- A morning on the west side
- Lunch in the park
- An afternoon of history
- A night on the town in Arakicho
- More to come
A morning on the west side
There’s no better way to start your day than getting a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings. From either of the 45th-floor observation decks in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (“Tocho,” for short), the city of Tokyo becomes a living map where you can plot your journey in real-time.
From here you’ll be able to see the Shinjuku Nomura Building and the Shinjuku NS Building—two other towering structures with magnificent views. Click here for a sky-high itinerary that will consume your morning on the west side of Shinjuku Station.
Lunch in the park
It’s always a good idea to take a break from urban exploring. Why not take this opportunity to live like the locals and enjoy a bento lunch in one of Shinjuku’s famous parks? If hunger strikes while you are still out and about in the Nishi-shinjuku skyscraper district, hop into the nearest convenience store, pick up a bento, and relax in Shinjuku Chuo Park.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a slightly more elegant experience, swing by the basement floor of the Odakyu department store, conveniently located in Shinjuku Station, and pick up a fancier, more traditional bento. If you decide to splurge on lunch, you’ll need an equally splendid place to dine. This is where Shinjuku Gyoen comes in, located on the east side of Shinjuku Station. A 200-yen entrance fee is a small price to pay to enjoy a more refined setting for an impromptu picnic.
An afternoon of history
The hottest part of the day is the perfect time duck into a nice, air-conditioned museum. Fortunately, from fine art to firefighting history, Shinjuku is filled with a variety of excellent options. Click here for three outstanding museums that are all within walking distance of each other on the eastern side of Shinjuku. Once you’ve seen them all, you’ll be right where you need to be for dinner and a night on the town.
A night on the town in Arakicho
Places like Golden Gai and Omoide Yokocho are excellent for downhome dining experiences and bar hopping. However, over the years, their popularity has ballooned, and they can often be crowded with locals and tourists alike.
Enter Arakicho: Shinjuku’s best-kept secret. With roots as a feudal lord’s residence and a geisha district, Arakicho is now a local gourmet town, full of hidden surprises. With nearly 400 bars and restaurants, Arakicho has something for everyone.
And don’t worry if you end up having a few too many drinks. Arakicho is home to its very own Edo-style Ryokan. It’s the perfect place to crash after a night on the town. Just make sure to make a reservation beforehand!
More to come
So, there you have it. A one-day itinerary that takes you across Shinjuku, from east to west. As I mentioned before, this itinerary is just one of many possibilities. Stay tuned for continuing coverage of Shinjuku and its best-kept secrets.
For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes additional location details:
From Tocho to Arakicho: A One-Day Shinjuku Itinerary