Golden Gai

Shinjuku’s Golden Gai is one of the area’s most well-known attractions and extremely popular with visitors. This block of narrow alleys near Kabukicho is filled with tiny, two-story bars, most of them with barely room for six people. The old-fashioned bars juxtaposed with Shinjuku’s ultra modern entertainment district is part of the reason the area remains popular and has avoided redevelopment.

Golden Gai, Tokyo, Japan


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip

Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku National Garden)

Shinjuku Gyoen is a large park in Shinjuku that was once the sprawling estate the Naito family during Edo times. Visitors can check out three distinct gardens, Japanese, English, and French, and check out the large greenhouse for even more variety. The garden is open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM daily and closed on Mondays. Entry is 200 yen.

Shinjuku Gyoen, 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Kagurazaka was once Tokyo’s busiest geisha district and is still home to the odd invite only restaurant where they do business. It’s a historic district known for its cobbled lanes, winding alleyways and old, family-owned shops. In recent years, Kagurazaka has developed under a strong French influence.


Kabukicho is Shinjuku’s main entertainment district. It’s known for its large concentration of hostess and cabaret clubs, but there are also shops and boutiques, live music venues, restaurants including the Shinjuku Robot Restaurant, and even a small museum located here.


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Shin-Okubo is also known at Tokyo’s Koreatown. With K-pop and Korean pop culture popular as ever among the city’s youth, Shin-Okubo has become a favorite spot for them to hang out. Pick up the latest cosmetics and fashions straight out of Korea and the largest concentration of Korean restaurants in the city.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Visitors to Tokyo love the two free observation decks at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which look out over the city and Shinjuku Chuo Park. There’s also a small café and souvenir shop.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, 2 Chome Nishishinjuku, Tokyo, Japan


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip



Toyama Park

Toyama Park includes the popular cherry blossom viewing spot Mount Hakone, not to be confused with Mount Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture. The small hill and rugged, woodsy park are a perfect escape from the concrete jungle that surrounds it.

Toyama Park, Tokyo, Japan

Hanazono Shrine

Hanazono Shrine is an impressive Shinto shrine in the heart of Shinjuku district. The shrine is over three hundred years old and hosts many annual events throughout the year.

Hanazono Shrine, Tokyo, Japan


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


The center of the ward, Shinjuku district can be found just outside Shinjuku Station. It’s a popular shopping destination and is full of luxury boutiques and department stores, lifestyle and street wear shops.


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip


Julia Shinkareva / © Culture Trip