Shinjuku Superguide

Name: Shinjuku

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°41’29.39″ N 139°42’07.68″ E

Station: Shinjuku Station – JR Yamanote Line

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Don’t miss it.

Updated 7/9/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

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The name Shinjuku means New Lodgings. The area became a busy commerce center during the Edo Period and later again after World War 2. The name derives from the older area Harajuku (Sun Lodgings) to the south.

A diorama depicting Shinjuku during the World War 2 era at the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

Access

Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station is the busiest train station on earth. Over 2 million people pass through the station every day. At rush hour the place is so packed it can be hard to move or even find your way around if you’re not familiar with it.

There are both Japan Rail (JR) platforms for common lines such as the Yamanote Line, as well as various subway lines. The station acts as an interchange + transfer point for many lines in Tokyo. There are at least 8 levels in the station, many of them buried deep underground.

There are also lots of shopping areas as well as a newly renovated outside shop area and courtyard (Shinjuku Southern Terrace). The station was vastly expanded in 2009-2010 and is now several times its former size on the south end.

Area Layout

The station is shown above, lower center. On both the north and south ends there are huge clusters of shopping centers, as well as an outdoor courtyard. To the northwest is the Cocoon building, and the Tokyo Metropolitain Gov’t buildings (which has a great free observation deck). Just northeast of the Cocoon Tower is the Odayku department store (depato) complex. To the northeast are the main streets with a dizzying array of outdoor shops, restaurants, and things to do and see. At night the area comes alive with lights + sounds – a photographer’s dream. There are also countless huge electronics shops such as Bic Camera and others.

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View of Shinjuku from the outdoor platform. The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower is on the left, and Odakyu (see below) is the orange building in the center. Ikebukuro is a few stops to the north from here.

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Info map at the station on a platform.

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From Shinjuku you can take your pick of 2 more interesting areas in either direction: Ikebukuro to the north, or Shibuya to the south.

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Madness at a station platform.

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At the north entrance of the station around 35°41’31.78″ N 139°42’03.26″ E is the famous Duckman street performer.

The surface-level of the station has several areas: the main (north) area bisected by Rt. 20 running east-west (this area has the LUMINE and NewWoman modifications made in the early 2000’s. The MyLord bldg. and open terrace to the west of that, the Cocoon bldg. area to the northwest, and the Takashimaya Square area to the south. Of course there are many more areas than this – the station area is huge and takes a whole hour to circumnavigate on foot. Just to the northeast of the LUMINE area is a huge OIOI (pronounced Marui) department store complex, and just to the immediate west on Rt. 20 is a huge Don Quijote discount store. Also at the very south end of the new station redevelopment is a huge outdoor open-air sitting area + cafés (Shinjuku Southern Terrace). You can sit and watch the trains come and go beneath you. Just to the east of the Takashimaya Square complex is the huge Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – a must see. If you go to the gardens and have a few extra minutes, also pop in to Yoyogi just a few minutes’ walk to the south.

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Inside the crazy west end of the station.

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Heading down into the Metro Ginza line from the west side of the station.

Courtesy Virtual Japan.tv

The northwest terrace. The MyLord bldg. is straight ahead.

Tourist Info Offices + Currency Exchange + Coin Lockers

At the very south end of the LUMINE bldg. under the train tracks is a huge Shinjuku Tourist Information Office. If you want to pick up some brochures on things to do in the area, stop in when you first arrive.

The outdoor Tourist Info Office just under the tracks next to LUMINE.

There is another Tokyo Tourist Information Center on the 3rd floor near the south exit. There’s also a Sagawa luggage delivery service office here.

At the west exit there is the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center which has all sorts of info about sightseeing.

There are also loads of currency exchanges around the info offices, but their rates may not be the best. You might be better off using a smaller exchange in places such as Akihabara, or the Sakura Exchange in Shibuya.

There’s also a large coin locker bank on the southern side of the info center shown above.

