BY SCRAP Global Team

Japan is finally open! 

In response to the ongoing pandemic, Japan was strictly controlling tourists’ access and it was extremely difficult to freely visit the country.

But now, the wait is over. Japan lifted its restrictions and is allowing tourists back into the country starting from October 2022.

The last couple of years brought a lot of interesting changes in Japan, and even the most navigated traveler might be surprised by some of the things that have become the new normal in Japan. 

Living here, we could witness this transformation process from the front row. We think it would be interesting to share with our readers what one can expect from the city of Tokyo in 2022 and, of course, what are the latest experiences for escape room enthusiasts to enjoy.

Follow our blog for a series of articles where you can find out what changed, what is not there anymore, and what stayed the same in this ever-evolving city. 

In this post, we will focus on one of the busiest areas of Tokyo, Shinjuku, home of the world’s busiest railway station.
Here, hustling businessmen and flashy entertainers walk side by side on the city’s tangled streets. 

Shinjuku is a great location for tourists. It’s full of restaurants that can fit any budget, plenty of nightlife, a gorgeous park (Shinjuku Gyoen), and lots of game centers. It’s impossible to run out of things to do here.

We will list some of the most iconic Shinjuku attractions and share their latest updates:

  • Robot Restaurant
    If you were used to Shinjuku pre-2019, it might be surprising to know that the iconic Robot Restaurant took a break in 2020, its big (and loud!) billboard screen was taken down and the future of this particular establishment was uncertain. Despite being one of the most recommended activities in Shinjuku by many travel websites even now, it is still currently closed and it’s not possible to see the show. But if this place was on your Tokyo bucket list, you have good reasons to be optimistic: even if it’s not officially announced yet, the billboard is back and it looks like the venue is getting ready to welcome clients again.

Robot Restaurant Billboard

    One of the most iconic landmarks in Shinjuku, until recently, was the large screen on top of the Labi Shinjuku Higashiguchi building located near the east exit of the Shinjuku station. Immortalized in many anime scenes and in manga panels, it became one of the most recognizable spots in Shinjuku. It is used as a commercial space but it’s also a popular location to enjoy the latest music trends, idols’ performances, and catchy anime themes. Luckily this popular screen is still active, and it is lighting Shinjuku’s bustling streets, but the iconic electronics store Labi which was inside the building, has unfortunately closed, leaving its spot to a sportswear shop.


  • Shinjuku 3D Cat
    Since 2021, Yunika vision has a fierce competitor for the title of best advertising screen in Shinjuku. And it’s one that is hard to beat, since it features a giant 3D cat. This high-tech billboard is attached to the Cross Shinjuku Vision building, located across from Shinjuku Station’s east exit. The curved LED screen creates a 3D depth illusion and who would be better as its main star than a cute calico cat? Videos of the cat sound asleep or cheerfully greeting passersby instantly went viral, and the screen has quickly become one of Shinjuku’s most popular spots. Be sure to check out the official Twitter to have the up-to-date performance schedule. Shinjuku Station itself underwent a series of updates aiming to make it more accessible and easier to navigate. You might be surprised by the modern look of the JR gates area!

Shinjuku’s 3D Cat

Shinjuku Station JR East Gate Area

  • Kabukicho Gate & Godzilla Road
    Also called the “Sleepless City”, Kabukicho is one of the most recognizable areas in Shinjuku. Famous for its busy nightlife and endless entertainment, this district is a must-see for tourists. It is easy to understand that you are stepping into Kabukicho thanks to the iconic red gate that marks the entrance to the area. This classical sight is still there, welcoming whoever wants to explore what the area has to offer. But for those looking for modernity and a fresh look, a new gate has appeared in recent times. This futuristic-looking portal can be found on what is called “Godzilla Road”, a wide pedestrian street that leads directly under the famous Godzilla head on top of the TOHO Cinema building, another sight not to be missed.

Kabukicho Gate

Godzilla Road

  • Kabukicho Tower
    Kabukicho Tower is the newest addition to the Shinjuku skyline. With its 225 meters, it’s impossible to miss this massive new building. It is going to be Japan’s largest hotel and entertainment complex tower. The construction is still ongoing and the facility is scheduled to be open to the public starting April 2023.
    Located inside the Kabukicho area, this building is aiming to become the new hot spot for tourists in Shinjuku. It will have 2 hotels, a food court, a theater, a live concert area, a movie theater, a wellness center, an entertainment area, and more, all in one place. Most people will remember its location due to the popular VR Zone that used to be there, but that facility closed permanently in 2019.

Kabukicho Tower

  • Tokyo Mystery Circus
    Shinjuku is an eclectic city, with always something new to explore, and that is exactly why we at SCRAP decided to build our biggest venue here. Its name is Tokyo Mystery Circus and spans 6 floors, each jam-packed with exciting games and activities. We wanted to create a space where people could experience Real Escape Games in many different formats: from mini 10 minutes rooms to big hall-type events, the fun continues outside of the rooms with treasure hunts around the venue, merchandise, mystery food, bookshops, and more. There are more than 20 activities to do here every day!

Located right in front of the new Kabukicho Tower, this mini “theme park of mystery” is the biggest building dedicated to escape games in Japan! Perfect for escaping Tokyo’s many rainy days or taking a break from the city, Tokyo Mystery Circus is truly a unique place to visit. Be sure to keep your eyes open, because here everything can become a clue! And for tourists that want to experience what a Real Escape Game is but are not confident with their Japanese abilities, there is nothing to worry about: since its opening in 2017, Tokyo Mystery Circus has always hosted English games as well. If you are lucky, you might even spot Tokyo Mystery Circus’s own mascot: the beloved Kumakey! Kumakey is a green bear with a keyhole on his nose and he is the leader of the venue. To know more about this unique place, visit the Tokyo Mystery Circus website.

Tokyo Mystery Circus Main Entrance and Kumakey

In recent times, Shinjuku has morphed rapidly and we hope that tourists can feel the excitement of new adventures and hidden mysteries in this city, and fall in love with it all over again. 

Stay tuned for next month’s post which will showcase more recommendations around this area and will highlight some hidden spots worth adding to your bookmarks.

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