If you’re looking to stay in Akasaka and don’t mind spending a few bucks, check it out. It’s an extremely nice + comfortable hotel in the $50-$100/night range. But the amenities + location can’t be beat.
The best thing, other than the quality, is the fact that it’s located right on one of Aksaka’s best + most popular nightlife streets: Peach St. Step out the front door and a dazzling array of things to do is at your feet.
Peach St. at night.
Across from Peach St. facing west. The hotel is just down a block to the right.
There is also a huge FamilyMart right on the corner.
The best Metro station to use in the area is Akasaka-mitsuke Station/G05/M13 just a stone’s throw and one street over. The station is just to the northeast around 35°40’34.02″ N 139°44’16.60″ E. From there is just a 2 block-walk to the hotel. You can also easily get to many other Tokyo destinations from the station on the Ginza + Marunouchi Lines.
There is also an exit in the .belleVie shopping complex where the Bic Camera is:
“The statement suggests that many of the specifics remain to be decided, except that the new constructions will become “flagship buildings of Mitsubishi Estate that will lead the restructuring of the area.”
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.
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.
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.
View of Shinjuku from the outdoor platform. The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Toweris on the left, and Odakyu (see below) is the orange building in the center. Ikebukuro is a few stops to the north from here.
Info map at the station on a platform.
From Shinjuku you can take your pick of 2 more interesting areas in either direction: Ikebukuro to the north, or Shibuya to the south.
Madness at a station platform.
At the north entrance of the station around 35°41’31.78″ N 139°42’03.26″ Eis 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heading in to the east-side Odakyu complex (right). The northern Odakyu/HALC annex is shown here on the left. This photo faces north.
Standing on the northern Odakyu/HALC annex pedestrian overpass facing east. The huge UNIQLO is on the right.
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 eastMeiji-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jammed in between the MyLord + Keio Dept. Store bldgs. is the excellent Mosaic Street. Definitely worth a stop. We have a full post on it here.
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.
Just south of TTS is the NTT DoCoMo “Bubble Building” HQ. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kinokuniya Entreé conbini near the Saikyo Line in the station.
HOKUO the Garden also in the station.
Watch them carbs.
Shake Shack @ Southern Terrace.
Soup Stock Tokyo.
American Bar + Grill, TGI Friday’s jammed down some side street.
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.
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.
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend. You live, you learn. The NTT “Bubble Building” towers in the distance at dusk.
A typical exit info sign in Shinjuku Station.
Inside the Odakyu complex heading down into the station below.
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.
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.
Stumbling around Shinjuku’s streets in the dark, every once in a while the perfect photo opportunity hits you smack in the face.
Or if you prefer – the B+W version.
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.
Shibuya is known as a fashion + nightlife area among the young in Tokyo. One of the most dazzling + vibrant areas in Tokyo, Shibuya is full of life. There are an endless variety of things to do here. The area is surprisingly compact and can easily be walked in a day or night, but not in only 1 day if you want to enjoy everything it has to offer.
The main rail transit point is Shibuya Station – which intersects several major rail lines and 3 Tokyo Metro Subway Lines: The Ginza, Hanzomon, and Fukutoshin Lines. In fact, it’s the western terminus for the Ginza and Hanzomon lines, and the eastern terminus for the Fukutoshin line. The station is being vastly remodeled as part of Neo-Shibuya – a complete redevelopment of the entire area not expected to be completed until 2027. Redevelopment is well underway and several new large complexes are already complete, which we will discuss below.
Shibuya Station extends 3 floors below ground as well with a huge shopping mall and restuarants inside as well. There is also a large east-west passage underground known as Shibuya Chikamichi.
There are 1/2 a dozen exits from the station, but the most popular exit is the Hachiko Square exit on the west side as it leads directly to Shibuya Crossing.
There is also another station underground a few blocks to the west around 35°39’29.78″ N 139°41’56.37″ E called KEIO Shibuya Station on the Keio Inogashira Line. KEIO is a big depato (department store) chain in Japan and they often locate rail stations near their stores.
Shibuya is just south of Harajuku/Omotesando just to the north. In fact, you can walk there in just a few minutes from Harajuku Station by taking the street south from YoyogiNational Gymnasium next to Harajuku Station. The street brings you right into the central Shibuya Crossing – one of the most iconic and filmed city locations in Tokyo.
Oddly, the word Harajuku means “Original lodgings“, whereas Shinjuku just to the north means “New Lodgings“. The etymology of both words is unclear, but undoubtedly are related to the Edo Period when the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Edo (present-day Tokyo).