Seibu-Shinjuku Station

We should also mention that just to the north of the main Shinjuku Station a few blocks is the smaller Seibu-Shinjuku Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

Flags Building + Green Peas Pachinko

Around 35°41’23.18″ N 139°42’05.80″ E is an east exit from the station, 2 long escaltors, and a huge department store called Flags. There’s a huge GAP that’s been here for over 20 years.

The Flags Building @ the east exit.

Incredibly, right next to the Flags building is a huge, 8-story pachinko parlor called Green Peas, which even has entire floors of Vegas-style slot machines. There is also a huge Taito Game Station arcade just behind it down a side street.

Courtesy Virtual Japan.tv

Green Peas Pachinko.

Odakyu Depato

Just northwest of the station is the Odakyu Depato (department store) area. There are plenty of things to do here, and there’s a food floor on the top floor, which includes Shinjuku’s part of the latest craze in Tokyo: pancakes. Rainbow Pancake is on the food floor. There are also elevated walkways to other department stores such as Keio just across the street (Keio‘s food basement is one of the best in Tokyo).

The dept. store complex on the west side. Odakyu is the orange bldg. on the right, and just to the right of that, the KEIO dept. store. Further to the left out of view is a huge Bic Camera. The Cocoon bldg. is just behind the camera to the west. The MyLord terrace area is just beind the KEIO bldg. to the east. There are actually 2 Odakyu complexes – the east side one shown here, and the Odakyu/HALC/Bic Camera annex to the north (out of frame to the left). There is also a major bus stop area here.

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Rainbow Pancake on the top floor of Odakyu.

If you’re really into pancakes, also check out Sarabeth’s Lumine Shinjuku just inside the new LUMINE building on top of the station at street level on the north side.

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Giant pie-sized cookies in KEIO‘s food basement.

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Heading in to the east-side Odakyu complex (right). The northern Odakyu/HALC annex is shown here on the left. This photo faces north.

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Standing on the northern Odakyu/HALC annex pedestrian overpass facing east. The huge UNIQLO is on the right.

Central Streets

From the station to the east, there are 3 main streets running west-east which parallel each other a few blocks apart. These are: 1), Yasukuni-Dori 2), Shinjuku-Dori, and 3) Koshu-Kaido Dori (Rt. 20).

By far, the most popular of these is Yasukuni-Dori. Several blocks to the east Meiji-Dori intersects all 3 and runs north-south all the way to the Imperial Palace. In this central area of about 3-4 long blocks, most of the action in Shinjuku happens. The west side is interesting too, but it’s more business/gov’t-oriented. A stroll around the east-side streets at night will floor you with its colors, lights, and dizzing array of things to do.

North Exit + Studio ALTA

The northeast station exit is a popular meeting spot for young people. Just across the street is a building called Studio ALTA with its massive TV display on the outside of the building. If you slip down the small side street to the left at night, you’re in for one of Shinjuku’s nightime delights – a small concrete pedestrian-only area with lots of shops and restaurants. There is also a huge Matsumoto Kiyoshi drug store here, and the rear entrance to the huge Yamada Denki LABi electronics shop (see below). As mentioned above, this is also where the infamous Duckman performs nightly. If you head through the small concrete park, in a few blocks you’ll come to a huge Don Quijote, described next.

Studio ALTA, right. Head down the small side street ahead.

Just north of the north exit. The station entrance is ahead.

Massive Don Quijote on Yasukuni-Dori

On Yasukuni-Dori 2 blocks from the station is a huge Don Quijote discount store. If you’re strolling this street at night, it’s worth a stop in to look around. The place is huge and has multiple floors of just about anything you could want, including a grocery.

Courtesy Nippon Wandering TV

Dazzling streets of east Shinjuku at night.

