DIY Tokyo Itinerary – 23 Things to Do in Shinjuku

What should be on your Tokyo itinerary? What shouldn't be on your Tokyo itinerary? Pressing questions, answered, in part, right here. We've got a list of the top 23 things to do in Shinjuku, to help your Tokyo itinerary along.

Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to do in Shinjuku, Tokyo? Don’t fret, we’ve broken down the day and made picks of the best Shinjuku has to offer. We will introduce you to 23 things to do in Shinjuku, so you can pick and choose your own itinerary:

- Things to Eat in Shinjuku for Breakfast
- Things to Eat in Shinjuku for Lunch
- Things to Eat in Shinjuku for Dinner
- Things to do in Shinjuku During the Day
- Things to do in Shinjuku at Night

 

Things to Eat in Shinjuku for Breakfast 

1. Matsuya

Matsuya

Photo Credit: Cyril Bèle via Flickr cc

Japan’s staple, rice, is eaten all day every day – including for breakfast. A typical Japanese breakfast includes rice and natto (featured in our “Weird Japanese Food” article). Here is your chance to try natto alongside Japanese salarymen at Matsuya for less than 500 yen. Ordering at this Japanese chain restaurant is as easy as taking candy from a baby:

Step #1: Purchase a ticket at the machine, which has an English option.

Step #2: Sit on any empty seat and hand your ticket to the restaurant staff.

Step #3: Wait patiently for your food to arrive.

Step #4: Voila! Your food has arrived.

Step #5: Enjoy!

Matsuya Breakfast

Photo Credit: rc! via Flickr cc

Budget: <500 yen

Time: ~30 minutes

Address: 1-22-8 Kabukicho, Shinjuku Tokyo 160-0021

Things to Eat in Shinjuku for Lunch

2. Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima

Provided by Foursquare

Contrary to popular belief, not all Michelin star restaurants are expensive. At only 800 yen, you too can enjoy Japan’s finest cuisine at Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima. However, the line can get ridiculously long, so be sure to arrive early.

Budget: >800 yen

Time: >1 hour

Address: Nichihara Building B1F, 5-32-5 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

 

3. Tempura Tsunahachi

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Tempura is a Japanese dish – consisting of deep fried battered seafood and vegetables. Tempura Tsunahachi, founded in 1923, is a premium tempura bar that is a hit with locals and foreigners alike. The tempura is prepared in front of your eyes by skillful tempura chefs. Tempura Tsunahachi’s slogan is simple yet apt: “serving delicious tempura to as many customers as possible.”

Here is a menu of their available sets.

Budget: >1,500 yen

Time: ~1 hour

Address: 3-31-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

 

4. Katsukara

Provided by Foursquare

Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish – typically consisting of deep fried breaded pork cutlet. Katsukara (featured in our “45 Must-Try Restaurants” article) serves some of the best tonkatsu in Tokyo, so expect to wait more than 30 minutes during lunch hour.  

Budget: >1,500 yen

Time: >1 hour

Address: Takashimaya Times Square 14F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-8580

 

5. Brooklyn Parlor

Provided by Foursquare

Need a break from all the rice you’ve been eating? At Brooklyn Parlor, a super trendy bar, you can enjoy an authentic American burger and their star draft beer, Brooklyn Lager. Come here for chill vibes.     

Budget: >2,000 yen

Time: >1 hour

Address: Shinjuku Marui Annex B1F, 3-1-16 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

Things to Eat in Shinjuku for Dinner

6. Piss Alley (also known as Omoide Yokocho or Memory Lane)

Provided by Foursquare

Piss Alley got its name in the 1940s when the poor sewerage system and lack of toilets made it a popular spot for relieving oneself. With rapid development came toilets, but the name stuck.

Piss Alley is now a popular drinking place consisting of multiple alleys of seedy yakitori (meat skewers) restaurants filled with drunken tourists and salarymen alike.

Budget: >1,000 yen

Time: ~1 hour

Address: 1-2-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023

Recommendation:

Asadachi

Provided by Foursquare 

Grilled salamander! Yum!

Even the locals find the food at Asadachi (featured in our “Weird Japanese Food” article) weird, with dishes like raw pig testicles and frog sashimi on the menu. If you can stomach it, you’ll be rewarded with improved sexual prowess, allegedly.  