Facing north. Shibuya Crossing is in the top center, Shibuya 109 just to the left of that up the street, and Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the large skyscrapers off to the right. If you follow the central north street from the Crossing, you will arrive at the next town to the north – Harajuku. Shibuya Mark City is the tall complex on the center left which includes a very nice deluxe hotel.The hidden backstreets are just up the small street to the left next to the building in the upper center in this photo.
Another view of Shibuya Crossing – this time from the northwest facing southeast. The crossing is in the middle center. Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the two large skyscrapers in the top center. (Hikarie or Hikari means “light” in Japanese). If you head left (east) down the main street, you will come to the more business-oriented side of Shibuya, which also has some nice restuarants + shops on the street level worth checking out.
4 Main Avenues
There are 4 main avenues around the center of Shibuya: 1) the east-west street with the business area on the east side and Shibuya 109 on the west side, 2) the north-south street running from the central Crossing up to Harajuku, 3) the area south of the station, and 4) the hidden north backstreets to the northwest of the square.
You can spend hours exploring each so it’s best to plan to spend an entire day + an entire night in the area if possible. If you really want to see everything in-depth, plan on 2 days.
Just to the west of the JR station exit is the world-famous Hachiko Square area. A small courtyard just outside the station, it’s a popular meeting spot for young people. The square is named after the dog Hachiko who famously waited for his late master every day at the station for 9 years. The square is the gateway to central Shibuya and Shibuya Crossing is just to the north of it.
Facing east at Shibuya Crossing. The JR Shibuya Station entrance is right next to Hachiko Square shown on the right.Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuyaare the 2 large skyscrapers shown on the right.
Facing south at Shibuya Crossing. The JR Shibuya Station entrance is right next to Hachiko Square shown on the left.This entire section including the station is slated for a mega-renovation to be completed by 2027. The redevelopment will change the face of Shibuya forever.
Shibuya Crossing, facing north. Shibuya 109 is down the street to the left. Hachiko Square is behind the camera. The small sidestreet in the center of the photo leads to an endless array of backstreets as well as to the Sakura Currency Exchange (explained below).Heading north from the TSUTAYA on the right leads to Harajuku.Described later are backstreets, some of which are reachable by following the small entrance under the Forever 21 sign straight ahead.
Another view of Shibuya Crossing facing south. Hachiko Square is straight ahead. Shibuya Scramble Square is the tall skyscraper on the left. As of 2021 the white Tokyu bldg. ahead is slated to be torn down for Shibuya’s redevelopment.
Southwest corner at the Crossing. The street to the right (west) is full of interesting shops, cafés, and restaurants.Shibuya 109 is also to the right.Down at the end of this street is the very nice + afforable APA Hotel Shibuya.The tall bldg. in the back is the Shibuya Mark City Hotel.The bldg. shown here is a “food tower” or food palace – a throwback to 1950’s-style dining. These buildings are all over Tokyo and offer all sorts of different culinary experiences.The L’Occitane Café on the first 3 floors is an upscale experience.
Around 35°39’27.42″ N 139°42’09.26″ E there are 2 huge new skyscraper developments in Shibuya: Shibuya Scramble Square (SSS) + Hikarie Shibuya. Hikarie Shibuya is on the east, which opened in 2012 and which has a big office tower, a shopping mall, a mezzanine level, a museum, and lots of restaurants. In its basement are routes into the new Shibuya Station including the Ginza Metro line. There are some vids we shot below looking down on Shibuya from the Mezzanine Level. This place is a must-see even if it’s just to walk around.
Also as part of the Neo-Shibuya development, just across the street to the west is the brand new Shibuya Scramble Square complex which opened in Nov. 2019. It also has a mall, restaurants, offices, and lots of shops + passages into the subways. But its most interesting + dazzling feature is a rooftop observatory described next. There is also a floor guide on their website.
On the top of SSS is a huge open-air rooftop observatory, Shibuya Sky. It’s not to be missed for anything. Only a glass wall separates you and a 360-degree view of all of Tokyo. A spectacular must-see. Adult tickets are a little spendy @ around $18/person, but it’s well worth it for an experience you’ll never forget.
Shibuya Mark City is a large mall + hotel just to the west of Shibuya Station. There are loads of great restaurants + cafés inside. It’s just across the street from Hachiko Square so be sure to check it out. There are also a bunch of interesting side streets around the complex worth exploring as well.