Heading Further East to Shinjuku Ohdori Shopping District

As a footnote, you can walk or bike all the way east on Rt. 20 back to Yotsuya (about 6 miles) – there are a lot of interesting things to see along Rt. 20 as well as several other subway station stops at various points – most notably Shinjuku-Sanchome Station around 35°41’26.01″ N 139°42’20.84″ E, and Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station – one more stop the east. All of them pop up onto Rt. 20 at various points. The coolest thing about Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station is its little retro 1950’s-styled entrance on the street around 35°41’19.17″ N 139°42’35.28″ E. There is also a large, cheap, excellent APA Hotel just 1 block west on the same side of the street. There is also a huge Tully’s Coffee just across from Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station.

Heading east on Rt. 20 towards Yotsuya. Note the JTB building on the right. Along this route around this area there are also huge massive department stores such as Isetan, OIOI (pronounced Marui), and Takishimaya. This part of Shinjuku is known as the Shinjuku Ohdori Shopping District. There is also a huge Apple Store here. One of the best kept secrets in this area is the hobby shop on the top floor of the OIOI.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

West a few blocks from the west side of the station is the odd-looking Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower. It’s mostly offices, but there are a few interesting things on the ground floor. It’s a rather small building, so there’s not a lot to do here. But it’s worth walking to it just to have a look at the architecture.

If you head just northwest from the Cocoon, you’ll come to an iconic part of Shinjuku which includes many buildings from famous photos of Tokyo: such as Sampo Japan Building, and others. There is also a massive pedestrian walkway here which allows you to walk around several of the buildings elevated from the streets.

There is also a very nice massive concrete and green park 2 blocks to the west of Cocoon at the Sojibo Shinjuku Mitsui Building around 35°41’30.14″ N 139°41’38.23″ E.

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Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower northwest of the station. KEIO dept. store is behind the camera to the east. If you continue far enough west from here, you’ll come to the Tokyo Metropolitain Government complex which has one of the best observatories in Tokyo.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower at street level facing east.

Outside Takashimaya Times Square. MyLord is the triangular bldg. center left, and beyond that, the Cocoon Bldg.

Tokyo Metropolitain Government

If you continue west for a few blocks, you’ll next pass the Shinjuku Keio Plaza Hotel, and 2 blocks west of that, you’ll come to the Tokyo Metropolitain Government buildings. These twin buildings house the entire central government for Tokyo. There is a massive open-air concrete courtyard surrounding the buildings, and a free observation deck on the top floors – but be warned, because it’s free, there are usually huge lines for the observatory – even on weekdays. Plan on spending several hours in line – more if it’s peak season such as in the spring or late fall.

Electronics (Denki)

The Japanese word for electronics is Denki. There are several huge electronics stores in Shinjuku: There are 2 Yamada Denki LABi stores – one near Studio ALTA mentioned above, and one just west of the MyLord building near the station’s central exit. The one near Studio ALTA is closing soon.

There are 3 huge Bic Camera stores – one in the Odakyu Annex mentioned above, one in the huge UNIQLO store (called BicQLO) around 35°41’29.45″ N 139°42’11.45″ E, and Bic Camera Shinjuku Station East Store just southeast of the Studio ALTA location.

The other big electronics store is the huge Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku West Main Store around 35°41’23.30″ N 139°41’52.96″ E. It’s just a few blocks southeast of the Cocoon Building. There’s also lots of interesting other small shops around the Yodobashi store.

All of the electronics shops are worth a look – if for no other reason than to marvel at their scale and selection.

Yodobashii Camera Shinjuku.

Kinokuniya Book Store

Just across from the BicQLO store mentioned above is a huge Kinokuniya Book Store around 35°41’30.98″ N 139°42’09.99″ E. Kinokuniya is one of the largest book chains in Japan, and this one doesn’t disappoint. If you have any extra time, be sure to pop in and look around. They also have a web store where you can order online.

Takishimaya Times Square + The Bubble Building + Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden + Cafe La Boheme

Just to the south of the station and the Southern Terrace area is the epic Takashimaya Times Square complex – a huge multi-story shopping/food/entertainment complex, TTS is a must-see in Shinjuku. There are also plenty of interesting shops in the complex’s open-air below-ground area, and the large Tokyu Hands department store (depato) on the south side. To get to TTS, go outside to the southern terrace (on the west side of the station) and head south to the large foot bridges which lead to the complex.

