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Shinjuku Subnade: The Best-Kept Secret for One-Stop Shopping Just Beneath Busy Shinjuku

Shinjuku Subnade: The Best-Kept Secret for One-Stop Shopping Just Beneath Busy Shinjuku

Date published: 13 April 2019
Last updated: 15 June 2020

Everyone knows Shinjuku is one of the top destinations for tourists in Tokyo. This is the place where popular sightseeing spots like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Kabukichō, and Golden Gai are located, after all.

But did you know there's a gargantuan labyrinth of interlinked retail shops lurking directly beneath all the hustle and bustle aboveground too?

Follow us as we guide you through just a small part of the amazing Shinjuku Subnade - a subterranean shopping mall fully accessible from convenient places like Shinjuku Gyoen or Golden Gai that's your best bet for last minute souvenirs, or if you have some space in your itinerary that you're just not sure what to fill with!

■Tell me more about this Shinjuku Subnade

■Tell me more about this Shinjuku Subnade

Well, as mentioned, Shinjuku Subnade is located underground, just beneath places like Yasukuni Street and Yanagi Street, both located outside JR Shinjuku Station's east exit. It is directly linked to the Metro Promenade, an underground pathway that connects Shinjuku Station to the Tokyo Metro and Shinjuku-sanchōme Station. Bonus tidbit: It's also linked to the Seibu Shinjuku Line's Seibu-Shinjuku Station!

The entire complex is made up of just one underground level that stretches from 1-chōme all the way to 4-chōme. Needless to mention, the variety of shops and restaurants available is mind-boggling to say the least.

One of the perks of doing your shopping in an underground arcade like this is that you can browse to your heart's content at leisure whether rain or shine. There's no need to plan around the weather at all when you're underground!

The rows and rows of tightly packed shops in Shinjuku Subnade have plenty to offer. From fashion wear to cosmetics, sundries, and even restaurants and cafes, there's definitely something for everyone in one of the 97 vibrant shops along this shopping street.

For this time, however, we'll be focusing on six exceptional shops located within the 2-chōme to 3-chōme area that we really recommend taking a look at if you're in the area!

The stairway leading underground in front of Don Quijote Shinjuku Kabukichō is a shortcut to Shinjuku Subnade's 2-chōme area. If you're coming from underground, the nearest connecting exit to the area is stairway "7", which leads to Kabukichō. Now, without further ado, let's see what this shopping paradise has to offer!

■MIJ Factory Harajuku: Featuring clothing and sundries made entirely in Japan!

■MIJ Factory Harajuku: Featuring clothing and sundries made entirely in Japan!

Our first pick is MIJ Factory Harajuku, a shop that was established on the concept of conveying creative works, designs, and cultures that are uniquely Japanese to the crowds visiting Harajuku from all over Japan and the world.

Besides offering content based on Japanese anime and other media titles, the shop also partners with more than 60 popular Japanese creators to offer interesting collaboration goods such as stickers. The creator events they hold as part of their business model add to their appeal.

Since each event will differ in content depending on the creator behind it, there's always something new to look forward to here!

Popular items among international visitors in this shop includes T-shirts with prints that feature elements of Japanese culture, like the "Sumo T-Shirt" (2,700 yen, tax included) created by Yukari Kunitomo and "Sushi T-Shirt" (2,700 yen, tax included) created by misato. Many of their T-shirts come in kids' sizes as well, allowing families to have fun coordinating their wardrobes if they so desire. These uniquely Japanese T-shirt designs can be donned both during your trip and when you're back home as well, keeping you connected to Japan wherever in the world you may be.

Don't miss the exclusive "Shinjuku-Only Stickers" (324 yen, tax included) as well, which, as the name suggests, are stickers with the word "Shinjuku" stamped on them and only being sold in Shinjuku. Also check out the "Shinjuku-Only Acrylic Keychains" modeled after Japanese cultural icons like sumo wrestlers and maiko (apprentice geisha). With a dazzling amount of products that were all crafted with the utmost care by different creators, visitors are often spoiled for choice when shopping for souvenirs here!

Although MIJ Factory Harajuku's philosophy is to promote Japanese creators to the world, Japanese cultural goods are not the only products available here. You'll also find limited edition collaboration goods featuring popular overseas icons, like "Nagakusa-kun", a mascot character who is well-known in the Chinese market. In fact, plenty of tourists from overseas visit the shop specifically for these collaboration goods. Soft vinyl toy figures, the latest trend in the toy industry, are also being sold in the shop, so take a look at those as well if you happen to make a trip down!

MIJ Factory Harajuku
Address: Shinjuku Subnade 2-chōme
Phone Number: 03-3359-0225
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

■Pet Paradise: Pamper your pup with a luxurious dog kimono!

■Pet Paradise: Pamper your pup with a luxurious dog kimono!

Our next recommendation is Pet Paradise, located just diagonally opposite MIJ Factory Harajuku. This pet merchandise store prides itself on supporting every pet owner's life work through the advocacy of harmony, healing, encouragement, and mutual connection between owners and pets. To that end, pets in carrier bags are welcome here as well, so it's not an unusual sight to see customers bringing their beloved pets along for their regular shopping trips.

