50 Things to Do in Shinjuku
Centered around the station with the largest number of passengers passing through it in the whole of Japan, Shinjuku has everything, from spectacular views from the skyscrapers, to great entertainment, delicious food and so many shops you’ll be sure to find whatever you’re after. And to top it off, the nightlife is absolutely fantastic!
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21. Hanazono Manjyu [Shopping] [Food & Drink]
How about buying some traditional Japanese sweets as souvenirs for your family and friends? Hanazono Manju was established since 1834 and not only offers really good sweet Japanese dumplings, but also a range of non-baked desserts, like its famous Tokyo Red Bean Pudding and dried sweets that have a long shelf life. The second floor of the store is a cafe and you can come relax over a cup of tea and some sweets. It's a great tea-time option.
22. Sushi Zanmai [Food & Drink]
The owner, known as the King of Maguro, is dedicated to gathering the best sushi ingredients from all over the world and selling them at a great price at his restaurants. The ingredients are transported fresh directly from Tsukiji market daily, and as the restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you can savor the fresh Tsukiji whenever you want all year round. It is a 3-minute walk from Exit A1 of Higashi Shinjuku Station or a 7-minute walk from Seibu Shinjuku station.
23. Tempura Tsunahachi [Food & Drink]
Originally established in 1924, Tsunahachi now has more than 30 stores nationwide, and has expanded beyond its restaurant roots to sell food items as well. It doesn’t need to be said, but the flavor of the food is great, but the traditional architecture of the building that makes it a great spot for some photo-taking.
24. Ushi no Yotare [Food & Drink]
The French sommelier industry has been around for a long time and they are not only well-known but also well-respected. Recently, a whole new sommelier trend has started; Japanese sake. At Ushi no Yotare, you will get to taste Japanese sake from around the nation while enjoying dishes made right in front of you on a traditional Japanese charcoal pit. The interior also sports traditional lamps that creates the right ambience. (The tasting set starts off at ¥1600 and it comes with some appetizers)
25. Steak House Soyokaze [Food & Drink]
This steak house has been around for more than 40 years and it takes pride on its soy-sauce based steak sauce. Its juicy meat also goes very well with its lemon butter sauce. Their menu offers high quality beef that has been carefully selected at a very affordable prices!
26. Kyoto Okazaki Misen [Food & Drink]
Now we don't have to go all the way to Kyoto to have some delicious Kyoto cuisine because Kyoto Okazaki Misen has opened a branch on the 14th floor of Shinjuku's Takashimaya. You can kick start your day with a stroll around Shinjuku's Imperial Gardens and then head off here for dinner. The 180 degree panorama view from the restaurant is breathtaking, and very different from what Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower have to offer. The seafood used is fresh from the fisheries and the vegetables are actually cultivated by the restaurant. It is safe to say that the food served at your table will be fresh.
27. Katsukura Kyoto Sanjo [Food & Drink]
This is also another store that originated from Kyoto. It is famous for its pork cutlets that are made from fresh-from-the-farm pork and fried in cholesterol free oil. The cutlets are then served with the store's specially made sauce. To maintain its reputation for authenticity, the store has its pickles delivered all the way from Kyoto. The menu also features seasonal obanzai (a traditional Kyoto cuisine) served in traditional Shokado bento boxes. The interior of the shop replicates the design of a traditional Japanese house in Kyoto, giving you a Kyoto cultural experience without you having to travel all the way to Kyoto.
28. Sekai no Yamachan [Food & Drink]
Yamachan is a Japanese-style bar serves the all famous and tasty Nagoya chicken wings. Besides branches around Japan, you can also find Yamachan in Hong Kong and in Thailand. What makes Yamachan's chicken wings so good is their spicy peppery marinade. Unlike other typical Japanese-style bars, Yamachan does not charge their patrons an amuse-bouche charge. The store at Seibu Shinjuku area is in the Hygeia Building, across from the Okubo Hospital.
29. Teppan 200° [Food & Drink]
The menu here is not only limited to Okonomiyaki. You can also order steak, seafood, vegetables and special dishes that their own chefs came up with. For wine lovers out there, they have a Naminami Wine drink where the waiting staff will fill the wine glass to the brim! They also have a Naminami sparkling wine version. You can opt to sit by the counter, where you will be able to actually watch your food be prepared. Of course, besides the counter seats, they have table-seating too. The food is served on a hotplate so that you will be able to enjoy it hot throughout the whole meal.
