This major ward of Tokyo offers a variety of opportunities, from skyline views to trendy restaurants, to its large, peaceful park.
Shinjuku is one of 23 wards operating as separate cities within Tokyo prefecture. It has an eclectic composition including historic geisha houses, a prestigious university area, up-scale residential neighborhoods, a large gay community, high expat population, and numerous small restaurants and bars.
Shinjuku is home to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. This building has two observation decks at 663 feet (202 meters) with free admission and is open to the public from mid-morning to late night. There is also a visitor information center on the second floor.
This is the area of Tokyo with the highest concentration of skyscrapers. Among these, the eye-catching Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower houses a fashion academy and two other schools. The 50-story building is distinctive in the busy skyline for its unusual oblong shape and crisscross-patterned exterior.
Shinjuku also has Tokyo’s busiest rail station with 2 million passengers daily and one of the major stops for long-distance buses.
Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the best parks in Tokyo to see cherry blossoms. With over 1,000 trees blooming at varying times, the season extends from mid-March into April. Visit this 144-acre (58-hectare) park for a peaceful afternoon amid the pink blossoms in front of Shinjuku’s skyscrapers.
While a hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) picnic might require someone staking out an area to place your blanket early in the day, you can easily have an impromptu lunch at less crowded times of the year. Pick up prepared foods from Takashimaya department store, just south of Shinjuku station. The park is a 10-minute walk from the Shinjuku Station and us open from mid-morning to late afternoon (except Mondays). There is a small admission fee.
Shinjuku is located in southwest Tokyo. Oedo subway line stops at Tochomae station in the government building. Shunjuku station is a hub for multiple rail and subway lines.