If a city the size and sprawl of Tokyo has a city center, then it’s probably Shinjuku. From narrow alleys crammed with tiny izakayas to massive multi-story shopping malls, Shinjuku is Tokyo’s shopping and entertainment capital. The very definition of the city that never sleeps, in Shinjuku, you’ll find an almost endless array of malls, department stores, cafes, izakayas, restaurants, karaoke bars, nightclubs, and a whole lot more.

At the center of Shinjuku is Shinjuku Station, essentially the beating heart of Tokyo. As the world’s busiest train station, over two million passengers pass through Shinjuku Station daily. Surrounding Shinjuku Station in all directions is a host of very different areas, each with its own distinct identities and appeal. If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Shinjuku, you’re certainly spoiled for choice.

What kind of area is Shinjuku?

Located on Tokyo’s western side, Shinjuku has excellent access to all major sightseeing areas in the city and beyond. (Image: PIXTA)

Shinjuku is a surprisingly diverse area that’s dominated by Shinjuku Station. Twelve train and Metro lines pass through Shinjuku Station, connecting the city’s center with the rest of Tokyo and even to popular day trip destinations such as Hakone and Kawagoe. In reality, Shinjuku Station is much more than just a train station. Numerous shopping arcades, department stores, and food courts are either part of the station or connected via a network of underground passageways.

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The Shinjuku Station area. (Photo: PIXTA)

Outside the station, Shinjuku is piled high with skyscrapers, shopping malls, and megastores. To the east of the station are some of Tokyo’s best shopping streets, home to numerous department stores and major flagship shops.

Nearby is Kabukicho, the neon-lit nightlife district that loves to party, and Golden Gai, a warren of tiny streets crammed with pubs and bars that stay open till morning. Just on the other side of the train tracks is Omoide Yokocho, a collection of historic alleyways lined with tiny bars serving yakitori and other grilled foods.

Alongside the skyscrapers of Tochome to the west of Shinjuku Station, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Also here are some of the most luxurious and expensive hotels in Tokyo. To the south of Shinjuku Station is Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a beautiful and diverse green oasis in the middle of one of the most built-up areas of Tokyo.

How to decide where to stay in Shinjuku

The Kabukicho neighborhood of Shinjuku comes alive in the evening. (Photo: PIXTA)

With so much going on in and around Shinjuku there are some things to consider when booking accommodation in the area. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when deciding where to stay in Shinjuku.

Proximity to sights and type of experience

As mentio…

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