Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s – and Japan’s – busiest areas, acting as an office town, a shopping district, a center for urban culture and lifestyle, and thus a prime tourist destination. In the center of all of this is Shinjuku Station, a massive hub that connects five railroads and people from all over the country.
Giant shopping malls border the enormous station, as well as Kabukicho, Tokyo’s most famous red-light district. Towering home electronics stores sell state-of-the-art electronics to locals and tourists alike - and everything is connected by a vast underground network of exits, arcades, and tunnels, all belonging to Shinjuku Station. The hub deserves its reputation as a labyrinth of over 200 exits that, at times, can be seemingly impossible to navigate.
In this article we will explain the intricacies of Shinjuku Station and the best way to reach the exits you want, so that you don’t have to be concerned about getting lost while sightseeing in Shinjuku or when transferring between lines. We will also talk about each access method in detail, covering where to go if you get lost, and how to navigate through the many signs. If you are planning to use Shinjuku Station, prepare in advance!
- Table of Contents
- 1) Shinjuku Station - Overview
- 2) Shinjuku Station's Main Lines, Platforms and Destinations
- 3) Shinjuku Station has three main exits: East, South, and West
- 4) List of destinations for each exit of Shinjuku Station
- 5) Shinjuku Station East Exit: Kabukicho, Studio ALTA, Bicqlo, and Isetan
- 6) Shinjuku Station South Exit: Busta Shinjuku and Shinjuku Takashimaya
- 7) Shinjuku Station West Exit: Government Buildings and Large Electronics Stores
- 8) Going to Hakone and Mount Takao via Shinjuku Station
- Conclusion: Before you go to Shinjuku Station, let’s master how to get to your destination!
1) Shinjuku Station - Overview
― Guinness World Record Holder as The Busiest Station in the World
Shinjuku is the busiest train station in the world, with an average daily passenger count of about 3.42 million in 2015, granting it an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. The Odakyu and Keio lines in Shinjuku Station are on its West side. This is also the main station from which to reach Hakone/Odawara, a sightseeing spot in western Tokyo or Kanagawa Prefecture. In addition, Shinjuku Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line is on the North side of the JR station, and the Toei Oedo Line and the Toei Shinjuku Line are on the South-west side.
― Over 200 Exits and Ticket Gates
Above the station, there are a total of seven station buildings, including the JR LUMINE department store, Odakyu Department Store, and Keio Department Store, as well as an underground shopping mall, station concourse souvenir shop, and restaurants. The ticket gates and exits of the railway companies are scattered in various directions, and the number of exits from the underground to the surface is over 200.
― Over 30 Platforms, 16 at JR Alone
Shinjuku Station is located in the southwestern part of Shinjuku Ward. It’s only 800 meters from the following “Yoyogi” Station (Shibuya Ward), so you can even hear the announcements playing in Yoyogi Station on platforms 5 and 6 at the southern end of the JR station.
In addition to the Yamanote and Chuo lines, there are many others, including, Sobu Line, Saikyo Line, and Shonan Narita Express. There are 16 platforms for the JR lines alone.
You can go back and forth between platforms and ticket gates through four passages: the North passage (underground), the Central passage (underground), the South exit concourse (above ground), the Busta Shinjuku/JR Shinjuku Miraina Tower Overpass.
2) Shinjuku Station's Main Lines, Platforms and Destinations
The JR, Odakyu, Keio, Tokyo Metro, and Toei Lines that enter Shinjuku Station are shown in the table. This is a must-check when traveling around Tokyo, or suburban areas reachable from Shinjuku Station, or when transferring.
■ JR East's lines, platforms, and destinations ↓
■ Odakyu, Keio, Tokyo Metro, and Toei lines, platforms, and destinations ↓
3) Shinjuku Station has three main exits: East, South, and West
- Shinjuku East Exit: for Studio ALTA and Kabukicho.
- Shinjuku South Exit: for Busta Shinjuku, Shinjuku Takashimaya, and more.
