4 Must-See Places in Shinjuku, Tokyo | steppanyaki

As much as I’ve dreamt of going to Japan since I was a little girl, I know very little of the specific touristy things that can be done per area in Tokyo.

So you can just imagine how stressed I was because of the ton of researching I had to do before our trip in October/November. Thankfully, it pays off, my friends. Because if you’re traveling on a budget, knowing where to go will definitely come in handy.

I’ve listed down some places worth checking out in the Shinjuku area. Enjoy!

  1. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

The first touristy spot we went to was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It’s a skyscraper that has an observation deck at the top floor. You might hear of Sumitomo Building, where you can also get a view of the cityscape, but go here instead. It’s free!

We came a little late at night--maybe between 8 and 9 pm, so I had to photoshop this picture to minimize the glare.
We came a little late at night–maybe between 8 and 9 pm, so I had to photoshop this picture to minimize the glare.

There’s also a little shopping area on the same floor as the observation deck. Definitely souvenir-friendly finds!

ultraman tokyo metropolitan building steppanyaki
Pick your Ultraman!
super mario tokyo metropolitan building steppanyaki
Plushie friends! Do the Mario!
cat bus mononoke tokyo metropolitan building steppanyaki
The price can be a bit steep but I didn’t find any other Miyazaki specialty shops anywhere else.
Totoro magnets!
Totoro magnets!
Thought of getting my mom one of these beautiful Japanese handkerchiefs.
Thought of getting my mom one of these beautiful Japanese handkerchiefs.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Building is located at 2 Chome-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 163-8001, Japan, and is open Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 6:45 pm. Best to go before sunset, so you get the best photos, and glare-free, at that!

Walking outside, my friend Kim and I saw that there was a food truck and outdoor mini-concert happening:

Biggest regret ever not trying out the food truck stuff.
Biggest regret ever not trying out the food truck stuff.

2. Tokyu Hands in Takashimaya Mall, Shinjuku

I was so excited!
I was so excited!

On our second day in Shinjuku, we headed straight for the Tokyu Hands branch nearest to our AirBnb. It was in Takashimaya Mall, a famous Japanese mall chain that I’ve also been to in Singapore.

I’ve heard a lot about Tokyu Hands–it’s a crafts store slash supplies store slash accessories store slash everything! If I were to liken it to stores found in the Philippines, it reminds me of National Bookstore and local department stores. I saw gloves, smartphone cases, stationery, facial care products and more!

Here are a few of my favorite products from Tokyu Hands:

Totoro plushie wonderlan d :)
Totoro plushie wonderlan d 🙂
Danboard--the cutest cardboard figure
Danboard–the cutest cardboard figure
Sushi, Mt. Fuji and other iconic Japanese stickers--I had to try very hard not to give in and buy everything!
Sushi, Mt. Fuji and other iconic Japanese stickers–I had to try very hard not to give in and buy everything!
More kawaii finds ^__^
More kawaii finds ^__^

Tokyu Hands has several branches throughout Japan. This branch is located in Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. It is open 10 am to 9 pm daily.

3. Shinjuku Gyoen Garden

Just the sight of the entrance instantly relaxed me.
Just the sight of the entrance instantly relaxed me.
Cute kids foraging for leaves :)
Cute kids foraging for leaves 🙂
Rakutei--think it's a traditional tea house. You have to pay an extra 700 yen to get in and have some traditionally prepared green tea.
Rakutei–think it’s a traditional tea house. You have to pay an extra 700 yen to get in and have some traditionally prepared green tea.
This place is huge! And seeing Japanese architecture like these makes everything worth it
This place is huge! And seeing Japanese architecture like these makes everything worth it
I spent about a good 30 or 40 minutes just sitting on a bench at this end of Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. I feel instantly relaxed just thinking about this spot.
I spent about a good 30 or 40 minutes just sitting on a bench at this end of Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. I feel instantly relaxed just thinking about this spot.
The colder climate lets all these beautiful flowers bloom.
The colder climate lets all these beautiful flowers bloom.

Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is a haven for both locals and tourists–and it is breathtaking in autumn. I spent a good two to three hours walking its expanse, and it is hands down my most unforgettable memory during my Tokyo trip. Taking time off and just navigating Shinjuku on my own was a bit scary, but with handy GPS, I was able to find my way here. It was the perfect place where I found time to reflect, rest and recharge.

Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is located at 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan, and is closed on Mondays and during national holidays. The entrance fee costs 200 yen.

4. Robot Restaurant

One of the things I was most excited about was seeing the Robot Restaurant show. It’s basically a robot show where scantily-clad girls ride robots and fight and stuff. I have no idea what exactly the shows are about, but I thought my boyfriend would enjoy it, so I bought tickets as a birthday gift. These cost us 6500 yen each.

Robot Restaurant is located at the West side of Shinjuku JR station (the place with the Godzilla peeking out behind a building!). It’s a bit of a walk, maybe 15 to 20 minutes (at least for tourists like us who don’t walk as fast as the Japanese do). It was a busy night, what with it being Halloween.

I am absolutely poor with directions and it was a good thing I had my boyfriend with me to locate Robot Restaurant using GPS (we tried asking directions, but to no avail). Thankfully, we found a “Robot Restaurant” sign and as it turns out, it’s just where you confirm your reservation for which show. The actual show is located across at the next street.

There are three shows each night, and you get the cheapest rate for the very last show. The only problem is by the time the show is over, the train stations might already  be closed and you’ll be forced to get a cab (which can cost you as much as 5000 yen).

What an epic opening performance! I loved the high energy, the Japanese costumes and the lit drums.
What an epic opening performance! I loved the high energy, the Japanese costumes and the lit drums.

As you can see, the performance hall is actually very small–3 rows each on each side. Customers can order snacks, drinks and bento boxes to enjoy while they watch the show.

Now, if only samurai were as cool as this.
Now, if only samurai were as cool as this.
I love all their costumes and wigs!
I love all their costumes and wigs!
Mix of old and new :)
Mix of old and new 🙂
After the drum performance, the show now shifts to a world wherein a planet inhabited by only sexy women (LOL) get attacked by robots. Here's a Sailormoon-clad performer riding a dinosaur.
After the drum performance, the show now shifts to a world wherein a planet inhabited by only sexy women (LOL) get attacked by robots. Here’s a Sailormoon-clad performer riding a dinosaur.
We were seated at the very front row, and sometimes the organizers had to put chains to prevent the audience from being accidentally hit by the robots or the performers.
We were seated at the very front row, and sometimes the organizers had to put chains to prevent the audience from being accidentally hit by the robots or the performers.
The girls of Robot Restaurant, in their signature cabaret-like outfits.
The girls of Robot Restaurant, in their signature cabaret-like outfits.

If you’re looking for something unique, then Robot Restaurant is for you. Don’t expect a deep plot line or anything; it’s a show full of senseless fun, cute girls and electronic props, mostly inspired by popular anime series. It can get campy, so just don’t take anything seriously and just enjoy the silliness of it all–6500 yen and all (burned a hole in my pocket, haha).

Robot Restaurant is located at Kabukicho, 1 Chome−7−1, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, and has shows every 7 pm, 8:30 pm and 10 pm. You have to be there 30 minutes before the show.

I hope this list of things to see in Shinjuku has been helpful, if you’re planning on visiting Tokyo. Please leave a comment below or share this link if you liked this post! 🙂

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