Set Current Location
This Inari shrine is located in the center of Shinjuku's commercial district. Originally the Hanazono family provided their garden as a site for this shrine. Previously located near the Isetan department store, the shrine was later moved to its present site. Hanazono is unusual in that it holds an annual "festival of the fowls" (tori no ichi), which is not typically celebrated at an Inari shrine.
Shinjuku Golden Gai area, dotted with narrow roads and dilapidated buildings, is among the few areas that are still reminiscent of Tokyo's past. Unlike the much of Tokyo that was redeveloped, this area is like a time capsule that continues to exist in its original condition. Tiny and shabby bars are the reasons behind Golden Gai's tourist glory. Surprising and weird isn't it? Well, the distinctive architectural features of these bars amidst the commercialized and developed Shinjuku has engineered this reputation. Most bars accommodate five to six people at a time, and are for those who don't mind coming in contact with others every time they move. Local celebrities and artists flock to this area, giving Shinjuku Golden Gai a distinctive clientele. Snack on traditional Japanese food like the famous barbecue chicken-Yakitori and enjoy some drinks in the pricey bars. Also, be sure to catch up on a comedy show in the mini auditorium in this area.
No matter when you visit, the Shinjuku district will always be crowded. Shoppers, hipsters, and people in search of a good bar all flock here, so it's no wonder that the busiest railroad station in the world, Shinjuku Station, is located here. Don't forget to visit Japan's oldest department store, the Shinjuku Mitsukoshi Alcott as well. Even if you can't find what you're looking for, you'll have a great time searching for it.
The busiest railway station in the world, Shinjuku Station handles some four million passengers daily. Japan Railways East, Odakyu, Keio and Seibu Shinjuku are some of the private companies operating trains in and out of out of this terminal. The station is packed with bars, restaurants, a couple of department stores, and kiosks selling everything from ties to tissues. Coin lockers are also available. The biggest thing to worry about here is the crowds, but they are generally quite orderly except on Saturday nights.
Near Shinjuku station, there are many small restaurants with nostalgic atmospheres. On weekdays, many businessmen who have finished a day's work have supper at this street. There are many kinds of restaurants along this street serving food like yakitori (barbecued chicken on a skewer), ramen, yakiniku (grilled slices of meat) and more. They are all inexpensive and delicious.
The nearby Meiji Shrine was built to honor the spirt of Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) and to commemorate his contribution to Japan's modernization. To glean a perspective on Japan's interpretation of world history, visit this museum to peruse the mural-like drawings.
Yoko Shimada, the owner of Shizen (which is a lovely amalgamation of garden, cafe and gallery) has a strong belief in art as a result of nature. Here, the connection isn't hard to make - Shizen boasts a lovely collection of bonsai in its garden, some plants no bigger than your fist. These tiny, delicate trees are unarguably works of art. Shizen also hosts exhibitions, mostly of traditional Japanese art forms, such as lacquer painting (urushi) and Japanese ceramics.
What did the Meiji Emperor wear when paying homage at the Three Shrines of the Imperial Court? What did the Empress wear on New Year's and on the Emperor's birthday? Well, the answers are all here in Japan's oldest extant concrete building. On your visit do not miss the beautiful imperial carriage. Portraits of the Emperor and Empress done by the Italian, Edoardo Chiossone in the 1890s complement the collection.