Address: 1-2-14 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023

 

7. Shinjuku Asia Yokocho (天空の街・新宿アジア横丁)

Provided by Foursquare

This rooftop night market transports you to the night markets of Saigon. Shinjuku Asia Yokocho not only offers Vietnamese cuisine but also a myriad of other Asian cuisines such as Malay and Thai. Come here to relive your backpacking days without leaving central Tokyo!

Budget: >1,000 yen

Time: ~1 hour

Address: Rooftop of Dai 2 Towa Kaikan, 1-21-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021

 

8. Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant: Alice in Magical Land

Provided by Foursquare

Tokyo is home to many themed eateries – but few are as magical as this Alice in Wonderland restaurant. You don’t even have to be a fan to enjoy Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant, as while the food is nothing out of the ordinary, the decor and atmosphere definitely are. There is so much to take in at this unique restaurant. 

Budget: ~2,000 yen

Time: ~1 hour

Address: Odakyu HALC B3F, 1-5-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023

 

9. Robot Restaurant

Provided by Foursquare

The Robot Restaurant is truly the embodiment of what foreigners think of Japan: weird, wacky, futuristic and different. The restaurant is not known for its food but for its electrifying show filled with battling robots, samurais, dinosaurs and dancers. Be sure to make reservations here because seats can be extremely limited due to its popularity amongst tourists.

Budget: >19,000 yen

Time: ~1.5 hour

Address: Shinjuku Robot Building B2F, 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021

Things to Do in Shinjuku During the Day

10. Shopping at Don Quijote

Provided by Foursquare

Forgot to buy souvenirs? This 24-hour mega-discount chain store has you covered. Its goods are packed from floor to ceiling – from Pikachu onesies to adult toys.    

Budget: >1,000 yen

Time: >1 hour

Address: 1-16-5 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021

Selfie Op:

Provided by Foursquare

Adjacent to Don Quijote, you can point, scream and even take a selfie with the giant Godzilla that stands behind the Shinjuku Toho Building. 

Time: <1 minute

Budget: Free!

Address: Shinjuku Toho Building, 1-19-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021

 

11. Shopping at Tokyu Hands

Provided by Foursquare

Despite stocking almost everything you could ever need, this 6-story Japanese department store specializes in hobby, home improvement and lifestyle goods. Stationery lovers, Tokyu Hands is the place to find your super kawaii (cute) stationery. 

Time: >1 hour

Budget: >1,000 yen

Address: Takashimaya Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-8580

 

12. Whack Baseballs at Shinjuku Batting Center

Provided by Foursquare

The Japanese love baseball, and if you’re anything like them, this is the place to get your fix. Want to be the next Babe Ruth? Speeds go up to 130 km/h and if you’re not a fan of batting, there’s even a pitching target. Shinjuku Batting Center opens till 4 in the morning, so swing by here for a late-night swing after drinking with your friends.     

Budget: >300 yen

Time: <1 hour

Address: 1-21-13 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

 

13. Play Arcade Games at Taito Station

Provided by Foursquare

Arcades are a national pastime and a big part of Japan’s culture. Taito Station is surprisingly free of children, but with salarymen instead, who come here to wind down after a long day of work. Taito Station has games – ranging from UFO catchers to classic Street Fighter but if you really want an authentic Japanese experience, they even have photo booths (Purikura) too (featured in our “Japanese Photo Booth” article).

For a run-down of Tokyo’s best arcades take a look at our Japanese arcades article. 

Budget: ~1,000 yen

Time: >1 hour

Address: 3-35-8 Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

 

14. Pet Cats at Calico Cat Cafe

Provided by Foursquare

This cat cafe (featured in our “Cat Cafe” article) is situated in the center of busy Shinjuku. Come and pet some adorable cats and let your fatigue melt away.

Budget: 1,200 yen

Time: 1 hour

Address: Fuji Building 6F, 1-16-2 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo160-0021

 

15. Appreciate Art at Shinjuku Ophthalmologist Gallery

Provided by Foursquare

Near the Hanazono Shrine, this Japanese modern art gallery provides a great contrast to the old. Here is a website for their current exhibition.

Budget: Free!

Time: <1 hour

Address: 5-18-11 Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

 

16. Admire Mount Fuji from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Tocho)

Provided by Foursquare

At 202 meters above the ground, the two observation decks (North and South) on the 45th floor make Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building easily the best free observatory in Tokyo. From the observation deck, you can see Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and if the weather permits, Mount Fuji. The North observation deck is even open till 10:30PM, allowing you to enjoy the Tokyo nightscape. Here are the hours of operation for Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.   