- Shinjuku West Exit: for Yodobashi Camera and other electronic and home appliance stores.
4) List of destinations for each exit of Shinjuku Station
If you arrive at Shinjuku Station by the JR Line, and if you want to go to the West exit, or East exit, go underground from the platform and go to the ticket gate through the North passage or Central passage. If you want to go to the South exit, go up the central stairs from the platform and go up the south exit concourse.
■ East Exit levels, passages, and main destinations ↓
■ South Exit levels, passages, and main destinations ↓
■ West Exit levels, passages, and main destinations ↓
5) Shinjuku Station East Exit: Kabukicho, Studio ALTA, Bicqlo, and Isetan
The Shinjuku Station East Exit encompasses both the JR East Exit ticket gates and the Central East Exit ticket gates. They are connected by an underground passage, so it doesn't matter through which one you leave.
■ How to get to the East Exit from the JR Lines
From the JR Line platform, descend to the basement. Follow the North passage to reach the East exit ticket gate, and follow the Central passage to reach the Central East Exit ticket gate. If you exit the ticket gate from the Central East Exit, follow the passage to the left, and go through the Alps Square before the East exit ticket gate. If you go up the stairs from here, you will reach the East exit square, where Shinjuku Alta is located. There is a golden lion statue in the central square of the roundabout.
■ How to get to the East Exit from the Odakyu Lines
When arriving at Shinjuku Station by Odakyu Line, and exiting through the East exit, pass the yellow ticket gate at the “Central Basement Contact” at Odakyu Shinjuku Station and cross the central passageway inside the JR Station. You can exit from the J”R Central East Exit ticket” gate.
■ How to get to the East Exit from the Keio Lines
Go through the blue JR ticket gates right next to Keio Department Store ticket gates. Then, follow the Central Passage of JR Station and leave via the Central East Exit ticket gate.
Just like from the Odakyu lines, be careful not to exit via the JR East Exit ticket gates.
■ How to get to the East Exit from the Tokyo Metro Lines
After passing through the ticket gate, use the A8 / A9 exit to get to JR East Exit and Central East Exit. Take exit B13 to get to Studio ALTA.
6) Shinjuku Station South Exit: Busta Shinjuku and Shinjuku Takashimaya
The South Exit of Shinjuku Station leads to the Koshu Kaido, or the Koshu Highway, with numerous exits leading to this very road.
In 2016, the South Exit got a lot more busy with the opening of both Busta Shinjuku, the largest high-speed bus terminal in Japan, and NEWoMan, a shopping facility targeting female shoppers.
■ How to get to the South Exit from the JR Lines
Go up the stairs in the center of the platform and follow the South Exit Concourse to reach both the South Exit and the Southeast Exit ticket gates.
If you follow the southernmost staircase on the platform, you'll get to the Busta Shinjuku / JR Shinjuku Miraina Tower Overpass. It will lead you to the Koshu Kaido ticket gates, the Miraina Tower ticket gates, and the Shinnan ticket gates.
Especially the latter one is a wonderful meeting spot as a big Suica Penguin stands at the Shinnan ticket gates, greeting travelers and commuters.
■ How to get to the South Exit from the Odakyu Lines
Take the stairs at the southern end of the platform. On the second floor are the South Exit ticket gates. You can leave the station a little west of JR's south exit.
■ How to get to the South Exit from the Keio Lines
Go up the stairs at the southern end of the platform to the ground level and use the Lumine Exit ticket gates. If you go up the stairs one more time, you can leave via the JR South Exit area for the Koshu Highway.
■ How to get to the South Exit from the Tokyo Metro Lines
Take exit A9 at the JR East Exit, leave the station and head south.
The Toei Oedo Line and the Toei Shinjuku Line are on the southwest side of Shinjuku Station. Transfer to JR lines, Odakyu lines, and Keio lines is possible with a short 5-minute walk via underground passages.
7) Shinjuku Station West Exit: Government Buildings and Large Electronics Stores
Shinjuku Station's West Exit is the access point to the many massive electronics stores and the Shinjuku of skyscrapers and government buildings.
