Shinjuku is a city inside the city! It developed originally as an area close to the capital, Edo, slowly engulfing the surrounding areas that included red light districts (you can distinguish them from the red neon light at the beginning of the street). It grew especially after the 1923 earthquake that devastated the city, as many people moved to this area which had been less destroyed. The area continued to developed after the Tokyo Olympics of 1964, when many of its skyscrapers began being built. Here you will find offices, shops, parks, entertainment, and nightlife!
The Shinjuku station has set the Guinness world record for the greatest number of people that take a train each day (about 3.640.000 people). Even though it might seem fun, avoid taking the train during rush hours as you can’t imagine how squished you will be!
East of the station is Kabuki-cho, area known for being “sinful” (according to a western
perspective, but it’s not considered such in Japan), where you can find alchol, food, cinema, pachinko, game rooms and sex. Inside some of these places you might face some weird perversions who wouldn’t expect to find elsewhere, and lots of alcohol known as mizu shobai (water commerce, where water means alcohol). Find a traditional izakaya to drink some affordable sakè, it can be compared to what a pub is for Britain). In the eastern area you can also find the Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, that originally was a royal private garden, but was then opened to the public and is currently one of the largest and most beautiful in the city.
West of the station is a very different atmosphere, with all the skyscrapers and office buildings. Don’t miss out on the amazing Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building built by architect Kenzo Tange in 1991, the observation decks from the top floors are the twin towers will stun you overlooking Mt.Fuji.
South of the station you can find Takashimaya Times Square, a lovely shopping area, with wonderful stores, restaurants, bars, IMAX, and more!
One of the most famous touristic attractions in Shinjuku is the Robot Restaurant. I have to admit that 8000 yen was a little too expensive, but the experience is incredibly fun! I think this is the most kitsch show (or thing) I’ve ever seen in my life! But I can assure you that you won’t find anything similar anywhere else in the world. The show consists of robots, animals, people and unexpected creatures that fight each other, good characters trying to defeat the bad (basically Sailor Moon’s weirdest creatures come to life)!