Budget: Free!

Time: <1 hour

Address: 2-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 163-8001

 

17. Pray at Hanazono Shrine

Hanazono-Jinja Shrine

Provided by Foursquare

Break away from the hustle and bustle of the city and find inner peace at this Shinto shrine (featured in our “Temples and Shrines” article). You may find yourself next to salarymen praying to Inari, god of fertility and prosperity, for business success.

Budget: Free!

Time: <1 hour

Address: 5-17-3 Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

 

18. Relax at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Provided by Foursquare

At a super low 200 yen, the tranquility of this park seems even sweeter (featured in our “Tokyo Parks” article). Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a great place to relax after exploring the nooks and crannies of Shinjuku.

Budget: 200 yen

Time: >1hour

Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014

Things to Do in Shinjuku at Night 

19. Shinjuku Golden Gai

Provided by Foursquare

Shinjuku Golden Gai (featured in our “Tokyo Nightlife” article) is not only known for its nightlife but for its old-world architecture as well. Golden Gai is home to more than 200 dingy bars in its 6 narrow alleys, with each bar seating no more than 10 people.

Budget: >2,000 yen

Time: >2 hour

Address: 1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021

Recommendation:

Champion Bar 

Provided by Foursquare

Unlike most of the other bars in Golden Gai, this foreigner-friendly choice has no cover charge. The drinks are reasonably priced at 500 yen each or 5 drinks for 2000 yen. There’s even karaoke for 100 yen a song. The friendliness of the patrons and foreign bartenders at Champion Bar make it a great spot for a night to remember, or forget.    

Address: 1-10-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021

 

20. Shinjuku Ni-chome (also known as the gay district of Tokyo)

Though perhaps not as extensive as gay districts in Europe or America, Shinjuku Ni-chome (also featured in our “Tokyo Nightlife” article) is still incredibly fun. It is also very welcoming to all, regardless of sexual orientation. Come here for a good time!     

Time: >2 hours

Budget: >4,000 yen

Address: 2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

Recommendations:

Dragon Men

Provided by Foursquare

With no cover charge, this club is extremely popular amongst locals and foreigners, especially at the weekend. Behind a nondescript door, scantily clad individuals dance the night away to catchy pop songs.    

Time: ~2 hours

Budget: >2,000 yen

Address: Stork Nagasaki Building, 2-11-4 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

AiiRO Cafe

Provided by Foursquare

To enter AiiRO Cafe, you must first go through a traditional Japanese torii gate which marks the entrance. The bar is reasonably priced, open-air, popular with foreigners and a great place to socialize and make lifelong friendships.

Time: ~1 hour

Budget: ~2,000 yen

Address: 7th Tenka Building B1F, 2-18-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

Paddy’s Junction

Provided by Foursquare

The staff of this Irish pub speak fluent English and are incredibly friendly and welcoming. And if that wasn’t enough, the fish and chips is mouth-watering and there’s 50% off every Wednesday. There’s even free open-mic Karaoke every Friday; sing your heart out while you enjoy a pitcher of Asahi for only 1,800 yen!  

Time: ~1 hour

Budget: ~2,000 yen

Address: 2-13-16, Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022

 

21. Pasela Resorts

Provided by Foursquare

No night in Tokyo is complete without Karaoke and Pasela Resorts, with themed rooms stocked with maracas and tambourines, is one of the best choices.

Here is our guide to maximizing your Karaoke fun.

Time: > 2 hours

Budget: ~3,500 yen

Address: 1-3-16 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021

 

22. Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Bar

Provided by Foursquare

Want to recreate the famous scene from Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation? Now, you can, for a price, in Park Hyatt Tokyo’s classy New York Bar on the 52nd floor. The experience is well worth it for the live jazz every night and breathtaking nighttime view of Tokyo.

Time: >1 hour

Budget: >5,000 yen

Address: 3-7-1-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 163-1055

 

23. 8bit Cafe

Provided by Foursquare

With arcades ever changing, 8bit Cafe is a haven for old-school gamers, especially Nintendo fans. Enjoy several bouts of classic Mario Kart as you sip the house cocktail, “Doctor Mario.”  

Time: >1 hour

Budget: >2,000 yen

Address: Q Building 5F, 3-8-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo

C. Akira

C. Akira

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# Things to Do in Tokyo # Things to Do in Shinjuku # Things to Do in Japan

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