Tokyo (Shinjuku – South and East Areas) Part II

This is Part II of III of my Shinjuku post.  Please go to my first post for information on the west side of Shinjuku Station.

Part I:
Part II:

JR’s Christmas Display at Shinjuku Southern Terrace

Looking to the South, you’ll be greeted by hotels and the slow developing area around Takashimaya Department Store.    Heading South of Koshu Kaido, you’ll be greeted by Shinjuku Southern Terrace and a walkway that leads to Takashimaya.  Southern Terrace is a popular place for couples to hang out, have a nice meal, and drink Starbucks on a patio.  It’s one of the few Starbucks with a real patio.  During the Christmas season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 25), the entire area is lit up with thousands of Christmas lights.  Southern Terrace is also home to the first Krispy Kreme shop in Japan.  As of writing this, there are still 30-60 minute line-ups to buy donuts.  Talk about crazy.  There is a pedestrian bridge that also affords wonderful views of Shinjuku Station itself and all the trains coming in and out of the station.  It’s fun to watch for a few minutes and provides some interesting photos.  You are also within sight of Yoyogi Station.  On the Eastern side of the tracks, the main thing to do is visit Takashimaya.  It is a large department store with wonderful restaurants with beautiful views.  It isn’t as crowded as other department stores in Shinjuku and has ample amounts of space.  It is also the location of Tokyu Hands and the biggest Kinokinuya Bookstore in Shinjuku.  Various mainstream trendy fashion shops are starting to open branches in this area of Shinjuku.  In the future, I would imagine it would grow into it’s own little neighborhood.  However, for now, it’s a great place to get away from the huge crowds of Shinjuku, yet it will still be busy.

Streets around Shinjuku San-chome

Looking to the East of Shinjuku Station, you’ll find 3 famous areas.  Immediately next to the station is Higashi Shinjuku and Shinjuku Sanchome (I will refer to this area as Shinjuku Sanchome).  A little farther on, you’ll reach Shinjuku Nichome and Shinjuku Gyoen, and somewhat to the North-East is Kabukicho.   Shinjuku Sanchome is a venerable shopping and drinking district.  It is bordered by the Lumine EST and Isetan Department Stores.  Lumine EST is known for it’s two restaurant floors and Isetan is known for shopping and it’s basement food floor.  It was remodeled about 2 years ago and features a lot of good eats.  If you are looking for the heart and life of Shinjuku, Sanchome is the place to be.  Many young people hang out at night in a square just outside the station.  Beyond the station’s entrance, you’ll be greeted by various shops that will sell almost anything you can imagine.  There is a small “adult” themed section next to Kabukicho; upscale shopping along Shinjuku-dori; drinking and eating South of Shinjuku-dori; and electronics and theatres scattered throughout the East side.  On weekends and holidays, Shinjuku-dori is closed to traffic and it becomes a pedestrian paradise.  It’s a wonderful experience to enjoy Shinjuku.  Do beware of the area after 6pm, as it becomes extremely crowded and extremely difficult to navigate.  However, after 10pm or so, things become calmer and enjoying a night at one of the bars or restaurants is highly recommended.

Update (October 18, 2009):  Do note that across from Isetan, Marui has re-opened their main store after rebuilding it for a few years.  It is very beautiful, but caters to women.