Shinagawa Area Guide: 20 Places You Should Definitely Visit
Shinagawa is a transportation hub in Tokyo that many people use to transfer train lines, but very few people - except for the ones who work, study, or live in the area - actually have it as their final destination. The area is not known for being a bustling part of Tokyo, but there is a lot more to Shinagawa than people give credit for. In this article, you will get to know a variety of places in Shinagawa where you can have a great time: from very well-known locations to some hidden ones that only the locals know!
Jul 23 2019 (Jul 25 2019)
Top 9 Places to Visit in Shinagawa
1. Shinagawa Shrine
There are many places in Tokyo that are called “power spots” due to the mystical energy people say they emanate, but Shinagawa Shrine isn't known for that. Instead, it is always mentioned in connection with words such as "comeback win" and "victory in the last minute" because of historical facts involving Minamoto Yorimoto (founder of the Kamakura Shogunate in the 12th century). There's also a shrine called Ana Inari in its precincts that houses the Sacred Fountain of Ichiryu Manbai, which is said to improve a person’s financial luck. Here you will encounter many visitors that come in search of the blessings and good fortune the shrine is said to offer.
Shinagawa Shrine also has the biggest Fujizuka mound in Tokyo. It's basically a kind of artificial mound built to resemble Mt. Fuji. During the Edo period (1603 - 1868), many people used to worship Mt. Fuji due to its sublime form and this was one of the places where they could pay their respect to the majestic mountain. Just as the real one, the miniature version of Japan’s most iconic mountain also has 9 stops before reaching the summit and offers a rather nice view from the top. This Mt. Fuji, though, is only 15m high and can be reached from the North Exit of Shimbamba Station in about 5 minutes by foot.
2. Shinagawa-Shuku Koryukan Resting Area
Shinagawa prospered as the first post station on the Tokaido Road, a long route that connected the imperial city of Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to the old political capital of Kyoto. The street from Kitashinagawa Station leading to Omorikaigan Station still keeps the same width as it did back then and it is punctuated by shops, restaurants, cafes, and much more. Local residents are actively involved in many projects to attract attention to this historical part of Shinagawa. Acting as an information center on the area is Shinagawa-Shuku Koryukan, a community lounge located almost midway down the route.
Tourism associations and information centers are great resources for those who like walking and exploring around an area. Here you can find a ton of information about local shops and sightseeing spots, among other things. The facility also has a penny candy store and an open cafe, so you are more than welcome to rest here when you get tired from all the walking.
3. Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
Inaugurated in 1979, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art was originally the residence of entrepreneur Hara Kunizo. The house was built in 1938 and its gorgeous architecture and beautiful garden are some of the additional reasons you should go check the museum’s collection. Once there, don’t miss the chance to have a cup of tea and eat something at Café d’Art, which is right by the garden.
Due to the age of the building and issues related to various building regulations, the museum will, unfortunately, close its doors by the end of 2020. There is not much time, so we hope you can make a visit before it closes. The museum’s art collection will be sent to Hara Museum ARC, a sister facility located in Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture. As for the building and garden, we still don’t know what will happen...
4. Nihondo Kampo Museum
This facility is actually located in Minato Ward, but it is around a 4-minute walk from Shinagawa Station. At the Nihondo Kampo Museum, you can explore the world of kampo (traditional Japanese medicines prepared with herbal extracts) free of charge. The museum is divided into three areas: the Kampo Gallery and Kampo Boutique where you can learn about the different herbs and medicines; and 10ZEN (Juzen), a restaurant specialized in Chinese medicinal cooking. The museum also offers classes about the different traditional medicines in its Kampo School.
At Nihondo’s Kampo Boutique, you can buy different types of tea and natural cosmetics, but before doing so, why not consult with one of the specialists for free? These professionals can help you understand the reasons why you might not be feeling so well lately. It is recommended that you make an appointment if you want to talk about all the details.
5. Yatsuyama Bridge
Yatsuyama Bridge became famous nationwide due to the long-distance relay race that is televised every year on New Year’s in Japan. People also remember it for being the place where Godzilla arrives in Tokyo in the old classic black-and-white movie. This is also the starting point to walk the old Tokaido Road in Shinagawa. By the end of the bridge, you can find the 53rd stone column that marks the ancient route.
Yatsuyama Bridge is also an outstanding spot to watch the railway trains. From the bridge, you can see first-hand different trains running on the Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Tokaido Line, and Yokosuka Line, not to mention the shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) and Narita Airport Express train. In addition, you can also see a variety of trains from the private railway operator Keikyu passing right beside the bridge. Train enthusiasts and even children love this spot!
