When sightseeing around Tokyo, many people stop by Shinjuku Station to see the sights and go shopping. The station is so big that some people say it's like a huge dungeon! There are a lot of sightseeing spots and shopping facilities concentrated around the station, but if you know which gates are closest to your destination and learn about the passages and underground malls of the station, you'll be able to move from place to place with no trouble at all. Here's a complete access guide on how to get around Shinjuku Station and reach the major sightseeing spots!
What is Shinjuku Station?
Shinjuku Station is the station with the world's highest average number of daily passengers as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. That number is a staggering 3,530,000 people per day (as of 2017)! One of the representative areas of Japan's capital city of Tokyo, Shinjuku is a central business district that contains the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office and many other skyscrapers. Many train lines connect Shinjuku Station with the surrounding suburbs, so it's well-known for being utilized by many visitors traveling to Japan for business. Furthermore, as Japan's largest shopping and entertainment district, there are endless crowds of people, including businessmen and tourists alike, who visit Shinjuku.
There are 5 public transit companies from Tokyo that run through this station: East Japan Railway (JR-EAST), Keio Corporation, Odakyu Electric Railway, Tokyo Metro, and Toei Transportation. The station is separated around the JR lines into the areas of East Exit, West Exit, and South Exit, and business establishments and the train lines are all extensively connected by passageways and underground shopping centers.
Trains Lines in Shinjuku
There are 12 train lines that run through this major city area. On the weekdays, Shinjuku Station is busy with people visiting for business and people transferring at the station. The busiest hours are in the morning from 8:00 am - 8:30 am and in the evenings from 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm, as the station gets extremely crowded with commuters. It's in a very convenient location for going anywhere in Tokyo, and many people use it as a starting point for their travels.
Additionally, in the East Exit area, you can find the Seibu-Shinjuku Station where you can access the Seibu Shinjuku Line.
East Japan Railway Company
Chuo-Sobu Line, Chuo Line, Chuo Main Line, Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line, Shonan Shinjuku Line The Chuo-Sobu Line runs from Chiba Station to Mitaka Station, the Chuo Line connects Tokyo Station to Takao Station, and a limited express train operates from Tokyo Station to Matsumoto City via Shiojiri Station. The Yamanote Line operates in a loop through the center of the city in two directions: Counter-clockwise (uchimawari) bound for Shibuya Station and Shinagawa Station, and clockwise (sotomawari) bound for Ikebukuro Station and Ueno Station. The Saikyo Line connects stations in the city center such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro to cities in southern Saitama Prefecture. The Shonan Shinjuku Line directly connects the northern and southern parts of the city via Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. There are train lines running in every direction at this station.
Odakyu Electric Railway
Odakyu Odawara Line This line extends from Shinjuku Station to Odawara Station, which is located in the city of Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture. From Shin-Yurigaoka Station, the line directly connects to Tama Line, and from Sagami-Ono Station, it becomes Enoshima Line. The limited express train Romancecar, which has an extra seating charge, runs directly through to the Hakone Tozan Line. It's a convenient line to use if you're heading to Shimo-kitazawa, Enoshima, or Hakone.
Marunouchi Line The main line connects Ikebukuro Station to Ogikubo Station, and the branch line connects Nakano-sakaue Station to Honancho Station. It's a very convenient line to use when going from Shinjuku Station to Ginza Station or Tokyo Station. When sightseeing in the city center, you'll have many opportunities to use this line and the other Tokyo Metro lines.
Keio Line, Keio New Line The first stop on the Keio Line is at Shinjuku Station, where the Keio New Line continues as through services onto the Toei Shinjuku Line. The Keio Line operates from Shinjuku Station to Chofu Station in Chofu City, and to Keio Hachioji Station via Kitano Station in Hachioji City. It also operates through to Takao Line from Kitano Station bound for Takao.
Toei Oedo Line, Toei Shinjuku Line The Oedo Line is the deepest subway line in Japan. It operates from Hikarigaoka Station to Shinjuku Station, and from Shinjuku Station, it runs in a loop counter-clockwise to Tochomae Station. It's a line you'll find yourself using a lot while in Tokyo. The Shinjuku Line operates from Shinjuku Station to Moto-Yawata Station in the city of Ichikawa in Chiba Prefecture.
How to Access the Major Sightseeing Spots
In Shinjuku, there are seemingly countless numbers of department stores like Takashimaya Times Square, Isetan, Keio Department Store, and Odakyu Department Store, as well as large electronics retail chains such as BicCamera and Yodobashi Camera. It's a great place to go shopping, but there are many sightseeing spots, too, like Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, a representative icon of Tokyo, and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a park where you can be surrounded by nature even while within the city. There are also several trendy and popular foodie spots and bustling districts like Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho and Kabukicho.
Shinjuku Station is a spacious station with many train lines running through it. It's split into 3 areas: East Exit, West Exit, and South Exit. There's a pretty big difference in time for how long it takes to get to your destination based on which direction you go, the gate you exit out of, and if you have a firm grasp or not on the directions.
This guide will go through each area's features and the best way to get to major sightseeing spots from each of JR Shinjuku Station's gates, so feel free to use these tips when you're in Shinjuku!
JR East Exit Area
The East Exit area is an area buzzing with restaurants, clothes shops, and department stores. The road leading to Shinjuku-sanchome Station is bustling with noise, and it's within walking distance from Shinjuku Station. JR East Exit is known for having a variety of stores in its vicinity: Lumine EST, a building directly connected to the exit selling mostly fashion products; the department store Isetan, whose depachika (food hall in department store basement) is a hot spot for foodies; BICQLO, a collaboration store joining together BicCamera and Uniqlo; and Kabukicho, Japan's premier entertainment district.
JR East Gate
[JR] East Gate, Central East Gate, Southeast Gate
[Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line] East Gate
JR East Gate
JR Central East Gate
JR Southeast Gate
How to Get to BICQLO, Marui, and Isetan
1. At the JR station platform, go down the stairs with the yellow sign that says East Exit
2. After you climb down the stairs, keep following the yellow signs toward the East Exit
3. Keep going straight
4.Keep going straight
5. East Exit Gate
6. In front of the East Exit Gate. Proceed a little further, then turn left
7. Turn left when you reach the pillar with "Lumine EST" written on it
8. After you turn, keep going straight
9. Keep heading straight towards the "Passage to West Gate", then go down the stairs.
10. Turn right when you reach the bottom of the stairs
11. Proceed straight in the underground passageway
12. After a short while, you'll see Exit A5 on the your right side, where you'll see the entrance of BICQLO
13. If you go straight a little further...
14. On the right side, you'll see Exit A4
15. And you'll be led directly to Marui
16. Almost directly in front of Marui, on the left side of the passageway, you'll find Exit B5, which is directly connected to Isetan
How to Get to Kabukicho
*Steps 1-11 to BICQLO, Isetan, and Marui are the same
12. If you keep going along the left side of the underground passageway, you'll see Subnade
13. Go down the stairs from Subnade and keep going straight until you hit the end of the passage
14. There should be stairs on your right side. Climb up the stairs and you'll find yourself right in front of Kabukicho
15. With the road to your back, Kabukicho Higashi-dori Street is on your left-hand side
16. With the road to your back, Kuyakusho-dori Street is on your right-hand side
How to Get to Lumine EST
*Steps 1-6 to BICQLO, Isetan, and Marui are the same
7. Proceed a little further and the elevator of Lumine EST should be on your left.
[JR West Exit Area]
The West Exit area is mainly an area for office buildings and skyscrapers. This is also the area that contains the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, Omoide Yokocho, and major electronic retail shops. The Shinjuku Station West Gate Space in the basement of the station is connected to the underground shopping street that has many department stores and shopping buildings like Keio Department Store and Odakyu Ace.
West Exit Area Gates
[JR] West Gate, Central West Gate (Exit only)
[Odakyu Line] West Ground Gate, West Underground Gate
[Keio Line] Keio West Gate, Keio Department Store Gate, Plaza Gate, Extra Gate
[Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line] West Gate
JR West Gate
Odakyu Line West Ground Gate
Odakyu Line West Underground Gate
Keio Line West Gate
Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line West Gate
How to Get to Omoide Yokocho
1.At the station platform, go down the stairs with the yellow sign that says West Exit
2. Go towards the West Exit
3. West Gate
4. After you exit the gate, with the gate to your back, turn right 5. Keep going straight
6. Go towards the stairs in front
7. Go down the stairs
8. Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, go straight
9. Keep going straight until you reach the Marunouchi Line Gate
10. Marunouchi Line Gate
11. Go straight on the path between the gate and the Information Desk
12. When you reach the bookstore at the end of the passageway, climb up the stairs on your right
13. Keep going until you hit the road, then turn right
14. Go along the road and head towards the green sign in front of you
15. You'll eventually reach Omoide Yokocho
16. Turn right to enter into the alleyway of Omoide Yokocho
17. You've arrived!
How to Get to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office
*Steps 1-3 (until you exit the West Gate) to Omoide Yokocho are the same
4. Exit the gate and go forward
5. If you proceed a little further, you'll see a sign. Follow the sign and head left
6. Go straight for a little while. When you see the West Gate Event Corner, turn into the passage on the right
7. Follow the signs toward the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office
[South Exit Area]
Located in the direction going towards Yoyogi, the South Exit Area is a shopping district with many stores such as LUMINE1, LUMINE2, Tokyu Hands, and Takashimaya Times Square, the symbol of the Shinjuku's South Exit area. There is also the complex containing NEWoMan and Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal, as well as JR Shinjuku MIRAINA TOWER. This is little off topic, but you may be interested to know that right in front of the exit is Koshu-Kaido Avenue, which is one of 5 routes of the Gokaido (Edo Five Routes) that were built in the Edo period to connect the city to its surrounding provinces.
South Exit Area Gate
[JR] South Gate, Koshu-kaido Gate, New South Gate, MIRAINA TOWER Gate
[Odakyu Line] South Gate
[Keio Line] Lumine Gate
JR South Gate
JR Koshu-kaido Gate
JR New South Gate
JR MIRAINA TOWER Gate
Odakyu South Gate
How to Get to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
1. From the platform, go towards the Koshu-kaido Gate
2. Head towards JR Koshu-kaido Gate
3. Exit the gate and go right
4. Keep going until you reach the escalators
5. Go down the escalators
6. Cross the road in front, then turn into the road on your left and go straight
7. Keep follow the road
8. Keep going and you'll eventually reach Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
How to Get to the Expressway Bus Terminal & NEWoMan
1. At the station platform, climb the stairs with the yellow sign that says "South Exit" and head towards the gate
2. Exit the South Gate and you'll see the building containing the Expressway Bus Terminal and NEWoMan. Cross the intersection to get to your destination.
Or, if you're exiting out of a different gate...
1. Head towards the MIRAINA TOWER Gate from the platform
2. Look for the yellow sign for directions to MIRAINA TOWER Gate
3. Exit the gate and NEWoMan should be in front of you To the Expressway Bus Terminal
1. Head towards the New South Gate from the platform
2. New South Gate
3. Exit the New South Gate and take the elevators or escalators on your left to get to the bus terminal
To Takashimaya Times Square
1. Head towards the MIRAINA TOWER Gate from the platform
2. MIRAINA TOWER Gate
3. Exit the MIRAINA TOWER Gate and the entrance to Takashimaya Times Square should be immediately on your right hand side
Other Useful Information
The JR EAST Travel Service Center, a facility that provides sightseeing information and sells travel goods for visitors in Japan, can be found at the New South Gate of Shinjuku Station. Using the multilingual travel information machines available next to each of the ticket machine areas for the Shinjuku Station Odakyu Line West Gate (underground and above ground) and South Gate, you can look up information about facilities in the area or sightseeing spots along the Odakyu Line. There's also a map for information about the Shinjuku Station area in multiple language near each of the gates.
Odakyu Multilingual Travel Information Machine
Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center
The Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center sells many items, including limited express Romancecar tickets, various admission tickets, and package tours to Hakone. They can also provide information about sightseeing or facilities along the Odakyu Line, and you can exchange your money there, too.
Near the West Gate of the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, you can find an information desk with staff who can provide information in English and Chinese, as well as the Tokyo Metro Tourist Information Board, which shows information on stations, transportation, and nearby facilities in multiple languages.
Tokyo Metro Information
Tokyo Metro Tourist Information Board
In addition, within Keio Mall, which connects the Keio Line and Keio New Line, you can find the Central Honshu Information Plaza in Keio Shinjuku, a tourism information center specializing in tourism in the Chubu (central) Region, which encompasses Tochigi Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, and Yamanashi Prefecture. They have local crafts and specialty products on display, so definitely stop by if you're interested! In Shinjuku Station, there are many services and facilities available at every train line that are extremely convenient for tourists from abroad. Make sure to utilize these services when you're in the area!
When visiting Shinjuku Station, feel free to use this guide as a reference so you can have a great time shopping and sightseeing in the area!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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