Just up the street to the west of Hachiko Square is a complex called Shibuya 109. It’s mostly just shops + restaurants, but it’s worth a look. At the corner of Shibuya 109 the street splits in two – you can head north (right) into some more shopping, the MEGA Don Quijote (see below), and eventually pass the Hotel koé Tokyo – which is a little spendy, but very nice if you plan to stay in the area.
Alternatively you can head up the street on the left (west) side of the corner, which in our opinion is more interesting. At the end of this street is APA Hotel Shibuya which is a really good value. There are also a lot of really good cafés including Café Legatoon this street. The area is tree-lined and makes for a very enjoyable walk up and back. Definitely a must-see.
No trip to Japan would be complete without an electronics store stop and Shibuya doesn’t disappoint. Just to the west of the L’Occitane Café mentioned above is Shibuya’s large Bic Camera – one of the biggest electronics shops in Tokyo. There is also a smaller Bic Camera Annex 2 blocks to the east around 35°39’35.03″ N 139°42’07.47″ E (on the corner just before the turn north to Shibuya Miyashita Park mentioned below).
Bic CameraAnnex is just out of frame to the right 2 blocks to the east of the Crossing. This photo is facing back west towards the Crossing. The tall tower in the distance is Shibuya Mark City Hotel.Shibuya Station is ahead on the left.There’s a video of this scene at the end of the page.
If you head a few blocks north of Shibuya 109 up the street to the right side, you’ll come to another huge Tokyu Depato (department store) around 35°39’39.30″ N 139°41’48.70″ E. Shibuya 109 is actually owned by Tokyu also. The name “109” is actually a Japanese play on words because To-kyu sounds a bit like the Japanese numbers for ten and nine.There is also a huge H+M mall on the right just before it.There are all kinds of fascinating tiny backstreets and alleys around the area. You can spend hours exploring.
Internet Cafés + Shibuya Maruyamacho
Along this route you’ll also pass the INET internet café + Karaoké lounge. If you’re looking for a really dirt cheap place to stay in Shibuya, INET might work, but be prepared for cigarette smoke, noise, and lots of other people – the place offers a small cubicle with a bed, chair, tiny desk, and PC for around $24/night. But if you’re in need of a really cheap place, or need a quick place to crash, INET might work. Shibuya has many such internet cafés – search the web for the best picks.
Also, just to the north (left) of INET there’s a very interesting side street called Shibuya Maruyamacho worth checking out (see vid below).
Also on this street a little further west is the very nice Café Legato hidden away on the 3rd floor of this bldg. on the left:
Also in the vicinity is this very large 2-story Excelsior Café.
Looking back east towards the Crossing from the steps of Shibuya 109. There is plenty to see + do on this street too.Just up the street behind the camera is Shibuya’s MEGA Don Quijote discount store.There is another small food palace and Big Echo Karaoké place in the building on the left.
1 block to the northeast of the Crossing is the newly-opened Shibuya Miyashita Park. It’s a very nice multi-level food, shopping, and entertainment complex. The roof has a volleyball court + other stuff to do. Definitely check it out. To get there head east from the Crossing for 2 blocks, then turn left (north) and it will be on your left.
There are endless backstreets to explore in Shibuya. The most interesting are behind the Q-Front bldg. with the TSUTAYA in it shown above center-right. Head up the small street just to the left of the bldg., then head north, west, or down any other side street. There is an entire web of interesting streets in this are as shown below:
In Dec-Jan, Shibuya has dozens of spectacular winter illuminations all over the city. The most impressive one is just north of Shibuya Crossing in a small park just to the south of Yoyogi National Gymnasium. If you’re there in the winter, check them out – it’s well worth it.
A few blocks to the south of the Crossing around 35°39’19.44″ N 139°41’59.49″ E is the Shibuya Cultural Center + Planetarium – which has a number of traditional arts plus a very nice large planetarium. Definitely worth checking out.
There are lots of great hotels in Shibuya, some of them quite reasonable. It’s best to go during off-peak season for the best rates – try to avoid spring as that is when the demand is highest. We recommend checking out agoda.com for hotel/travel searches.
If you’re looking for an upscale hotel, there is the Shibuya Mark City mentioned above, and around 35°39’22.11″ N 139°41’58.31″ E there is the huge Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel which runs around $200/night. The APA Hotel Shibuya mentioned above is a much more affordable and is also very nice. There is also the very nice sequence MIYASHITA PARK for around $100/night.
If you’re willing to head about 1/2 mile south of the Crossing, there is also the very popular MUSTARD HOTEL which has slightly more reasonable rates.
Food options in Shibuya are endless. Restuarants, noodle shops, cafés, and specialty shops are everywhere. There is something to fit every taste and budget. From deluxe restaurants on the upper floors of hotels and skycrapers to hole-in-the-wall noodle shops there is something for everyone.