There are plenty of interesting things for your pets here available in all shapes and sizes, like costumes and necessities. From puppy kimono with sakura petal patterns and exotic lion dance mascot costumes, if you're looking to give your pets a celebrity makeover, you can do no better than step right inside! For visitors from overseas, any item from this shop would make for an excellent Japanese souvenir for friends back home with pets.

We would be remiss to not mention one of the top-selling products of the store - the "Soft Fleece Thermoregulation Clothing (about 3,100 yen, tax excluded)" made from stretchable fabric that's perfect as house wear. This trendy piece of clothing isn't just a fashion statement for your pet, but something comfortable for them to slip into for a relaxing day at home as well.

For items that can be used when going outdoors together, consider the "Pretty Bouquet Pet Sling Bag (6,900 yen, tax excluded)" that has already pleased many owners and pets. This sturdy bag can either be worn as a sling or with the pet in front, as shown in the photograph.

We know dental health is an area of concern for many pet owners, so check out the "Dog Dental Care Whitening Gel (1,500 yen, tax excluded)" which comes highly recommended by the shop staff themselves! Consider also giving your beloved dog a treat on special days with a "Real Food Can (280 yen, tax excluded)", an additive-free nutrition product for dogs that was made entirely in Japan. Can't figure out which of these appealing items to get? Be like most customers and just get them all!

Shop Information: Pet Paradise
Address: Shinjuku Subnade 2-chōme
Phone Number: 03-5269-7218
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Tax-free shop (*Only if all purchased products are Pet Paradise originals)

■AppBank Store: For all your emergency smartphone breakdown needs

■AppBank Store: For all your emergency smartphone breakdown needs

AppBank Store is a smartphone and accessories store offering the latest and greatest products in this market. They have a full lineup of popular products like smartphone cases and screen protectors that are also being featured on their company's media website (AppBank.net), as well as IoT gadgets that synchronize with iPhones and keep track of owned items so as to prevent accidental loss.

Something we'd definitely recommend foreign visitors to consider is the iPhone case "Gild Design Solid Bumper (between 9,270 yen to 17,280 yen, tax included)" - made entirely in Japan. Besides the guaranteed quality, this is also a product trusted by many of your iPhone-using peers in Japan to protect their investment against damage. Customize the case by coordinating it with your choice of "Gild Design Case Color Screw Set (648 yen, tax included)" to create something that is uniquely yours.

You'll also find all sorts of portable batteries here (between 2,199 yen to 9,980 yen, tax included), so if your mobile devices run out of juice halfway through your Shinjuku sightseeing tour, drop by this store for an energy refill! The "Cardboard" series of batteries (between 2,380 yen to 6,800 yen, tax included) are in especially high demand because of their special design. Many tourists buy them in bulk to bring home as souvenirs!

When you buy an iPhone screen protector from this store, whether film or tempered glass, the staff will apply it to your phone screen for you at no extra cost, and boy do they do a good job! Speaking of no extra cost, you can also get a free quote here for iPhone repairs as well. If your iPhone is behaving out of sorts during your trip, don't hesitate to bring it here for a quick diagnosis!

Shop Information: AppBank Store
Address: Shinjuku Subnade 2-chōme
Phone Number: 03-5312-6243
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

■JINS: High quality eyeglasses with distinctly Japanese designs

■JINS: High quality eyeglasses with distinctly Japanese designs

JINS is a branded eyewear chain store that has diehard fans all over Japan. The Shinjuku Subnade store features an overall black tone as basic design and is a lot more chic in feel than conventional JINS shops elsewhere. They were also the first in Tokyo to make use of wood-grain fittings in their store, allowing customers to enjoy shopping for eyewear in an elegant yet trendy environment.

Sabae City in Fukui Prefecture is well-known for their vibrant eyewear industry, and the "Celluloid" brand of spectacles frames (19,440 yen, tax included) are part of the "Made in Japan" series specially crafted by eyewear experts in Sabae. These exquisitely sophisticated frames are the top choice of many local businessmen and foreign visitors alike.

The "All Titan" frames (12,960 yen, tax included) made entirely of beta-titanium alloy have simple yet aesthetically pleasing designs. If you prefer something more comfortable, all eyewear in the popular "Air Frame" series (between 5,400 yen to 8,640 yen, tax included) are feather-light and suitable for all uses.

Whether you prefer to sport round or square spectacles, the frames available here come in all shapes and sizes, so finding something that tickles your fancy will be quick and easy.

Have you heard of photochromatic lenses, the latest trend in eyewear? For just 5,400 yen (tax included), you can get these lenses for your spectacles that change colors according to the amount of ultraviolet rays they're being exposed to. Now you can have a pair of indoor reading glasses that are also outdoor sunglasses in one neat package without having to keep switching pairs anymore!