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Takashimaya Times Square, left, and the NTT “Bubble building”, right.

Takashimaya Times Square at night.

Just south of TTS is the NTT DoCoMo “Bubble BuildingHQ. It was nicked-named the Bubble Building because it was built during Japan’s “bubble” economy in the late 1980’s-1990’s. The building’s design was inspired by the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York.

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West of TTS is the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – a huge Japanese garden with several ponds, trees, and long walkways. Many of the paths afford excellent photo spots of various parts of Tokyo. There is also a large impressive greenhouse. Admission price is around $6 USD, but it’s worth it. Be sure to check it out.

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Entrance to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Cafe La Boheme

If you’re in the mood for a brew, just across the street to the north of the greenhouse is the excellent European-themed Cafe La Boheme at 35°41’15.14″ N 139°42’46.09″ E. If you love coffee + have the time, be sure to check it out – it’s excellent.

Shinjuku Historical Museum

If you’re willing to walk a few more miles northwest, around 35°41’23.90″ N 139°43’31.25″ E you’ll find the Shinjuku Historical Museum (see Totally Drew’s video below).

Courtesy Totally Drew

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2ZCoVSVSnQ

Samurai Museum

To the north of the station a bit (oddly in a seedy nightclub area) around 35°41’43.84″ N 139°42’12.63″ E, is the excellent Samurai Museum Shinjuku. This is one of the best samurai museums in Tokyo, and you can even buy swords and take caligraphy lessons there if you want.

Walking to Other Parts of Tokyo from Shinjuku

As mentioned, you can actually walk to other parts of Tokyo (or ride a bike) such as Yotsuya or Akasaka. Ebisu is just to the south and worth a walk. Plan on a few hours, however, and the walk east is a quite a ways. On bike it will take about 30-45 minutes.

Yoyogi is just to the south also, and Nakano just to the northwest.

Food

There are so many food options in Shinjuku it’s hard to know where to start. The options are endless. There are conbini (convenience stores) in the station and they are all good. There are many good places just outside the station, and there are huge and upscale restaurants in the area and in TTS.

The Maple Diner waffle shop near the MyLord building.

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Kinokuniya Entreé conbini near the Saikyo Line in the station.

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HOKUO the Garden also in the station.

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Watch them carbs.

Shake Shack @ Southern Terrace.

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Soup Stock Tokyo.

Courtesy Virtual Japan.tv

American Bar + Grill, TGI Friday’s jammed down some side street.

More cool places hidden down side alleys.

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Food Hall BLAST! – 2 blocks west of TTS.

Sanagi Shinjuku Food Hall

http://sanagi.tokyo/

3 Food Halls Where You Can Casually Dine in Shinjuku – Shinjuku Guide

A Happy Pancake Shinjuku @ 35°41’26.01″ N 139°42’13.58″ E.

The world-famous Omoide Yokocho Alley around 35°41’33.97″ N 139°41’58.12″ E.

Taming The Beast

Shinjuku is one of the biggest, busiest, and most overwhelming parts of Tokyo – you could easily spend several days exploring it all and not see everything. It’s a must-see part of Tokyo, so plan on spending a few days at least seeing it.

Conclusion

We can’t recommend Shinjuku enough – and you absolutely can’t miss it if you’re in Tokyo. From the station area to vast electronics stores, depatos, the TMG + Cocoon buildings, and the streets, there is more than enough to do here. Be astounded, and be amazed.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

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The fire trucks are coming up around the bend. You live, you learn. The NTT “Bubble Building” towers in the distance at dusk.

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A typical exit info sign in Shinjuku Station.

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Inside the Odakyu complex heading down into the station below.

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The Yamanote Line heading north for Ikebukuro and Omiya.

Facing the Odakyu/KEIO complex from the taxi stand @ the west side of the station.

Also @ the west side of the station.