Shibuya Mark City has a huge restaurant court on its upper floors. To get there, head into the east side entrance to the west of Hachiko Square, then take the escalator up. There are dozens of restaurants everywhere. Shibuya 109 and Shibuya Scramble Square + Hikarie Shibuya also have lots of great restaurants. See their websites for floor guides with detailed lists of places to eat.
Also just around the same area at 35°39’46.02″ N 139°42’09.03″ E is a small courtyard called Shibuyacast. This place often holds outdoor gatherings at night with lots of outdoor food stalls and vendors. There are also shops and a small microbrewery called Brewdog. Worth a look:
Tower Records Café
Around 35°39’42.97″ N 139°42’03.22″ E there is a Tower Reccords store (a CD chain that went out of business in the US long ago), and it has a surprisingly good café on the upper floors.
The Café Legato mentioned above is also quite good and has a a full restaurant.
If you venture into the east side of Shibuya, there are several major streets lined with great places to eat.
“Cohee” is the Japanese word for coffee. If you head up the east side street north like you’re going to Harajuku, you’ll come to a big MODI shopping complex. Inside is a great café called Sarutahiko Cohee. If you’re a coffee lover, it’s a must-see.
If you’re in the mood for a quick fast food burger, check out MOS Burger Shibuya around 35°39’32.45″ N 139°41’52.03″ E. It’s just west of the UNIQLO store on the street heading up west from Shibuya 109:
Around 35°40’23.71″ N 139°42’45.76″ E is a really nice restaurant called DEN Shibuya. Check it out – it’s really nice.
Sakura –The Hidden Currency Exchange
Watch for this elevator on the street on the left.
If you head north through the Crossing and go up the backstreet just to the left of the TSUTAYA record shop, in a few blocks around 35°39’36.75″ N 139°41’56.48″ E you’ll come to a tiny elevator right on the street which leads to the Sakura Currency Exchange on the 4th floor. Rates at this exchange are much better than at airports or banks in Japan. You’ll need to show your passport and they will scan it in order to make the transaction. Fees here are low so it’s worth a stop if you need to exchange money.
On the way north to Sakura Exchange, which is just on the left after the Wendy’s.
Shibuya E-Space Tower
If you continue up the street to the west from the Crossing, around 35°39’26.58″ N 139°41’44.64″ E you’ll come to a building called Shibuya E-Space Tower. This building has some nice restaurants on the top floors, but it also has a nice glass elevator which faces the street. You can get spectacular views of Shibuya from the elevator on the way to the top. It also happens to have one of the coolest Kobans (police boxes) in all of Tokyo:
View from the E-Space Tower elevator.
Also nearby is the one-of-a-kind World Liquor System.Who says the Japanese don’t have a sense of humor?
Meguro Sky Garden
If you’re up for walking about a mile southwest of Shibuya, there is the spectacular Meguro Sky Garden – a huge lush garden built on top of a round freeway interchange. You can sit in the garden and relax + watch the clouds go by or enjoy the immaculately groomed landscape. There is also a subway station nearby so check the routes + maps. It’s well worth a quick visit if you have the time.
Well, that’s it. Shibuya is a vibrant + exciting area of Tokyo and you don’t want to miss it. You can easily spend a few days here so if you want to see it in-depth, stay at one of the good reasonable hotels in the area and spend a couple of days here. It’s worth the time.
On the JR Yamanote platform at Shibuya Station.
Inside a JR Yamanote Line car.
This walkway to the south of Shibuya Mark City leads towards the west of Shibuya Crossing and to Shibuya 109. Just on the left is an excellent hamburger joint.
You can actually eat quite cheap+ healthy in Tokyo by utilizing Don Quijote specials such as these. Great meals for a few dollars.In this case only about $2 USD. The grocery areas are usually hidden away in the basements of most Don Quijotes.
Another view of Hikarie Shibuya, facing east. The walkway heads west into Shibuya Scramble Square across the street.The station is to the left, although you can also get to it from inside in the basement.
The vastness that is Tokyo.
More photos from Shibuya Sky:
View looking north into Shinjuku from Shibuya Sky.
NEO-Shibuya Station under construction east of the old station.
Another platform in Shibuya Station under renovation in 2020.
A foreigner-friendly pub hidden away on the backstreets.
Shibuya Scramble Crossing Live Camera shows a cool 24/7 view of the Crossing.
Ground-level view of the Crossing facing north. Take the street ahead to get to Harajuku.
