Shinjuku is one of the busiest neighbourhoods in all of Tokyo, Japan. It’s a mix of business and entertainment, with izakayas (Japanese-style pubs) and shopping malls amongst office buildings.
Shinjuku is also very picturesque, especially for Instagram-worthy shots. The neighbourhood has everything you need for your Japan travel shots — a wide spectrum of modern and traditional, chaotic and quiet. Here are our 15 most instagrammable spots in Shinjuku that will spice up your feeds!
1. Golden Gai
Golden Gai is a not-so-secret drinking area made up of narrow alleyways and full of small bars. It’s popular with both locals and foreigners alike and at nighttime with a hint of post-war atmosphere. There is also a small park behind Golden Gai called Four Seasons Pathway, which is not only a good quick escape from the chaos but also quite the photo spot.
Location: Golden Gai
2. Omoide Yokocho
Translated as “Memory Lane”, Omoide Yokocho is pretty similar to Golden Gai, but with lesser bars and a few food stalls instead. Omoide Yokocho is a little more refined and closer to the station. It’s also only one alleyway and not a cluster like the drinking area — so it can be more crowded — but both areas offer the authentic, old-school Japanese-style drinking culture.
Location: Omoide Yokocho
If you like these small drinking alleys, make sure to also read our blog post about the 12 best Yokocho in Tokyo!
If you’re looking for the picture-perfect spot for those famous Japanese neon lights everyone talks about, Kabukicho is the place to go. While it’s the biggest red light district in Japan, it’s also known for its flashy signs that light up the night sky.
To get the pictures you are dreaming about, you can actually join this photo tour in Kabukicho. Deniz, a local photographer based in Tokyo, knows this area like his pocket and he will take you to his favourite secret photo spots.
4. Toho Cinemas Godzilla
You don’t need to watch a movie to get a good picture at Toho Cinemas, because the main attraction of the building is not in the building but on top of it! Technically, the Godzilla statue is on top of the Shinjuku Gracery Hotel which is behind the cinema building, but close enough.
The street leading up to the cinema building is also quite picturesque at nighttime, as the neon lights come on and make the perfect landscape for your shot.
Location: Toho Cinemas
5. Shinjuku Gyoen
One of the biggest parks in all of Tokyo is the Shinjuku Gyoen. It’s extremely popular for cherry blossom viewing in springtime, but it’s beautiful all year round. There’s a big greenhouse, a Taiwanese pavilion and offers a great view of the Shinjuku skyline. There’s a small admission cost though, but it’s worth every penny.
Location: Shinjuku Gyoen
Read More: Best Japanese Gardens in Japan
6. Sanagi Shinjuku
Just east of the station is an area called Sanagi Shinjuku, where you can find a cluster of restaurants under the train tracks. It’s well decorated with brightly coloured Japanese lanterns, getting the attention of many and quickly became a popular photo spot. After a few snaps, be sure to replenish yourself with a bowl of ramen from one of these restaurants!
Location: Sanagi Shinjuku
7. Yodabashi Camera Shinjuku
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Another great spot for the iconic Japanese neon lights is the area where the Yodabashi Camera Shinjuku store is located. The best part about this location is that it’s not as crowded as Kabukicho because it’s not a popular tourist attraction at all. You can snap as many pictures as you want here — sometimes with the streets empty. What a great pic for the ‘gram!
Location: Yodabashi Camera Shinjuku
8. Ninja Trick House
In the Kabukicho district, there’s a cool photo-worthy spot on the fourth floor of a small building called the Ninja Trick House. At this attraction, you get to learn the history of ninjas and experience throwing shurikens and holding a real Japanese sword among other surprising tricks in the house.
On top of it all, the location has amazing picture spots! You can even be in a photograph with a real ninja!
Location: Ninja Trick House
9. Yasuyo Building
Shinjuku is full of unique buildings and Yasuyo Building is one of them. Next to the eastern gate of Shinjuku Station, the building resembles a stack of twisted bolts. Other than its one-of-a-kind exterior, Yasuyo Building is known for Kakiden, a famous restaurant on the sixth to the ninth floors.
We highly recommend viewing this building at night, as the dim yellow lights from the interior give the building a more atmospheric vibe.
Location: Yasuyo Building
10. Book And Bed Tokyo Shinjuku
This next photo spot is a hostel first and a cafe second — Book and Bed Tokyo Shinjuku is a really cute spot for your Instagram pictures! During the opening hours of the cafe, visitors can buy a drink from the cafe and enter the hostel’s lounge area where the walls are covered with bookshelves full of books.
The bookshelves plus the unique black latte that the cafe offers are both worthy of an Instagram post or two.
Location: Book and Bed Tokyo Shinjuku
11. Hanazono Shrine
If you want a Shinjuku photo spot that is more traditional, the Hanazono Shrine is the best place for it. Located near the Kabukicho district, this Shinto shrine is one of the most important places of worship in this neighbourhood. One of the most notable picture spots here is the row of red torii gates — ones pretty similar to the ones you see in Kyoto.
If you come at the right times, you might be able to catch a festival that takes place during various times of the year or a vintage market that pops up on weekends. The Hanazono shrine is also a popular cherry blossom spot in spring!
Location: Hanazono Shrine
12. MODE Gakuen Cocoon Tower
Another unique building in Shinjuku that is a great picture spot is the MODE Gakuen Cocoon Tower. This skyscraper is 50 storeys high and is a dedicated educational facility for three schools: HAL Tokyo (special technology and design college), Tokyo Mode Gakuen (fashion vocational school) and Shuto Iko (medical college).
While you might not be able to go up to the top floor for the view, a snap from the bottom floor outside the building, of the building itself, is the way to go.
Location: MODE Gakuen Cocoon Tower
13. Godzilla Store
Another uniquely Japanese photo spot is the first Godzilla Store Shinjuku, which can be found in the Shinjuku neighbourhood. Whether you’re a fan of this giant beast or not, it’s without a doubt a very iconic character from Japan. The store can be found inside the Shinjuku Marui Annex complex. After your pics, you can do a little shopping!
Location: Godzilla Store
14. Metropolitan Government Building
A popular attraction in Shinjuku is the Metropolitan Government Building, standing at 202 meters tall. The building itself is a great photo object, but it also has a great view from above which you can go for free!
Location: Metropolitan Government Building
15. LOVE Sculpture
Located just in front of Shinjuku I-land tower, the “LOVE” sculpture is a popular landmark with an amazing backdrop of Tokyo’s modern skyscrapers. This location is great for mixing up your traditional and retro Japan shots with some modern ones.
Location: LOVE Sculpture
Shinjuku is an amazing neighbourhood for getting a variety of pictures taken. These 15 spots are proof of that. Be sure to have these Shinjuku photo spots marked on your map for your next Japan trip!