6. Nikon Museum
Located inside the massive Shinagawa Intercity building right by Shinagawa Station’s Konan Exit, Nikon Museum was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the worldwide famous company. At the museum, not only can you learn in detail about Nikon’s renowned cameras, but you also have the opportunity to get to know more about other optical devices the company produces that are widely used in areas such as medicine and aerospace engineering. You should also check the museum shop for special limited items.
Right in front of Shinagawa Intercity, across Central Garden, there is another multi-complex building called Grand Commons. In this building, just as if competing with Nikon Museum, you find Canon Plaza, a showroom by the also worldwide famous camera maker Canon. If you are a camera buff, you shouldn’t miss the chance to check them both out!
7. Museum of Logistics
Shinagawa is a renowned distribution base for goods and commodities, being home to a container terminal and a great number of warehouses and logistics companies. Around a 7-minute walk from Shinagawa Station’s Takanawa Exit, you'll find the Museum of Logistics, which is dedicated to this important activity that is the base for Japan’s economic success. The museum is not what one would call striking, but the exhibitions here are very interesting and attract many repeat visitors.
The museum actually belongs to Nippon Express, a Japanese logistics company, but you can hardly notice any advertisement. At the hands-on exhibition on the basement floor, you can even try the uniforms of different delivery services, including some of their own competitors. If you ever wanted to see how you looked like a delivery man or woman, here is your chance!
8. Museum of Marine Science, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
In 2004, Tokyo University of Mercantile Marine and Tokyo University of Fisheries merged to create the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. The Museum of Marine Science is open to the public in the university’s Shinagawa Campus. At the facility, you can find a myriad of sea life samples gathered for academic research, not to mention information about the fishing industry and fish processing operations.
At the north section of the Shinagawa Campus, you'll also find the Unyo-maru, a Japanese bark-type sailing ship which was built in 1909. At the university’s Etchujima Campus, another sailing vessel is on display: the Meiji-maru. This one is designated as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. In this great ship lie the origins of the Japanese national holiday “Marine Day.” You can also visit the Meiji-maru Maritime Museum when you come here.
9. Kitashinagawa Spa Tenjinyu
Kitashinagawa Spa Tenjinyu is a mere 3-minute walk from Shimbamba Station and is located on the old Tokaido Road that crosses through Shinagawa. The spa is famous for its dark amber – almost pitch black – hot waters. Particles of decomposed plants from the Paleozoic Era (more than 250 million years ago) permeated the groundwater here, giving it this peculiar color, making it rich in minerals, and causing it to feel very smooth to the touch. This hot spring spot is the perfect place to visit after exploring the Shinagawa area.
Rich in natural sodium bicarbonate, the water used at this spa comes from a cold mineral spring and is said to alleviate health issues such as neuropathy, joint pains, and muscle soreness. Also, due to its organic properties, the hot waters are said to be very effective against cold intolerance. The entrance fee is only 460 JPY for adults, and you can feel free to come empty-handed as the spa sells sets of towels, shampoo, soap, and everything else you might need to enjoy a bath.
Top 10 Chic Places to Visit in Shinagawa
1. Tennozu Isle
Located between the Keihin and Tennozu canals, Tennozu Isle used to be a very dull warehouse district, but as a result of a redevelopment project, the area was resurrected as an “art island.” The area gets mixed reactions, but strolling on the wooden sidewalk by the water while observing different artworks will certainly make you feel refreshed and energized.
Tennozu Isle is often used as the shooting location of many TV dramas. Because the island is situated in the bay area, it offers lots of places to admire the nightscape and it is perfect for a romantic date. During the day, you are also encouraged to visit Bond Street, the birthplace for much of the culture in Tennozu. Just beware that because this is also a business area, many of the cafes and restaurants close their doors for the weekend.
2. Flight Simulator Skyart JAPAN
Please don’t think we are talking about mere video games here. At Flight Simulator Skyart JAPAN, you can experience how it is to fly an airplane using simulators that actual pilots use during their training. Not only that, licensed instructors that can fly real airplanes will join you to show how to pilot the craft.
With a databank that includes 4,500 airports from different countries, the simulators also offer a wide range of different situations which can alter the season, time of the day, and weather conditions, making every flight experience unique! Besides individual plans, the store has plans for families and couples as well, so share an amazing time with the ones you love!
3. Sporu Shinagawa Oimachi
Sporu Shinagawa Oimachi opened its doors in the neighborhood of Oimachi in the summer of 2018. This amazing sports complex was built to offer a chance for children to experience and become familiar with different types of sports, especially now that the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 are right around the corner. Bouldering and surfing are just two of the new Olympic sports that people can try at the facility.
