Why Nishi-shinjuku Deserves a Spot on Your Tokyo Travel Itinerary

During my second trip to Japan back in 2008, I stayed in Nishi-shinjuku, which served as the hub for the Tokyo portion of my trip. Upon arrival, I was instantly blown away by the pristine, futuristic cityscape and the overwhelming amount of delicious, affordable food to be found in this city-within-a-city, just to the west of Shinjuku Station.
Less than a year later, I was fortunate enough to find myself working in the exact same part of town, freshly transplanted from the United States. Spending countless workweeks in Nishi-shinjuku only made me appreciate the district even more.
Unfortunately, Nishi-shinjuku is often overlooked due to its “all work and no play” skyscraper facade. Well, I’m here to tell you that Nishi-shinjuku is one of the most underrated parts of Tokyo. Read on to find out why.


Excess capacity

At its core, Nishi-shinjuku is ostensibly a salaryman sanctuary, a sea of skyscrapers home to the headquarters of numerous multinational corporations. Naturally, this demands an infrastructure of restaurants, convenience stores, and countless shopping venues to ensure that Japan Inc. keeps burning the midnight oil.
Almost every office tower has its own suite of restaurants that are open to the public. Sure, you could brave the crowds and rub elbows with salarymen during the week, but if you find yourself in Nishi-shinjuku on the weekend, it can feel like you have the entire district to yourself. In other parts of Tokyo, you’ll be fighting crowds and waiting in lines just to get a whiff of some ramen. In Nishi-shinjuku, however, it’s easy to quickly find and enjoy a great meal with a generous helping of personal space on the side. Speaking of food…

Culinary delights

With roots going back to the 1940s, the historic Omoide Yokocho (“Memory Lane”) is the perfect spot for an unforgettable evening of yakitori and beer

Few parts of Tokyo can match the culinary options that Nishi-shinjuku has to offer. From the down-home delights of Omoide Yokocho to fine dining with magnificent views of the city, Nishi-shinjuku has something for everyone.
When it comes to dinner, excess capacity once again comes into play. With so many skyscrapers, each with their own set of “sky restaurants,” you’ll be amazed how affordable a meal with a view can be.
It gets even better with lunch. At the right restaurant, about 1,000 yen is all it takes to enjoy a high quality buffet and a breathtaking view of western Tokyo, complete with Mt. Fuji looming in the distance.

Both the Nomura Building (left) and the Center Building (center) have several restaurants and bars on their upper floors.

A view from the top

Of course, Nishi-shinjuku is more than just a place to eat. This district is home to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (“Tocho”) which is the center of government for Tokyo’s 23 wards. Dominating the Nishi-shinjuku skyline, Tocho also happens to be one of Tokyo’s most popular sightseeing destinations.
The twin observatories of this building are a must-visit attraction, and are completely free, unlike other famous observatories found in Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and Roppongi Hills. Additionally, you can find several smaller observatories in skyscrapers such as the Sumitomo Building and the Center Building. Each one offers a unique way to gaze across Tokyo’s vastness and capture unforgettable photos.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Each tower has its own observatory, offering amazing bird’s-eye views of Tokyo and beyond.

Green space

Shinjuku Central Park

Hidden within Nishi-shinjuku’s towering forest of skyscrapers lies Shinjuku Central Park. While not as splendid as Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku Central Park is more practical. A truly public park, it’s free to enter and contains places to engage in sports, a small running course, and stretching equipment. Not to mention, it’s a great place to chill out and enjoy a bento lunch—especially during cherry blossom season.

Getting around

Located on the west side of Shinjuku Station, Nishi-shinjuku has three subway stations on two major lines. If you are staying at the Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan, just hop on the Marunouchi line for a matter of minutes and you’ll reach Nishi-shinjuku station. Better yet, you could walk or jog to this part of town via this course.
Tokyo contains a myriad of exciting activities and experiences, some more obvious than others. Most travelers know to visit Asakusa, Odaiba, Ginza, and other overtly famous locales. However, when it comes to convenience, affordability, and an amazingly futuristic cityscape, Nishi-shinjuku just can’t be beat.

For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes additional location details:

Why Nishi-shinjuku Deserves a Spot on Your Tokyo Travel Itinerary

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AUTHOR

Anthony

Anthony

Writer / Translator

Originally from Riverside, California, I've been living, working, and writing in Japan since 2009. Japan has become my second home, and I'm especially fond of Shinjuku, Tokyo. That being said, I also love getting out into the countryside and exploring the entire country. Through Tadaima Japan, I hope to share the wonders of Japan with a wider, international audience. Check out my articles if you enjoy exploring on foot, convenient cafes, and affordable dining.