Hachiko Square is just across the street to the east.
There are 2 Bic Cameras in Shibuya – one just to the west of the Crossing, and the one shown here 1 block to the east on the northwest corner.
A birdseye view of Neo-Shibuya from Hikarie Shibuya to the east. This vid also shows the major redevelopment area south of the station as well as the Crossing at night.
View from the east side of Shibuya looking back towards the Crossing.There’s plenty to see + do on this street as well.Be prepared to walk for hours.
Down an east-side street. Wait for the roar of the train as it rushes by in a flash.
A few blocks up the street to the west of the Crossing. There are all kinds of great restaurants + cafés on this street. APA Hotel Shibuya is just at the end of the street to the west (behind the camera).
Sun Road is another hotel in Shibuya.
Inside the busy Starbucks just at the north end of the Crossing. On the 1st floor is a very nice TATSUYA record shop. The view from the window here of the Crossing is spectacular.
This vid starts 1 block west of the Crossing. The Bic Camera ANNEX is straight ahead in this thumbnail. Turn right here for Shibuya Miyashita Park.
Check out this very cool History of Shibuya Station.
Ikebukuro is a hip, quirky hang out spot in central western Tokyo. Smaller than Shibuya or Shinjuku, it’s often overlooked by tourists. Ikebukuro has a fun small-town vibe, yet still feels cosmopolitain enough to be exciting. There is more than plenty to do. In fact, you could spend a few days in Ikebukuro and barely scratch the surface. Around every corner + down every side street is something surprising + interesting. The fact that it’s not overcrowded the way other major areas of Tokyo are only adds to it charm.
The main station is located in the 1st floor + basement of the PARCO depato (department store) in the main station. The Metro lines also exit this station. Just to the south in the SEIBU depato is the Seibu Ikebukuro Line Station. All of them are centrally located in Ikebukuro and are very convenient. There are also several street-level station portals on sidewalks all over the town as shown here:
One of many street-level station entrances.
On the JR Ikebukuro platform, you can purchase a Suica IC card for fares from these machines.
Ikebukuro is centrally arranged with an east, west, north, and south side. The stations are on the main thoroughfare running north-south through the town. The station in the photo above is in the center, the main street is just to the right running north-south, West Gate Park is to the left, center. At the very top center is a huge waste recycling plant with its telltale tall cracking tower.To the east are a dizzying array of side streets with endless shops + restaurants. Just to the east of that out of frame is the Sunshine City complex and 2 Ikebukuro parks (Minami-Ikebukuro Park).
View from the WTC building in west Tokyo facing west: Ikebukuro is the small city in the distance on the right, Shinjuku several miles to the south is on the left in the distance.Just behind Shinjuku, barely visible on the left is Mt. Fuji.
The town is roughly divided into east, west, and north ends. The south end holds a few interesting spots, but as soon as you leave the main area east of the station, it’s mostly residential. You can get from the east side to the west and vice versa by passing directly through the center of JR Ikebukuro Station.
West Gate Park
At the West Gate Exit is a popular meeting spot called West Gate Park. The area was also the title of a popular dorama (drama) TV series in Japan. Also in West Gate Park just to the north of the west gate is a JR Tourist Information Office – which has English-speaking staff. You can also reserve bus tours in the office.
West Gate Park is a large area to the west of the station. There are all sorts of restaurants, cafés, shops, and other attractions. About a block further east are a Bic Camera annex and a block beyond that a OIOI (pronounced Marui) depato. In the OIOI is a very nice Seria 100¥ shop.
Just to the south of West Gate Park is a new outdoor performing art center called Global Ring. It was finished in 2020. There is also a café here. Further south is the Metropolitain Theater. 1 block south of that is a very nice MOS Burger.
Also in West Gate Park is a street entrance to the oddly named underground shopping mall Hope Center.
To the north of West Gate Park are endless backstreets. If you head northeast in this direction, you come to a small tunnel north of the station which heads to the east side of the town.
Also on the west side, a few blocks north of the OIOI is the world-famous Sakura Hostel – which although spartan is known for its dirt cheap prices, and fairly clean atmosphere. If you want to stay cheap in Ikebukuro, this is your spot. Sakura Hostel is also known for its huge outdoor seating area for guests. You don’t get much in the way of ammenities – most beds are mere bunks in shared rooms, but for the incredibly cheap price, it’s worth it.
Ikebukuro is also home to some of the largest electronics shops in Tokyo – including Bic Camera, Yamada Denki, and Sofmap.
