Shinjuku

Updated November 9, 2019 | by Chad A. Thiele, 23 year veteran of Tokyo.

Shinjuku, with the busiest train station in the world, is a special ward of Tokyo combining the famed izakaya of neon-lit East Shinjuku and upscale feel of the Skyscraper District.

Shinjuku is the type of place where DC comics and anime writers get their inspiration.

To describe it from the DC comics perspective, then Shinjuku would best be described as Metropolis and Gotham City, in the comic “Batman.”

Shinjuku’s “Metropolis” is the west side. It is an absolutely stunning city with 662 ft tall skyscrapers.

Right next to these impressive buildings are lush gardens, complete with a waterfall for enjoying lunch or building your photography skills. You can find some of the best shopping around here with a more modern and contemporary design.

Shinjuku’s “Gotham City” is the Eastside, where you will find the more provocative, unusual, eccentric, and even bizarre activities.

And it is the reason anime director, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, picked this city to be the backdrop to his movie “Demon City Shinjuku.” It’s crazy and fun, yet seedy and salacious.

When you are staring up at the towering city skyline at night, you almost half expect to see Batman standing watch.

Shinjuku has really cool things to see during the day, but its actual allurement is what it has to offer after the sun goes down.

From the fast-paced, neon lights in the middle of Kabukicho, to the pale golden gleams of light coming from old-world style Japanese lanterns in Golden Gai, the nightlife in Shinjuku is something you’re going to want to experience, at least once.

Oh, and Shinjuku is also home to over 5,500 eating establishments! The most of any ward in downtown Tokyo. Insane isn’t it!?

*A bit of advice – Shinjuku is a place to let loose, so don’t be so uptight about all the grit and grime that makes this city what it is; embrace it, you’ll have a fantastic time.

What is Shinjuku known for?

Shinjuku has a very well known business district with towering skyscrapers, but it is most famously known for being the entertainment district.

It is the place that people go to let off steam from the workday in one of the many pubs and then have dinner at an off the wall themed restaurant.

There are plenty of clubs and shows to enjoy, but there is also a risque side of Shinjuku. If you are looking for some adult-only fun, then you will find it in Kabukicho, otherwise known as the red light district.

Is Shinjuku dangerous / Is Kabukicho safe?

Just like anywhere else, you go in the world, there are places where you have to be a little more vigilante. But Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world with the lowest crime rate.

Even in Kabukicho, as long as you stay sober and don’t go looking for trouble, you can enjoy the night scene safely.

However, that being said, Since Shinjuku is where you will find the more shady activities, it is advised just to be a little more careful.

There is one thing that you should watch out for – Touts.

A tout is a guy that hangs out around the entrance to bars and tries to lure you into their bar.

They are extremely friendly, but once you go in, you will be charged an outrageous price for your drinks, and you won’t be able to leave until you pay the price.

Simply tell them “no money, going home,” and they will leave you alone.