At the LUMINE/NewWoman side of the renovations at street level.

The Odakyu Line cuts through the Shinjuku night.

Courtesy Nippon Wandering TV

One of many endless excellent restaurants on the backstreets.

There are endless things to discover on the streets of Shinjuku.

A hidden place to park your bike for free in a small underpass.

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Stumbling around Shinjuku’s streets in the dark, every once in a while the perfect photo opportunity hits you smack in the face.

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Or if you prefer – the B+W version.

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Inside Odakyu HALC. This ain’t Walmart.

Outside Odakyu HALC.

Inside Shinjuku Station near MyLord.

Epic view outside Shinjuku Station. LUMINE is on the left, and MyLord is just behind the camera on the left.

On Southern Terrace. MyLord is just ahead behind the trees. The huge bldg. on the left used to be Microsoft‘s Japan HQ.

LINKS

Shinjuku Station – Wikipedia

Shinjuku Station

Shōnan–Shinjuku Line – Wikipedia

Shinjuku Station Building Facilities

Seibu-Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Guide

Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center

Sightseeing Without Baggage|Sagawa

Shinjuku Shopping Guide | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

JTB USA

Shinjuku Area Overview – Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Southern Terrace – Wikipedia

southernterrace.jp

TOKYO POCKET GUIDE

Tokyo Metropolitain Government

Keio Department Store, Shinjuku

Shinjuku Mylord – Shinjuku Guide

Shinjuku Marui Honkan (OIOI)

Hotels near Shinjuku Station

5 Must-Try Restaurants in Shinjuku Mylord

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

新宿御苑 Shinjuku-Gyoen | Cafe La Boheme

Quick Guide to Shinjuku’s Department Stores

Takashimaya Square

https://trulytokyo.com/takashimaya-times-square/

https://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/takashimaya-shinjuku

https://tokyocheapo.com/place/takashimaya-times-square/

Sarabeth’s Lumine Shinjuku

Don Quijote

Don Quijote | Shopping in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Yoyogi

https://www.samuraimuseum.jp/

VIDS

The main area to the northeast. The huge Don Quijote store is shown in this thumbnail on the right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kln6afdUpH4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va5yljaIObE

Tokyo Station Superguide Part 1: Marunouchi

Name: Tokyo Station

Kind: Station/Multi-use

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°40’49.41″ N 139°46’07.51″ E

Station: Tokyo Station

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Don’t miss it.

Updated 6/20/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Tokyo Station is Tokyo’s showplace train station + vast multiuse complex.

Renovated + expanded in 2012 the area is an entire city unto itself. In fact, there’s an entire area inside called Tokyo Station City (TSC) – most of it underground beneath and around the station. There are several subdevelopments inside such as TSC, GRANRoof (an elevated outdoor walkway), 1st Avenue underground mall, and others. A new high-rise development just northeast is being planned called Tokyo Torch, which when completed will be Japan’s tallest building. TSC also has its own YouTube channel. Check out the Tokyo Colors.2015 Teaser movie.

There are also huge food palaces, and a large street-level shopping complex with various depatos (department stores), the largest of which is DAIMARU. Inside the station in many areas, there are endless food courts and high-end restaurants + cafés.

Tokyo Station hosts a huge number of train lines and is one of the central departure points for many of Japan’s high speed Shinkansen (bullet trains – shinkansen literally means “new rapid line”). The main lines are Japan Railways (JR) lines, and other lines such as Keio, Tokyo Metro subway and others. You can get to just about any place in the Tokyo region on regular and express trains, and to other parts of Japan on shinkansen.

The station is centered in the central business district called Marunouchi (literally “Imperial Palace Grounds Circle”) in Tokyo just east of the Imperial Palace.

The area is too huge + vast to cover everything so we’ll just hit the major features and points of interest here. To truly experience the station + area, you’ll have to plan on spending a few days walking or biking around.