Just south of West Gate Park is a shopping area called Esola. Check out the Coffee RoastersLaboratory on the ground floor. There’s also another Metro entrance here. Just beyond Esola is the LUMINE complex and MOS Burger.
Here are a few photos from the west side:
Ikebukuro West Gate Park. The JR East Travel Service Center is straight ahead.
JR East Travel Service Center
Just south of West Gate Park facing north. Turn left at the next street for OIOI City and the Sakura Hostel.Flip 45 degrees left from this image and you will see Global Ring on your left:
Facing west, the Metropolitan Theater is the bldg. with the sloped roof straight ahead.The 2nd Bic Camera Annex is the bldg. on the far right.Global Ring is on the far left.Global Ring was built on the real former Ikebukuro West Gate Park – an area which previously had a large fountain. Now the entire area has been replaced by Global Ring.
Facing southeast from the Global Ring area. The Esola complex is straight ahead.The MOS Burger is 2 blocks to the right.
Just beyond Global Ring is the Esola complex (left) and LUMINE (right). LUMINE + TOBU complexes have excellent food courts on their top floors. Don’t miss ’em.LUMINE was formerly called Metropolitain Plaza.
Inside the station.
On the JR Saikyo Line platform behind the PARCO depato.
OIOI City west of the station facing west. Turn right here for the Sakua Hostel.
The west Bic Camera Annex a block east of OIOI City.
East Side – Endless Shopping + Restaurants + Sunshine City
The east side of the station is considerably more interesting. Not only is there a main street which runs north to south which has a myriad of shops, cafés, and resturants on it, but there’s an entire area east of that that is really interesting (Sunshine60 Street).
There’s PARCO + SEIBU depatos, and Bic Camera and other denki (electronics) shops on the north end of the street, but the south end of the street also has lots of coffee shops + restaurants.
To the far east of Sunshine60 Street is a huge skyscraper and complex called Sunshine City. The area’s big attraction is Sunshine 60 – which until recently was one of the tallest skyscrapers in Japan. It has a top-floor observatory not to be missed. There is also a western Mailboxes Etc. CMRA on one of the top floors if you need to get a local mailbox or mail anything to the west.
Hidden away in the basement of Sunshine City is a vast mult-floor shopping mall. You can spend hours in here – and it’s so huge it’s easy to get lost. There is also another entrance to the mall on the east end of the major side street next to the the Tokyu Hands store.
As a historical footnote many locals believe Sunshine 60 to be haunted because after World War 2, the Japanese imperial army general Tojo was executed there. Several Japanese have committed suicide by jumping from its roof. There is also a very nice small park next to the area where you can kick back and chill. Sunshine City is around 35°43’45.15″ N 139°43’05.09″ E.
Entrance to Sunshine City Annex on Sunshine60 Street.
To get to Sunshine60 Street, head south from JR Ikebukuro Staiton, turn left (east) at 35°43’48.45″ N 139°42’46.56″ E 2 blocks down, follow the sidewalk as it winds east, then cross at the Milky Way Café and head straight. Make note of this sidewalk and the small alley off it to the left for later below
This puts you right into Sunshine60 Street – the main shopping street. As you come to the end, turn right, then left again for Sunshine City. There is also an entrance to the underground mall part of Sunshine City about a block before the final right turn. You can’t miss it – it has a huge sign on the front of the bldg. next to the Tokyu Hands depato also on the right.
Main street in east Ikebukuro. Meiji-Dori runs north-south. The JR Ikebukuro Station is up on the left.The white bldg. with the red sign on the left is Bic Camera.Just to the southeast is Yamada Denki (LABi). SEIBU + PARCO depatos are on the far left of the frame above the stations. The street to the left of Bic Camera leads to dozens of other interesting side streets on the north side of town.
A closer view of the PARCO bldg. on the east side. The JR station entrance is at the bottom of the bldg.
There’s also a Becker’s burger place just at the east exit of the station.
SEIBU Ikebukuro Station just south of the JR entrance above.
If you head down this street just across from the JR east station exit, you will discover a wealth of interesting small side streets.
Entrance to Sunshine60 Street @ the Milky Way Café, right.At the end of this street turn right for Sunshine City.
New South Ikebukuro Park
Around 35°43’41.35″ N 139°43’17.74″ E – just east of Sunshine City is brand new SouthIkebukuro Park. Completed in 2020, this stunning new park offers a huge green lawn, a café on the north end, and a large bike parking lot to the south. It’s just 1 block east of Sunshine City so if you’re in the area, check it out:
The underground bike park just to the south of SouthIkebukuro Park.
