Destinations

SHINJUKU

Explore the many wonders and faces of this huge entertainment, shopping, and skyscraper business district - a must experience for the seeker of the spirit of the big city.

One of Japan's Entertainment Towns With a Multitude of Faces
It was after Tokyo Metropolitan transferred, that Shinjuku gradually transfigured to take on its present shape and color.
The name Shinjuku is derived from 'Naito Shinjuku,' from the 11th year of Edo's Genroku Period (1698), when Shinjuku was newly (shin) established as a town of inns ('shuku' becomes 'juku' in Shinjuku) that cropped up around Koshu Highway as it ran from the then Yotsuya Okido. Shinjuku was an important area from Edo's prosperous inn districts along with Shinagawa, Senju, and Itabashi.
The 'naito' of 'Naito Shinjuku,' comes from Takato Hanshu Naito, the name of an inn compound erected in this Shinjuku of Edo.
Later, in the wake of this gigantic compound, was the development of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Many a historic spot and item of cultural importance are directly connected to Naito Shinjuku.

Shinjuku's West Exit - Where Skyscrapers Stand Like Trees in a Forest
Often dubbed 'Japan's Manhattan,' Shinjuku's West Exit displays huge stands of business skyscrapers towering over a high 100 meters above ground. Such buildings include the Twin Towers, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. A gaze into the Tokyo night city lightscape from a bar or restaurant atop one of these colossal towers is a sight that's worth a thousand words.
At the observatory atop the Tokyo Government Building, you can get a good look at the surface of Tokyo, after picking up all kinds of guidance pamphlets at the tourist guidance area.
Vastly stretching Shinjuku Chuo Park sticks out like a soar thumb, surrounded by the greater Tokyo Metropolitan and streets. This park is a thicket of lush green woods, and 'Shinjuku Niagara Falls,' a symbol of the park that boasts a whopping thirty-eight meter width and five meter drop off.
Satisfy your stomach and shopping urges at department stores like Odakyu, Department Store, Keio Department Store, ODAKYU ACE, and KEIO MALL. They run along an underground passage located in the West Exit area.
Camera shops, electronic suppliers, and low price shops (gekiyasu-ten) stand out conspicuously. Products seen here at stores like Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera are by no means inferior to those which can be seen at Akihabara, and so the place is a chaotic beehive of busy shoppers.

South Exit - Shinuku's New Area That's Getting All the Attention
As for the shopping in Shinjuku's South Exit area, there are entire buildings like LUMINE and MYLORD that stick out.
But in recent years, Shinjuku Southern Tower and Takashimaya Times Square are the hot spots that have changed the whole southgate shopping experience upside down.
At Shinjuku Southern Terrace are the 350 meter long promenade and the Odakyu Southern Tower high rise that stands in stark view for miles and miles. Inside Takashimaya Times Square is Tokyu Hands (DIY) and, of course, Takashimaya itself, while Kinokuniya Bookstore is located inside Annex. Shoppers come and go freely along East-West Deck (Tozai Dekki) that connects the tower and Takashimaya Times Square.
At the corner of Shinjuku Station's Southeast Exit is 'Flags,' where a cluster of popular shops can be found. Shinjuku South Exit is alive with numerous stylish restaurants and popular shops with the younger crowd.
Crossing Meiji Dori, we reach 58 ha. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. With a 3.5 km. circumference, the park combines a neat French garden, an English garden with an extensive turf, and a Japanese garden, which conveys the senses of each season throughout the year with such blossoming flora as cherry, azalea, and chrysanthemums.

Shinjuku's East Exit - Retaining its Ancient Tradition of Entertainment
A multitude of old-line shops clutter the streets outside the East Exit area, and continue to give off an atmosphere of traditional entertainment as they have for ages. This small section of the East Exit area shows its rich liveliness and special flavor as it always has. The heart of Shinjuku Dori sprawls out a street of shopping and gourmet dining, while Kabuki-cho, north of Yasukuni Dori, is often called "Fuyajo" (basically, 'a place that leaves the lights on and never sleeps') - it is the night life factor in the Shinjuku formula. This is a place who's allure is in the fact that it changes drastically everytime you go there, depending on the time you drop by.
At Shinjuku's East Exit Station Building is MYCITY. Studio Alta hugs the roundabout. Starting off from Block 3 (San Cho-me) towards Shinjuku Dori, department stores as Mitsukoshi, MARUI CITY, and Isetan stand side by side along with such well-known shops as Shinjuku Nakamuraya, Shinjuku Takano, and Kinokuniya Bookstore.
Right in Block 3 itself is Suehiro-tei. It is a permanent theater and playhouse that carries down, with spirit, a legacy from a vintage time when such variety as stand-up comedy, comic backchat, magic and storytelling were the main means of entertainment - the time of the theater's inception. Be sure to try the diversity of flavors from all the especially unique and numerous foreign restaurants around the theater.

Cross over Yasukuni Dori and you will soon find yourself engulfed once more in the jostling, roaring bustle of busy Kabuki-cho. From Koma Theater, to such establishments as movie theaters, bowling alleys, restaurants, and bars, this is Japan's largest and noisiest entertainment district, although at the same time, Kabuki-cho's Golden-gai Street is noted for its history of harboring cultural figures and intellectuals.

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