There are 2 sides to the station – the older but renovated brick side on the west called the Marunouchi side, and the newer, more modern east side called the Yaesu (pronounced ‘Yah-eh-soo’) side (named after one of Japan’s only foreign Samurai, Jan Joosten, or simply Yayōsu for short, from the 17th century) . There are only 2 internal passages which connect the 2 sides the Yaesu North Passage on the north side of the station, and the Yaesu Central Passage in the middle of the station. The two major shinkansen entry areas are also in the center of the station slightly towards the east side. There is also the Yokosuka-Sobu Line Rapid Line to Narita Airport on the west side.

There is actually a smaller 3rd side called the Nihombashi Entrance on the far northeast corner of the station. This entrance/exit is largely used for busses, but if you need to go north of the station, this is the exit to take. There is also a luggage delivery service and a few cafés inside along with coin lockers (see below).

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Northwest (Marunouchi) side of the station + entrance. There is also a luggage forwarding + a large tourist info office just inside.

Tokyo Station and the Marunouchi area are incredibly spectacular + clean and are the showplace of Tokyo. You won’t want to miss it for anything.

Also on the west side right in the center of the station is the incredibly luxurious and ornate Tokyo Station Hotel, which runs about $400/night.

At the very south entrance on the west side there is also a small Koban (police box). There isn’t much else on the exterior of the west side – most of the interesting points are inside, or in the surrounding area. The west side facadé was renovated in 2012, along with the ornate northwest entrance area which has soaring Victorian ceilings.

An important point of interest to note is that the quickest way to get from Tokyo Station to the west side of the city (to Shinjuku) is on an express line called the JR Chuo Line which departs Tokyo Station and only makes 5 stops on the way to Shinjuku (which is the busiest train station in Tokyo and in the world).

One word of warning: the interior of the station, its passageways, tunnels, platforms, shopping, and routes to other areas can be daunting. You can easily get lost or walk for hours underground. Sometimes it can take over an hour to get to a particular platform or train line.

In this article we’ll cover only the Marunouchi side and the western surrounding area. See Part 2 for the east Yaesu side.

Access

Nearly all lines in Tokyo lead one way or another to Tokyo Station. There are so many lines + platforms in the station it’s impossible to list them all here. Check out the JR Tokyo Station website or the TSC website for a complete list of lines + maps.

On foot or bike Tokyo Station is an easy walk from many of the other parts of the city: Akihabara and Kanda to the north, Yurakucho + Ginza to the south, Otemachi which is just to the north, or even Ueno further north. From Ueno you can even walk to Tokyo Dome City. The JR Yamanote Line runs to Kanda, Akihabara, Ueno, Nippori, and Yurakucho/Ginza.

There are also dozens of sidewalk street-level portals in the area which lead down into the station. Don’t forget that when you are walking around the streets, below you the station is everywhere.

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A station street portal.

There are 2 main streets running north-south on the west side of the station and both are interesting walks. There are endless hotels, shops, business, skyscrapers, and cafés everywhere. You can stroll around for hours and not see it all.

Shuttles

There is also a free Marunouchi Shuttle with an app, but the app is in Japanese only currently. The TSC site has a complete list of all shuttles.

Area Layout

Overhead view facing north. The station with tracks runs north-south shown right of center. The Yurakucho area (see below) at the bottom, and the Imperial Palace is in the upper left corner. The 2 parks are to the center left and lower left. Out of view to the lower right is Ginza. The Marunouchi area is to the top, center.

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The central Marunouchi (west) side of Tokyo Station. The Tokyo Station Hotel is in the center. When Tokyo Torch is completed, it will be just to the left of the skyscrapers shown above.

The south entrance on the west side. Note the turret architecture that was popular in Japan in the early 1900’s when the station was built.

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Also inside the north entrance is a central information booth.

Facing west into the Marunouchi area at the south end of the station. There is a spectacular view of the entire area from the rooftop observation deck in the KITTE building on the left. If you head left (south) from here in a few blocks you will come to Yurakucho. Marunouchi Plaza (see next) is just on the right out of frame.