Ikebukuro Shopping Plaza (ISP)
In the basement of the station and under the east side of the streets is a small mall called Ikebukuro Shopping Plaza (ISP). There are portals to ISP in the station just before the east exit, as well as one on the sidewalk outside the station and in the middle of the crosswalk facing east. Most of ISP is underground.
About 1/2 way down the main side street to the east is another new complex called Q plaza. Well worth a stop. Lots of good cafés, and a CAPCOM store + café on the 4th floor. The sides streets all around this area are charming to explore and worth a walk. Plan on spending a whole day in the area.
There are endless food options around Ikebukuro. 2 really awesome places are Darcy’s Beer + Burger and Coffee Valley. Darcy’s has a triple-decker hamburger that is out of this world for $12. Not to be missed. We did a review of both places above. There are also no less than threeMr. Donut places around town – 2 on the West Gate Park side, and 1 older one tucked away on a backstreet on the east side. Not particularly healthy, but delicious. There are also endless ramen and yakiniku (steak) places, and of course, the aforementioned MOS Burger. There’s also a Tully’s Coffee in Q plaza as well as a nice café called Peace and Lamb.
Japan’s food courts are a throwback to 1950’s-style dining. There are some on the top floors of depatos such as TOBU + SEIBU, and there are other standalone bldgs. which are all restaurants top to bottom. There’s no lack of good dining in Ikebukuro. In particular the food court in TOBU Ikebukuro is awesome – there’s a really great Hawaiian burger place, and lots of other restuarants. PARCO also has a food court + rooftop beer garden. Of course there are endless ramen and yakiniku (steak) places everywhere. As well as fast food.
TOBU also has a basement Depachika (short for “depato basement”) – a huge food floor below ground level which is especially good. Here you can get everything from seafood, to packaged gift food, to deserts. If you’re in Ikebukuro definitely check out the food basement in TOBU.
Food court on top floor of TOBU on the west side.
Don’t worry – walking 15 miles/day sightseeing in Tokyo and you’ll burn it all off.
Pancakes – The New Tokyo Craze
A new food craze has hit Tokyo – pancake shops. They’re everywhere. In Ikebukuro there are several good ones but the 2 best are A Happy Pancake and
Around 35°43’48.11″ N 139°42’46.90″ E at the small side street mentioned above, turn left (north) into a small alley and a few stores down you’ll come to A Happy Pancake. This small underground shop has great food. Careful going down the stairs to the basement: they’re steep and there’s no handrail.
In the SEIBU depato a few blocks to the west is Rainbow Pancake – also a must-visit. Both are excellent, and worth the trip. All-in-all we would rate AHP best, but it’s up to you to decide on taste. There is also another AHP in Omotosando.
If it’s pancakes you want, Tokyo’s got ’em. Lots of ’em.
There are lots of other pancake places all over Tokyo. Get ready to eat.
Micro Food Stalls
All over Tokyo in stations + in other places you’ll see these tiny little food places everywhere. Most stations have them, and Ikebukuro Station is no different.
The Japanese love contractions and in this case “Press Butter Sand” means “Pressed Butter Sandwich”.
There are also lots of tiny micro food trucks in Tokyo – such as this crepe truck in Ikebukuro.
On the east-side backstreets is this great Italian restaurant – Palermo.
Just next to the oldest of the Mr. Donuts – on the east side – is a small concrete park with lots of food. One of the best places among them is the Saikyou Butter Coffee Shop.
On the north side the streets are a little less lively but interesting nonetheless. To the northeast just a few blocks is a small concrete park surrounded by restaurants and a large performing arts theather – Brilla Hall. This entire area is being renovated as of 2021. There are endless small side streets in the north end worth exploring. There are in fact, 2 more major north-south streets in the north area full of shops. Both entrances are around 35°43’54.13″ N 139°42’34.12″ E.
More Discount Stores: Don Quijotes + CAN ⭑ DO
Aside from Seria, there are several other discount stores in Ikebukuro. There are 2 Don Quijotes: 1 just northwest of the station, and another just east of the east exit right across the street. There is also a CAN ⭑ DO discount store just south down the street on the east side. Both Don Quijote + CAN ⭑ DO have some good cheap food selections + snacks.
The Don Quijote just to the northwest of the station.
The east-side Don Quijote across from the station is huge. The food basement is quite good.
Meiji-Dori to Itabashi
You can also walk north on Ikebukuro’s main street on the west side – Meiji-Dori a few miles north to the small town of Itabashi.