One of the biggest attractions of Sporu Shinagawa Oimachi is City Wave, the first wave pool for surfing ever built in Asia. Here you can choose the kind of wave you feel like surfing, from small ones for beginners to very tricky ones that even pro-level surfers can enjoy. Don’t worry about having to bring your own board and wetsuit, because you can rent everything here!
4. Gotenyama Garden
Located in the Gotenyama Trust City multi-complex building on the south side of Tokyo Marriot Hotel, Gotenyama Garden is a beautiful park covering an area of almost 6,800 sq.m. Offering a walking path, a waterfall, and beautiful ponds, the garden is so peaceful that it doesn’t even seem to be situated in a big metropolis. Being able to relax in such a tranquil place might just be one of the most satisfying things a person can ask for.
The region of Gotenyama has been highly praised for its gorgeous cherry blossoms since the 18th century. In springtime, the streets of Gotenyama bustle with people coming to enjoy the massive cherry blossom festival that is held every year. Many events take place during the festivities, and you can even watch some exciting shows that fuse together the atmosphere of old Edo with cutting-edge technologies.
5. Shiki Theatre NATSU
Located a mere 5-minute walk from Oimachi Station, Shiki Theatre NATSU is a theater belonging to the nationwide famous Shiki Theatre Company. The theater was inaugurated in 2010 with the premiere of The Beauty and the Beast by Disney. Theaters Haru and Aki are currently closed due to the ongoing construction project at WATERS takeshiba, but here at Shiki Theatre NATSU, you can still watch the long-running Lion King musical.
The shows held at the Shiki theaters are usually long and the restrooms can get quite busy before performances and during the break, so try to come early to avoid any trouble. In addition, you are encouraged to purchase any goods before the show starts, as it can get terribly crowded after the performance is over.
6. Shiokaze Park
Shiokaze Park is the biggest one among all the parks located in Tokyo’s Rinkai area. Even when the shopping area of Odaiba is crowded with people, you'll find Shiokaze Park to be relatively calm and relaxing. Here you can enjoy a great view of the iconic Rainbow Bridge and the skyline of Tokyo, but without having to worry about all the tourists trying to snap a shot of the famous landscape.
Shiokaze Park will hold the beach volleyball tournament during the 2020 Olympic Games. For this reason, there are many construction projects taking place in the area right now, which can cause some inconvenience. On the other hand, it is the perfect place to feel all the excitement that permeates the air every time the Olympics are about to start.
7. Takahama Canal Side Green Space
Leave Shinagawa Station from Konan Exit and follow the street in front of Kokuyo’s very eye-catching building to find the Takahama Canal Side Green Space. This gorgeous promenade along the Takahama Canal is punctuated by benches perfect for enjoying a take-out coffee after lunch. Many people use its 2.5km long course run and jog here.
Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology is right across the canal, so you can take the opportunity to visit the Museum of Marine Science as well. Around this area, you'll find many places to admire the nightscape, including some strategic spots where you can take beautiful pictures of Tennozu Isle.
8. T-JOY PRINCE SHINAGAWA
T-JOY PRINCE SHINAGAWA is a movie theater located inside the Shinagawa Prince Hotel, a mere 2-minute walk from Shinagawa Station. The complex has 11 screens, including some equipped with double seats for couples.
Inside the same hotel in the Annex Tower, you'll find the Shinagawa Prince Hotel Bowling Center. This huge bowling alley occupies the whole 2nd floor and has an astonishing number of lanes: 60 in total. You are bound to have fun here even if you come with a big group of people. The facility also has a great selection of the newest arcade games and machines, so if you need a place to kill some time close to the station, this place is for you.
9. Tokyo City Keiba
Built under the concept of offering “a night amusement park close to central Tokyo,” Tokyo City Keiba is a very popular horse racing track. The tracks are only a few minutes away from Oi Keibajo Mae Station. You might think that horse tracks are filled with shady gamblers, but Tokyo City Keiba is very sophisticated and its nighttime races called “Twinkle Races” are crowded with female spectators.
There are many people who don’t like gambling but love watching horse racing on TV. If you like them on TV, you should see how amazing they look live under the floodlights! Tokyo City Keiba even offers double seats for couples, making it perfect for a date. If you don’t need special seats, you can enjoy the tracks for a bargain price of 100 JPY for the entrance ticket.
Shinagawa, A Cutting-Edge Business District With a Nostalgic Touch of Old Edo
Once a post station of the Tokaido Road in the outskirts of Edo, Shinagawa has now transformed itself into the most dynamic part of the Tokyo waterfront area. At the same time, through the efforts of local residents, their strategy to reassociate the region with the former Tokaido Road and the old days of the Shinagawa Post Station has been bearing fruits. With the increase in the number of inbound tourists and the Olympic Games right ahead of us, we cannot wait to see how Shinagawa and the whole waterfront area will change from now on!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.