Ultimate Travelers’ Guide To Shinjuku Station

Train stations are typically one of those places you quickly make your way through so you can catch your train. With Shinjuku Station in Shinjuku, Tokyo, there’s so much to do that millions find themselves visiting and staying a while before they hop on the train. 

Shinjuku Station is a hub for a ton of commuter and tourist traffic and has only continued to grow and expand by adding more train lines since its inception in 1885.

The station is expansive to the point that it can be overwhelming, but knowing what you can expect to find within the station and where trains go can be helpful before visiting. 

Shinjuku Station Shopping

The History Of Shinjuku Station 

Before this massive station became a powerhouse for Japanese transportation, Shinjuku didn’t have many options in terms of travel.

The station’s first train line was the Akabane-Shinagawa line; the route is now a part of the larger Yamanote line. 

After some time, three more lines were added to the station – the Odakyu, the Chuo, and the Keio lines – which brought a lot of people to the station for how much simpler it made travel throughout Tokyo

While the Second World War brought much of the expansion planned for the station to a temporary halt, when development resumed, lines were added and extended, with subway lines being added in 1959.

In 2016, a lot of the development around the station was done to add more amenities such as shopping, restaurants, bars and more. 

Truss bridge of Shinjuku Mylord shopping mall at the south exit of Shinjuku Station

There has been conversation regarding making Shinjuku Station a stop for some of the Shinkansen bullet trains that run throughout Japan, but nothing has come to fruition yet. 

A Hub Of Japan Rail And Non-Japan Rail Stations 

Shinjuku Station is made up of several rail lines that travel within Tokyo, as well as lines that travel outside of Tokyo. Additionally, subway lines and buses make their way through the station.

The trains that run through the station are mainly serviced by Japan Rail, but there are also a few trains that are run outside of the Japan Rail Company network. 

Stations and platforms are located both above and below ground. There are also trains that can connect you to one of the many Shinkansen bullet trains throughout Japan, though none of them come into the station itself. 

Shinjuku Station From Above

The Yamanote Line

The Yamanote Line is the best way to get around Tokyo Prefecture. This expansive train line essentially works in a loop and helps to bring you to many of the main train stations in Tokyo.

The entire length of the route takes about one hour to ride. The line also runs for the majority of the day, making it easy to schedule excursions around when the train runs. 

Yamanote Line

Bus Terminal 

As if Shinjuku Station didn’t have enough options for travel, there is also a very large bus terminal located at the station.

The buses that stop at this terminal consist of buses that follow local routes, as well as highway buses that travel longer distances using the expressways

Shinjuku Station Bus Terminal Official Website

Shinjuku Station Amenities

If you’re planning on spending some time in the station before continuing your travels, there are lockers that you can access using coins to store your luggage or bags.

There are several clusters of lockers sprinkled throughout the station. The station also houses or leads to a variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, and so much more that you can easily spend a day or two exploring the station itself. 

JR Shinjuku Blossom Hotel 

If you want to explore everything that Shinjuku Station has to offer, there are plenty of hotels nearby, including the JR Shinjuku Blossom Hotel.

The hotel is only about a three-minute walk from the station, making it an extremely convenient place to stay. If you leave the station from the south exit, you will make it there in no time.

Shinjuku Station South Entrance

The hotel is beautiful and features a restaurant inside with some delicious authentic cuisine made with ingredients from Kyushu, known for harvesting high-quality foods. 

JR Shinjuku Blossom Hotel Official Website

Shopping Around Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station is surrounded by a plethora of shops and department stores, and some stores can be accessed directly from the station.

There are a couple of underground malls that can be accessed from the station, including Keio Mall and Odakyu Ace. There are also the Lumine 1 and 2 malls that can be accessed from the station. 

Above the Odakyu line, one of the popular train lines commonly used, there are a couple of options for shopping.

There’s the Odakyu Department store that you can find above the concourse area of the Odakyu line. You can also find Odakyu Mylord, a small but exciting shopping area that offers lots of modern fashion options.

Navigating The Station Itself

There is so much within Shinjuku Station that people who frequent the station daily can get confused and lost easily. There are multiple levels within the station, numerous businesses, and a myriad of exits to get in and out of the station.

That being said, navigating based on the four main gates – named West Gate, East Gate, South Gate, and New South Gate – can be a good place to start. 

Shinjuku Station During Rush Hour

A Snapshot Of Train Routes From Shinjuku Station 

As previously mentioned, a lot of trains run through Shinjuku Station on any given day. There are also multiple platforms within the station that service different trains. 

Some trains you might utilize during your travels that can be caught on outdoor platforms are:

  • Platforms 1-4: Several lines stop here, such as the Rinkai Line, the Tokaido line, the Kawagoe line, and the Yokosuka line. 
  • Platforms 5 and 6: The popular Narita Express line stops here, which can take you to and from the Narita Airport. There are also several limited express trains that make stops to these platforms, including but not limited to the Super View Odoriko and the Kinugawa limited express train. 
  • Platform 7 to 13: Various Chuo Line trains stop at these platforms, including one of the Rapid Chuo lines and the Chuo Line Azusa. Various trains that make up the Chuo Line travel towards various destinations. 
  • Platform 14 and 15: The Yamanote lines stop at these two platforms, with each platform servicing a Yamanote train that makes different stops in an oval around the city. 

A Snapshot Of Subway Routes From Shinjuku Station

As said, there are also subways that can be caught from this station. A few of the subways that make stops here include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Odakyu Odawara Line: This subway is operated by Odakyu Electric Railway and travels as far as Kanagawa Prefecture and close to Mount Fuji
  • Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line: These subways make stops in the underground area in close proximity to Shinjuku Station. There are three different subways on the Tokyo Metro line. 
  • Keio Line: This subway station can be found underneath the Keio department store and is not operated by Japan Rail Group. 

Shinjuku Station Official Website

JR Pass

If you’re going to rely heavily on trains during your Japan travels, a JR Pass is worth consideration. Japan Rail passes offer unlimited trips for a period of one week to three weeks.

Just keep in mind before purchasing that JR Passes aren’t valid for every single train. You can ride the Yamanote line at Shinjuku Station with this pass, as well as many of the other trains.

Virtual Tour Of Shinjuku Station

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.