Marunouchi Plaza

Outside the west side of the station is an astonishing large open air plaza called Marunouchi Plaza. It’s mostly just a walking + photo area but provides epic views of the station. There is also a small Metro subway portal here. If you head further west across the street there’s another long paved walkway leading to the Imperial Palace. In the fall the Ginko trees along this walkway turn a brilliant yellow. If you’re there in the fall, don’t miss it.

The epic vista of Marunouchi Plaza facing west. The Imperial Palace is straight ahead.

Another view of Marunouchi Plaza. In the fall the Ginko trees shown here turn a brilliant yellow in a spectacular nature show. The white bldg. on the far left was built in the 1970’s and on it’s ground floor is the largest  Store in Tokyo.

Just to the north and south of the 2nd walkway, there are 2 parks worth checking out around 35°40’57.67″ N 139°45’38.80″ E. To the south is the huge Kōkyogaien National Garden, and to the north a small concrete park with a large fountain called Wadakura Fountain Park. There are various other spectacular hotels around the area.

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Ginko trees in the fall to the west of Tokyo Station.

KITTE + Observation Deck.

At the south end of the plaza, there’s a large white bldg. called KITTE. It offers several levels of indoor shops, food, and a spectacular open-air rooftop garden affording epic views of the station. It’s a breathtaking view and not to be missed. Just enter on the north side and take the escalator up. Totally Drew has a nice vid of the deck in the vid section below. KITTE also has a nice tourist + business info office with people ready to assist you, should the need arise.

Also currently just across the street from KITTE is Tokyo’s largest  Store, in a very retro-70’s style office building at street level.

South to Yurakucho

If you head south past KITTE on side streets, in just a few blocks you’ll be in the Yurakucho/Ginza area, and you’ll pass the nice Tokyo International Forum along the way. Both Yurakucho/Ginza, and Akihabara/Kanda are easy walks from the station.

Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum

2 blocks to the southeast is a huge museum called the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum. The entire 3-story building is done in early British/American colonial brick style and is a must-see. The museum mostly offers rotating collections of paintings + other artwork. There is also a very nice café + garden.

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Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum

Food

There is endless food at and around Tokyo Station. From ramen joints to deluxe upscale resturants to food courts, you won’t be able to decide. The station is full of food stalls, shops, a central store area with shops selling sweets, delicacies, and all kinds of meals. There are also food courts in the underground tunnels at various intervals.

Perhaps the biggest food extraveganza at Tokyo Station is the food tower in the DAIMARU depato (department store), but that is on the Yaesu (east) side so we’ll save that for Part 2.

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The central shops area inside the station which includes dessert places such as TokyoMe+.

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There are also endless large complexes on the streets around the station such as M Lounge just to the northeast.

1st Avenue Underground Mall

In approximately the center of the west side inside the station near the shops is the entrance to a large underground mall called 1st Avenue. The mall is vast and has all kinds of shops, although many of them such as the Pokemon and LEGO stores seem to be targeted at kids. Still worth a quick look.

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Coin Lockers

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There are several huge banks of coin lockers inside Tokyo Station. Some are along corridors between platforms and areas, but the largest banks are on the west side across from the central shops area, and near the entrances to the shinkansen areas. You can drop your stuff in them to lighten your load, or when traveling on trains, but it will cost you. Small lockers run about $8 USD/24 hours, large ones can cost as much as $14-$19/24 hours. They also accept Tokyo’s Suica IC payment card. To use them, drop your stuff in, then lock it and take the key if there is one. If not, use the touch-screen panel to select + secure your locker. You generally pay when you return to unlock and retrieve your items. Some lockers do require you to pay in advance. Lockers can also come in handy when transporting luggage coming/going to airports or other cities. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can find dirt cheap street lockers around Tokyo as low as $4/day such as this hidden bank in Ueno:

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Otemachi to the Northwest

Just to the northwest is a small sister city area called Otemachi. It’s also part of the business district and in fact, is connected underground to Tokyo Station by long vast tunnels + walkways. You can walk in about 45 minutes, but the path underground is complex and requires you to traverse several different levels, shopping centers, stairs, escalators, and walkways. So be prepared. There are also lots of things to see and do around Otemachi including mixed-use complexes such as Otemachi One and Ootemori. But this leads us to the final topic for this post…

Hanzomon Hell

The Hanzomon Line is a Tokyo Metro subway which runs east-west near Tokyo Station and which can be accessed underground in both Tokyo Station and Otemachi Station. But this is where it gets tricky: The Hanzomon Line station is on the far side of Otemachi, but signs underground in Tokyo Station point your way there. The hard part is that many of the Hanzomon Line signs in Tokyo Station merely list the distance to the next part of the path you have to follow. Just when you think you’re there, you have to walk another 350 meters – multiple times. In fact, it’s several miles of walking on a convoluted path to get from Tokyo Station to the actual Hanzomon Line platform in Otemachi Station. So, if you decide to go this route, be prepared for serious walking. On the upside, there are a lot of interesting things along the way and lots of food courts, cafés and other places to stop and rest if need be. This walk is generally known among expats as Hanzomon Hell because it’s no quick trip even though the signs would lead you to believe otherwise. So, we’re just warning you: be prepared to walk. A lot.

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Walking from Tokyo Station to the Hanzomon Line in Otemachi underground – aka Hanzomon Hell.

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Ootemori

Conclusion

Tokyo Station/Marunouchi is one of the most spectacular areas of Tokyo and is not to be missed at any cost. If you want to see just one area of Tokyo, this is it. It’s huge, elegant, spotless, awe-inspiring, and astonishing. It’s an experience you’re not likely to forget in your lifetime. A must-see.

In Part 2, we’ll cover the eastern, more lively, Yaesu side of the station.

Additional Photos

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Another view of the KITTE building from the north.

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To the northwest side of the plaza there are several large multi-use/shopping centers. Very upscale.

tourist info office
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The JR luggage forwarding/pickup office just inside the northwest entrance. You can have your luggage forwarded from airports/hotels for a fee and pick it up here. And vice-versa when leaving. The tourist info office is on the opposite side behind the camera. There are other luggage services around the station such as Sagawa Express.

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Inside the newly rennovated northwest entrance. The main gate entrance is on the right, and the Yaesu side passage is ahead.

One of the shinkansen entrances.

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The vastness around Marunouchi that is corporate Japan.

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There are plenty of interesting things to see and do around Otemachi just a few blocks from Tokyo Station as well.

There are several street-level area maps such as this one in various places outside the station.

LINKS

Tokyo Station – Wikipedia

Tokyo Station Map

Tokyo Station City

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi7bZHckQlThRDOBLd1mfGQ/videos

Tokyo Station Shopping Guide

Complete Guide to Tokyo Station – LIVE JAPAN

Tokyo Station Area Guide

Discover Tokyo Station and our station map- Your Japan Rail Pass

The Prime Info Spot for your Sightseeing Needs: “Tokyo City i” Tourist Information Center

Narita – Tokyo: choosing your itinerary | Japan Rail Pass

JR Yamanote Line: Tokyo Station to Tamachi | Japan Rail Pass

https://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-city-guides/japan-stations/tokyo-station

A day out at Tokyo Station – WAttention.com

https://trulytokyo.com/daimaru-department-store/

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/623/index.html

https://trulytokyo.com/daimaru-department-store/

KITTE | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

KITTE Marunouchi

https://marunouchi.jp-kitte.jp/gb/information.jsp

Tokyo Station Hotel

23 of the most popular souvenirs

https://www.tokyoeki-1bangai.co.jp/en/

All hotels in Tokyo

TOKYO TORCH|Mitsubishi Estate Office Information

Live Tokyo Webcams

VIDS

This vid gives a gorgeous, haunting view of the station and area in 4K.

This video gives great 4K views of the malls under Tokyo Station.