The JR lines, Odakyu lines, Keio lines all have ticket gates facing the vast open space that is the Shinjuku Station West Exit Underground Passage.
■ How to get to the West Exit from the JR Lines
Simply follow the underground Nothern Passage to the West Exit ticket gates, or take the underground Central Passage to get to the Cental West Exit ticket gates (exit only).
■ How to get to the West Exit from the Odakyu Lines
After exiting via the West Exit Underground ticket gate, go straight ahead in the direction of the JR West Exit ticket gate and the underground passage. Leave via the West Exit Above Ground ticket gate and go left to get to the West Exit Rotary outside of the station.
■ How to get to the West Exit from the Keio Lines
Go via the JR West Exit ticket gates and the West Exit Underground Passage to get to the Keio West Exit ticket gates.
Another option is the special, time-limited Plaza Exit and the Special Exit, leading you to pretty much the same place.
If you want to directly head to the Keio Department Store, we highly recommend the convenient Keio Department Store ticket gates, leading you right to the shopping facility.
■ How to get to the West Exit from the Tokyo Metro Lines
The exits A10 to A15 will lead you to the JR West Exit ticket gates and the Odakyu Department Store, while B16 / 18 are the most convenient exits for Odakyu HALC.
To get to Shinjuku's district full of large electronics stores, you need to walk around the big rotary at Shinjuku Station's West Exit. The best way to get there is via the West Exit Underground Passage.
As the station does seem like a maze at times, do make sure to keep an eye on the many helpful signs above your head. If you're lost. they'll make navigating Shinjuku Station a lot easier.
8) Going to Hakone and Mount Takao via Shinjuku Station
■ To Hakone
The best way to reach Hakone, a popular tourist spot near Tokyo, is by the Odakyu Limited Express Romance Car, which connects Shinjuku Station to Hakone Yumoto Station in about 85 minutes.
If you are transferring from the JR Line to the limited express Romance Car, if you already have a ticket for the Odakyu Line, or if you are using a SUICA or PASMO card, go West through the central underground passage of the JR section of the station, and, from the ticket gate named “Odakyu Line Passage Entrance,” enter the Odakyu section of the station and go up to platforms 2-3.
If you don’t have a ticket, get out via the JR South Gate at the South Exit Concourse in the JR section of the station, and go right. You will immediately see the south exit Gate on the Odakyu Line and an automatic ticket vending machine.
■ To Mount Takao
The Takaosanguchi Station is the closest station to Mount Takao, one of the major natural sightseeing spots in West Tokyo. From Shinjuku Station, we recommend the Keio Line express train to Takaosanguchi Station, taking 47 minutes without any transfer.
Coming from JR lines, follow the passage between the JR Central West Exit and the Odakyu Exit ticket gates to get to the Keio Line ticket gates.
If you don't have a ticket yet, you can find vending machines at the ticket gates.
■ To Narita Airport, Izu and Atami, and Odawara
JR Shinjuku Station's platforms 5 and 6 are home to the Narita Express bound for Narita Airport and the Superview Odoriko, an express train bound for Izu and Atami.
Although it’s a JR transfer, platforms 5 and 6 are located near the South of the station and are not directly connected to the North passage, the Central passage, and the South exit concourse, so they are a bit difficult to find.
Once you go through the southern end of your platform and go down to platforms 5 and 6 via the Busta Shinjuku/JR Shinjuku Miraina Tower Overpass, it may take about 10 minutes to reach the platforms, depending on which platform you are walking from.
Conclusion: Before you go to Shinjuku Station, let’s master how to get to your destination!
Shinjuku Station, a sub-center of Tokyo, is a huge terminal station where many Japanese people get lost due to its complexity and large number of commuters. That is even more true for foreign tourists. Please refer to this article and plan your course in Shinjuku Station before visiting it.
*The information presented is accurate to the time this article was written (May 2017), with some edits and corrections.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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