There are plenty of good hotels in Ikebukuro which won’t break the bank. We recommend checking agoda.com for rates. One of the best, of course, is the APA hotel, which is very clean + upscale but under $70/night in most cases. It is however a bit further to the northwest but can be easily walked from in a few blocks. There is the aforementioned Sakura Hostel, which is great if you’re on a budget. There is also the Hotel Metropolitan – which is upscale and very good, but much more expensive at around $130/night. There is also Sunshine City Prince Hotel.
The weird cat obsession that is gripping Japan can be found at several cat cafés all over the city, but in Ikebukuro the place for cats is Nekobukuro Cat’s House (ねこぶくろ) – a petting zoo for cats located on the eighth floor of the IkebukuroTokyu Hands store. If you’re into cats check out their site at https://nekobukuro.com/Tokyu Hands is just at the end of the east side street in the small Sunshine City building across from Victoria’s Sports around 35°43’48.45″ N 139°43’00.02″ E.
Victoria’s Sports across the street from Sunshine City.
Ikebukuro is one of Tokyo’s most exciting areas and is a thrill to visit. A must-see. There’s so much to do here plan on spending a couple of days. There are endless places to eat + things to do, yet the area is not so huge that’s it’s overwhelming like some other parts of Tokyo.
Facing north just outside the east JR station exit.
Night view from West Gate Park facing south. Global Ring is in the center.
Inside LUMINE complex.
At the north end of West Gate Park is this side street. If you turn right here, then left, you’ll find the entrance to the small tunnel which leads to the east side of the station:
Turn right at the tunnel entrance a few yards ahead to get to the east side.
As you exit the tunnel on the east side, you’ll see the PARCO building shown here. If you turn south from here, you’ll see the main larger PARCO bldg. and just beyond that, the east entrance to JR Ikebukuro Station.
Northeast side at night. Yamada Denki is the tall bldg. on the right.
An early morning West Gate Park tourist breakfast: some ham, a few croissants, a conbini (convenience store) hot dog, a BOSS Coffee and a pint of milk. Rice-fed cows’ milk in Japan tastes like a bowl of Rice Chex cereal, unlike milk in the west.Contrary to popular perception in the west, you can eat pretty cheap in Japan, although it’s not optimally healthy.
View of Shinjuku from the roof of Sunshine City. Just beyond, barely visible in the distance is the Landmark Tower in Yokohama 40 miles to the southwest.
Inside Sunshine 60’s observatory – which affords spectacular views of Tokyo in all directions.Looking out the window shown here to the right provides a great view of Tokyo Sky Tree.
An epic panorama facing west. On the far right is Ikebukuro to the north, the tallest bldg. of which is Sunshine 60, and Shinjuku on the far left to the south. If you look closely, the farthest left bldg. on the main skyline is the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building (Yoyogi is just south of Shinjuku).The large white object in the right center is Tokyo Dome to the east. You can walk to all 3 areas, but the distance from one to another is quite a hike and would take a couple of hours.
Phone map of Ikebukuro. The station is in the center.
Facing northeast. The station is out of view to the left (west). Turn right at the bottom of the photo for the main side street with shops. A Happy Pancake is just down a tiny alley next to the brown bldg. on the right side of the frame.The first Bic Camera Annex is just to the left of the alley.Yamada Denki is the large white bldg. on the far left of the frame. If you head down the side street to the right of the next bldg. you’ll find Coffee Valley. The older Mr. Donut is also down here. The small green-roofed object in the lower left corner is the entrance to the undergorund Ikebukuro Shopping Park (ISP).
The end of the side street on the east side. Head right (south) here to get to Sunshine City.
Another view of the Milky Way Café, left, facing south.Turn left here for Sunshine Cityand the main side street.Heading straight ahead to the south eventually brings you to Shinjuku.
YA view of the Milky Way Café.
Just left of the Mily Way Café facing north.
Tokyu Hands entrance just next to the Sunshine City Annex.
The ISP street entrance just east of the JR station.
Entrance to another side street in Ikebukuro which runs north-south.
Entrance to Yamada Denki, on the east side. The small yellow boxes are Gatchapon dispensers – which sell very popular small toys.
A large NAMCO arcade.
Another view of Q plaza.
Hidin’ on the backstreets.
Looking back west from the east end of the long side street. The station is straight ahead. The entrance to Tokyu Hands and Sunshine City is on the left.
If you turn left (south) at the previous photo you’ll come upon K-BOOKS book + game stores. Sunshine 60‘s main complex is down a few blocks on the left. If you head further down, across the street from Sunshine 60 on the corner, you’ll find a great cheap coin locker on the corner: