Shinjuku (新宿) can be quite intimidating with its bright lights, enormous train station, glamorous people and an array of host clubs and bars. It is also a unique district of Tokyo (東京); it is the gay capital and the home of the red light district. If you’re visiting Tokyo, this fascinating area is well worth a visit. Here are 35 things to do in Shinjuku.
One of the most famous places in Shinjuku is Kabukicho (歌舞伎町), Japan’s most famous red light district. If you want to fully experience Shinjuku, Kabukicho and Golden Gai (ゴールデン街) are a must-visit. Although it isn’t openly dangerous, it is recommended you go with a guide to ensure you stay completely safe. The two tours below offer tours of these areas as well as introductions to local food and bars.
If you’re the superstitious type, why not get your fortune told while you’re in Shinjuku? A fortune-teller will use palm-reading and tarot cards to tell your future and even guide you to increase your good luck! For something a little unusual, give this a try.
Do you love Disney? There are several Alice in Wonderland themed cafes in Tokyo, and Shinjuku is home to “Alice in a Magical Land (魔法の国のアリス)”. If you’re a fan of Alice and Disney, definitely pay a visit to this cute cafe! If you’d like to reserve a table so you can visit with complete peace of mind, check out the link below.
At a restaurant in Shinjuku, you can taste the freshest fish you’ve ever seen! You have the option to catch and even cook your own sea bream, flounder, and lobster. If this quirky way of dining appeals to you, book your reservation below.
Looking for a girls’ night out, Japanese-style? It wouldn’t be a real night out in Shinjuku without a visit to a host club! These masters of entertainment will treat you like a princess, engage in great conversation, and ensure you have a fantastic night.
Host clubs can get very expensive, so it is recommended you take the tour below with a local who will show you their favorite club and also introduce you to some great food!
If you enjoy spooky or Halloween-themed restaurants, definitely visit the LockUp (ザ・ロックアップ) in Shinjuku. You’ll be served by zombies and experience a thrilling show! All-you-can-drink set options are also available, so have a scary night out with your friends!
Japanese dyeing is an old tradition that is fought to be preserved. This lesson below gives you a kimono (着物) workshop and the opportunity to dye your own fabric.
As a metropolis, Shinjuku has some great night sights. This tour will introduce you to some famous buildings of Shinjuku and take you to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office (東京都庁), where you can see a breathtaking night view of the city.
The kimono is a gorgeous Japanese dress. In Shinjuku, there’s an opportunity to dress in a kimono and have a photo shoot! This includes the makeup and hair, too, so you’ll get a real authentic experience and breathtaking pictures so you’ll never forget this special day. This is unmissable if you’re interested in Japanese history and fashion.
At the Black Swan Lake (黒鳥の湖) bar in Shinjuku, you can enjoy a fantastic dance performance. With this set, you can choose from a variety of meals and drink packages to ensure you have a great night out.
Dive into the Sengoku (戦国) days at the samurai (侍)-themed restaurant! You can select a set meal and feel the lifestyle of old Japanese warlords. With this tour, there is also an option to visit the famous Robot Restaurant (ロボットレストラン) and see their show!
A professional dyer is holding an intermediate fabric dyeing lesson in Shinjuku. Dye your own coasters or handkerchiefs to take home, and learn how the process works. You can also try painting and dyeing hand towels in any color you choose.
This tour is great if you’d like to try Shinjuku’s best foods but are not sure where to start. This tour will introduce you to the yummy Japanese dishes okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) and monja (もんじゃ). You can have a go at making them yourself at the traditional restaurants.
A gym in Shinjuku is offering the chance to learn to become a ninja (忍者) for a day! You can rent the special wear, choose a weapon and be shown how to use it. Afterwards, you can have pictures taken so you’ll have a souvenir to take home!
While you’re at the gym, why not brush up on your kickboxing skills? Whether you’re a budding athlete or a complete beginner, this course can give you a little exercise while having fun!
— カプコンカフェ (@Capcom_Cafe) March 28, 2017
Shinjuku is also home to the Capcom (カプコン) bar. If you’re a fan of Resident Evil (レジデント イービル) and Monster Hunter (モンスターハンター), definitely pay this unique bar a visit and try food with themes of your favorite video games!
In Shinjuku, you can take a singing lesson that will not only train your pitch and rhythm, but also teach you how to sing a Japanese song. They have some for you to choose from, or you can provide your own CD or YouTube video beforehand. Learn Japanese the fun way and enjoy this singing lesson in a studio in Shinjuku!
Calligraphy, or “shodo (書道)” is another Japanese tradition that is being preserved well. Learn how to write complicated kanji (漢字) characters at this fun calligraphy class! You can join local people and even try some Japanese food afterwards.
This is another themed cafe in Shinjuku, but this time it’s themed in medieval European style! Visit this cafe to enjoy themed cocktails and the medieval-style atmosphere. Click the link below to reserve your table.
Shinjuku is just bursting with cultural experiences, and this is no different. Ikebana (生け花), or flower arrangement, is a long-standing tradition that is said to help people heal mentally and help them find their inner peace. Try “ikebana” in Shinjuku!
There are also plenty of things to do that not only include Shinjuku, but other areas too. Check out the following for things to do that cover several areas in one!
If you’d like to go drinking during your time in Tokyo, why not join a pub crawl and let the host take care of everything? With so many bars, pubs, clubs and host bars, it can be difficult to know where to go that’s good without being too expensive. On this Tokyo pub crawl, you can enjoy the best drinking places in Shinjuku and meet local people at the same time.
What’s actually great about this tour is that the host knows some great areas in a lot of places, not only Shinjuku. So if you’d like to see other areas, too, you can adjust the plan to suit you.
See the best spots of Tokyo all in one day with this private tour. Here you will get to see popular spots such as Ueno Park (上野公園), Shibuya (渋谷), Shinjuku, and Asakusa (浅草), and finish it all off with drinks at a Japanese izakaya (居酒屋) pub. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out the link below.
If you’re up for more than just a few drinks and would like a full Tokyo-style night out, consider booking this guide’s time! You can pick and choose things you’d like to whether it be eating, drinking, visiting certain places or karaoke (カラオケ).
If you are taking the cruise ship to Yokohama (横浜), there’s a great tour that picks you up from Yokohama port and shows you round Tokyo in the comfort of a car. If you’re going to be in Yokohama port, consider booking this so you can see the best spots of Shinjuku, Asakusa, Akihabara (秋葉原), Ginza (銀座) and more with a guide.
If you’re not proficient in the local language, it can be easy to stick with restaurants that look tourist and English-friendly; however, are you getting a real local experience? Luckily, in Shibuya you can meet a local person who will take you to a real Japanese pub, called an “izakaya”, recommend dishes you may not have tried before, and show you how ordinary Japanese people party! If you’d like to immerse yourself in the culture while you’re here, check out this tour!
If you’re into Japanese and Korean music, definitely don’t miss out on all the amazing music shops Tokyo has to offer! This tour offers a tour of all the best places across Harajuku (原宿) and Shin-Okubo (新大久保), as well as any live events you’re interested in attending.
Tokyo’s transportation is efficient and safe, but alternatively, you could consider seeing Tokyo by bicycle! Visit some great places including Shinjuku Gyoen Park (新宿御苑), the 2020 Olympics site, and the imperial palace. These bikes are electric bicycles, ensuring that you are comfortable throughout the journey and don’t tire yourself. Best of all, a camera will record everything as you go, and you can take your own personal video of Tokyo home with you as a souvenir!
If you’d like to be able to relax and let a guide take care of your entire trip, this package deal is for you. With this deal, you will be transferred from the airport to your hotel (as long as you’re staying in Tokyo), and take you on tours on each day of your trip. These include all the must-see spots in Tokyo such as Tsukiji (築地), Asakusa, the Imperial Palace (皇居), Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku. On the 4th day, you will also get to visit Hakone (箱根) for a special day trip. Check out this 5-day tour!
A complete tour with airport transfer, 3-night hotel accommodation with breakfast, and a walking tour of Tokyo on your second day is also available. Take a look at this tour if you’d like a completely all-inclusive stay in Tokyo.
This 5-day tour includes a trip to Fuji Q Highland (富士急ハイランド) Theme Park, and a trip to locations such as Harajuku, Odaiba (お台場), and Asakusa. An airport transfer is also included.
This similar trip also offers airport transfer, Tokyo’s best sightseeing spots and a trip to Hakone, but also includes a trip to Mt. Fuji (富士山) and a ride on the Komagatake Ropeway (駒ケ岳ロープウェイ)! If you’d like to see Fuji up close and take a cruise on Lake Ashi (芦ノ湖), consider this tour!
You may prefer to see Tokyo by bus so you can enjoy the sights and sit comfortably in between. If this is the case, consider taking a half-day bus tour where you can see the Imperial Palace, Sensoji Temple (浅草寺), Tsukiji Fish Market and more.
You might have heard of Japan’s cherry blossoms, or “sakura (桜)”, which are extra special because they only bloom a few weeks out of the year. If you’re visiting Japan in late March or early April, don’t miss this tour of Tokyo’s best sakura spots!
Want to try some great food in the city but you’re not sure which places are good to go? This affordable option lets a local recommend their favorite places based on what you’d like to eat. They will also book a table for you if you’d like. Check it out.
Finally, you can select a tour that covers all the best spots on the west side of Tokyo, including Ikebukuro (池袋), the Korean town of Shin-Okubo, Shinjuku (including a city view from the Government Building), Yoyogi Park (代々木公園) and more.
If you need transportation from Haneda Airport (羽田空港) to Tokyo, consider taking the pre-booked shuttle service. If you take a cruise to Yokohama Port, there is also transportation to Tokyo from there.
Train and subway is the easiest way to get around in Tokyo, so don’t forget to purchase a prepaid travel card to make your travels easier.
Sometimes taking a tour can be more reassuring, particularly if you’re new to Tokyo. Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a fantastic time!