30. Tsukiji Gindako [Food & Drink]
Takoyaki is a famous Osaka street food that is served hot and drizzled with a type of Japanese sauce and mayonaisse. You can walk around while eating it because it is made into bite-sized portions and you can easily eat it with bamboo skewers or toothpicks. Walking around while eating some Gindaco takoyaki is great way to enjoy Shinjuku.
31. Menya Musashi [Food & Drink]
Apart from rice, ramen is considered as another staple for the Japanese and this is a popular ramen shop. The soup stock is a “double soup,” made from a sophisticated blend of chicken, pork and seafood stock. Here you can also try tsukemen, which are noodles served separately from the soup to be dipped into the soup when eaten.
32. New York Bar UNPLUGGED [Food & Drink]
One of the must-go-to places for a view of Shinjuku's nightscape is the Park Hyatt's New York Bar on the 52nd floor. Together with the spectacular view, the bar offers you great cocktails, which may make you think of Manhattan city and its skyscrapers.
If you are in town on a Sunday, don't miss out on their live jazz sessions.
33. Glass Court [Food & Drink]
For those who think that Japanese restaurants are not generous with their portions, we would recommend you try the buffet at Glass Court! They offer you more than 70 different dishes and the food is prepared fresh from the kitchen! This buffet caters for both lunch and dinner.
34. Masara Dining [Food & Drink]
For those who are looking for vegetarian options, you have come to the right place. This Indian restaurant serves both traditional recipes and modern takes on well-loved dishes. Besides their vegetarian options, they also serve meat. You wouldn't want to miss out on their delicious tandoori chicken that is marinated with a generous amount of herbs. You can opt for their all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink plans aside from their a la carte menu. This restaurant is around the corner after Segafredo's cafe, which is right in front of Otsuka Furniture store at the East exit.
35. GREEN NASCO [Shopping]
For Muslim travelers in Japan, Green Nasco offers halal food and drink options during your trip. Located in Shinjuku, it is open till quite late at night, so you don't have to rush there to get your grocery shopping done. The nearest station is the Shinokubu station on the JR Yamanote line. Instead of taking the train you can also talk a leisurely walk past Kabukicho to the shop.
36. Shinjuku and Kabukicho Evening Walking Tour [Sightseeing]
This guided tour is for those who would like to get to know Shinjuku better at night without having to worry about the language barrier or the possibility of getting overcharged at some sleazy bar. The tour will bring you around Kabukicho, Shinjuku Golden Gai and Omoide-yokocho at the West exit. Do take note this is not a free guided tour.
Kabukicho, Tokyo's entertainment district that never sleeps, has a wide variety of cabaret clubs, host and hostess clubs, adult entertainment shops, love hotels and pachinko parlors (a type of Japanese gambling). You would notice a lot of well-dressed hosts standing along the street in front of Don Quixote trying to attract patrons into their clubs. This unique scene can only be found in Kabukicho, Asia's most interesting entertainment district. There are also batting and billiards centers for those opting for a more clean type of entertainment.
Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku
With so many things to do here, it can be hard to see it all in one go. You can find tours for all sorts of things here,and one of the most popular night tours is the Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku, where you will be take to hidden local izakays in Kabukicho, Omoide Yokocho. These can be difficult to enter if you arn't sure about the customs, but thats where these tours come to the rescue.
38. ROBOT Restaurant [Entertainment] [Food & Drink]
This unique restaurant not only serves great food but it provides a live 90-minute show with tanks, robots and live performances on horses and so forth.
For those that aren't confident in their Japanese or in getting around Kabukicho, you might want to consider the guided tour in the link below that includes the live show from this ROBOT restaurant as part of its itinerary.
39. Shinjuku Awaodori [Food & Drink]
This restaurant is all about showcasing the traditional Awaodori dance of Tokushima. Here, you will not only get to see the dance being performed, but you will also be given the chance to join the dancers and learn this Japanese dance! There are 2 performances a day and you will definitely be invited to dance the Awaodori!
40. Ranse no koshitsu Sengokubuyuden [Food & Drink]
This Japanese-style bar's theme takes inspiration from the Warring States period (that happened from the 14th to the 16th century) when Japan was in a state of turmoil. You'll be greeted by a military commander at the entrance and then as you enter the bar, you'll notice that the interior replicates a chaotic wartime landscape. Each dining room is decorated differently and there are also rooms specially designed for female patrons only where they can experience the palace ladies’ chambers.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.