5 MUST-SEE SPOTS IN SHINJUKU, KABUKICHO
RAMEN, MONSTERS, AND PENGUINS IN TOKYO’S SLEEPLESS CITY
BY SCRAP Global Team
Welcome back to another blog post introducing our recommended spots to visit in Tokyo!
Last time we covered the general area of Shinjuku and what changed after the pandemic. This time we are still in Shinjuku, but we will focus on one area that attracts and entertains tourists and residents 24/7: the sleepless district of Kabukicho.
It’s known as the entertainment district in Tokyo thanks to the seemingly endless amount of facilities hidden in its tangled streets. At night, the stores’ bright neon lights create an impressive view, perfect for those looking for that cyberpunk feeling Tokyo is known for. But even during the day, the area has lots to offer and sights to explore!
If you are planning your trip to Tokyo, make sure to include the following stops to enjoy the Kabukicho area in a unique way.
- Godzilla Head
If you look on top of the Toho building in the middle of Kabukicho you can see a giant monstrous head! It’s Godzilla watching over the city, or getting ready to destroy it. This movie star monster has become a beloved landmark in the area, making visitors walk with their heads up just to admire it. If you are really lucky you can even catch its eyes glowing red and its mouth breathing smoke! If you are not afraid to get close to the creature, you can visit it from the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku’s Godzilla Terrace. But, you can have a perfect Insta-worth picture even from the street in front of the Toho building. Inside, there is also a cinema where you can catch the latest anime movie or even American films with English audio.
Godzilla on top of the Toho Building
- Don Quijote
No matter if this is your first or the hundredth time in Japan, you cannot skip a visit to Tokyo’s most eccentric chain Don Quijote. The one in Kabukicho is hard to miss with its colorful entrance always displaying seasonal merch. What is this store selling? Everything you can imagine and more. From never-seen-before house appliances, cosplay clothes, foods from all over the world, and anime merch, Donqui (the store’s nickname) is the perfect place to spend an hour (or five!) looking at bizarre inventions that will make you say “only in Japan”. A personal favorite is the bug cage shaped like a Poké Ball. The origin of the Pokémon games was inspired by the habits of Japanese kids to catch bugs. It’s a full-circle moment!
Don Quijote entrance in Kabukicho
Do you want to experience authentic Japanese restaurants, but you are not confident about your Japanese abilities, or maybe are on the introverted side and don’t enjoy small talk? Japan has the perfect place for you! The ultra-popular ramen chain Ichiran will let you experience an authentic Ramen bowl without the need to ever speak to anyone! You can find one of the stores in the middle of Kabukicho, and the great thing about it is that you will order your meal from a vending machine outside the store, pay, and select your preference on a slip of paper that you will pass to the staff without a word! The paper has English text and will let you customize your meal by choosing the richness of the broth, the spice level, and the firmness of your noodles. You can enjoy a stress-free meal in a truly Japanese setting here!
Inside the Ichiran store in Kabukicho
- Shinjuku Prince Hotel and Seibu Shinjuku PePe shopping complex
Kabukicho is close not only to the busiest railway station in the world, Shinjuku Station but also to another one, the Seibu-Shinjuku Station. It is conveniently located inside the Shinjuku Prince Hotel and Seibu Shinjuku PePe shopping complex, an impressive building that offers several shops, luxurious restaurants, a fancy hotel, and an underground alley with endless food and shopping options. It is easy to overlook this building not knowing what’s inside, but it’s a great place to do some shopping on rainy days and sample some treats from one of the many stalls inside. On the 23rd floor, you can also find a restaurant called “Fuga”, serving Japanese dishes with a spectacular view of Shinjuku. Their lunch prices are quite affordable, and we recommend a visit if you want to have a memorable meal during your Shinjuku exploration.
Seibu Shinjuku Pepe
Shinjuku Prince Hotel
Japanese cuisine is well known all over the world, and recently foods like sushi and ramen have become increasingly popular even outside of Japan. But those are not the only options this country has to offer, and most people might be surprised by the vast number of different dishes available. One of the most popular (and delicious!) street food is takoyaki. Takoyaki are made with wheat flour-based batter typically filled with octopus, pickled ginger, and green onion. They are fried in a special pan that gives them the characteristic ball shape. After frying them, the balls are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise and then sprinkled with shavings of dried bonito. Their delicious taste and convenient price make them the perfect street food and there are many stores serving different versions of it in Japan. One of the most popular chains in Tokyo is called “Gindaco” and the Kabukicho branch is conveniently located inside the Toho Building. This dish is a must-have for your Tokyo trip, but be careful when eating it! Takoyaki are served while the inside is still extremely hot, keep that in mind when you are biting into it.
Kabukicho sure has lots to discover and it’s only going to be more attractive for tourists from now on, considering the new facilities that are being built at the moment.
If you would like to visit all the locations we mentioned in this article, but you are not sure about the itinerary, we have the perfect game for you!
“A Mystery at Magic Academy SHINJUKU” is a game that will take you to the streets of Kabukicho and look around the city for clues and to find the truth behind a mysterious disappearance.
You can purchase the English version game kit at our Kabukicho location, Tokyo Mystery Circus, and start playing immediately. There is no time limit and you can even decide to take a break and come back another day to finish the game.
The story will take you to different locations around the area. If you have never visited Shinjuku before, this is a great opportunity to explore it, or if you think you already know everything about Kabukicho, this game will make you look at it with different eyes!
You can find all the information about the game on our official website: A Mystery at Magic Academy Website
This is all for this time, and we are waiting for you in Tokyo!