For those who have to use computers, smartphones, and other digital devices on a daily basis, there's something for you too. Check out the special anti-bluelight lenses (5,400 yen, tax included) that cut down the amount of harmful bluelight reaching your irises. We think their never-waning popularity certainly warrants some investigation for anyone considering a new pair of glasses. The lenses also come in different colors, you can have a great deal of fun matching your favorite colored lenses to a frame of your choice here as well!
* All prices for frames include lenses.

Shop Name: JINS
Address: Shinjuku Subnade 2-chōme
Phone Number: 03-3353-8760
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Tax-free shop

Mamew Premiere: Applying the silver ratio to traditional beauty

Mamew Premiere: Applying the silver ratio to traditional beauty

Mamew Premiere teaches makeup techniques that are easy to pick up - even for those new to the art! At this shop, a picture of your face is taken using the latest imaging technology, which digitizes where your eyes, nose, and mouth are in proportion to each other and analyzes the results. Armed with this information, the instructor on hand then teaches you how to apply makeup in a way that brings you closer to the "Silver Balance" - an aesthetic based on the silver ratio that is considered to be the epitome of traditional beauty in Japan.

Their wildly popular makeup lessons start with the "Eyebrows Styling - 15 minutes" course (1,400 yen, tax included), where a professional makeup artist analyzes the proportions of your face and recommends the most suitable eyebrow shapes for you. Even the slightest tweaking of your eyebrows can give your face a whole new look, so this is the best way to quickly draw out that traditional beauty residing within you!

Wondering if there's something more substantial? Try the "Group Lesson - 90 minutes" course (10,800 yen, tax included) that teaches you simple yet effective techniques applicable for face shapes of all sorts, based on an analysis of your facial features by the latest imaging technology. Learning how to personally find and maintain your Japanese traditional beauty will absolutely make your trip much more enjoyable!

Besides conducting makeup lessons, the shop has an assortment of original cosmetics available for sale as well. Some of their cosmetic products also come with skincare effects, and these are very popular among shoppers from China. The "Mamew Essence Sheet Mask (7,980 yen for 20 masks, tax included)" contains EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) components that came into global focus after their discovery led to a Nobel Prize. These components are touted for being excellent skin cell regeneration boosters.

"Mamew Pure Essence (8,640 yen, tax included)" contains a plethora of skincare components like hyaluronic acid. Don't like the name "acid" fool you - this beauty supplement is known to promote wound healing and moisture retention, so it's the perfect product for those concerned about wrinkles and skin elasticity. There's also the "Mamew Strong Skin Lotion (8,640 yen, tax included)", a bird's nest essence containing EGF and FGF (Fibroblast Growth Factor) components blended with ultrafine nano platinum particles. This beauty lotion will be a great addition to your skincare regime for healthier skin.

Shop Information: MAMEW PREMIERE
Address: Shinjuku Subnade 2-chōme
Phone Number: 03-6380-5931
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Tax-free shop

■APii Cosmetics: Catering to every demographic with popular cosmetics of all kinds

■APii Cosmetics: Catering to every demographic with popular cosmetics of all kinds

Our last shop recommendation is "APii Cosmetics produced by ryuseido", a cosmetics specialty store that straddles the area between Shinjuku Subnade 2-chōme and 3-chōme. Yes, that's just how large its retail space is! The store is here to help customers become more beautiful, offering services such as skin analysis and counseling, 15-minutes facial treatments, or useful suggestions for products based on individual preferences. Part of the store also deals with medical products, so you can get some health guidance in here as well.

Shiseido is a well-known cosmetics brand both in Japan and overseas, so it's little wonder their products are among the most popular in this store, like their Benefique series of cosmetics only available in Shiseido specialty stores, for example.

Many visitors to the store have their eyes set on Benefique beauty creams and lotions that combat signs of aging, alleviate unwanted tans, moisturizes dry skin, or offer other beauty effects. "Benefique Collagen B Booster" drinks (420 yen per bottle, tax included) and tablets (11,340 yen for a pack of 60, tax included) are also highly sought-after. These are beauty food supplements that contain collagen or ceramide.

We also encourage you to take a look at the "Elixir Enriched Wrinkle Cream S (6,264 yen, tax included)" while you're here. This is the very first product approved for sale in Japan for the new effect of "wrinkle improvement" due to the active medicinal ingredient of pure retinol.

Needless to say, it enjoys widespread popularity in Japan. This product will be an excellent topic of discussion between people mindful of beauty care or on social networks. "Anessa Perfect UV Skin Care Milk (3,240 yen for 60 milliliters, or 2 ounces, tax included)" is also a popular item amongst customers looking for protection against the sun.

The "Revital" series is another product line to check out. From the medicinal beauty serum "Wrinkle Lift AA (10,800 yen for 15 grams, or 0.5 ounces, tax included)" that moisturizes chapped skin around the eyes or mouth to the "Wrinkle Lift Retinol Science AAN (6,480 yen for 12 packs, tax included)" medicinal mask that gives concentrated care to tired eyes, the products in this line are so effective, they practically fly off the shelves and have limited stock available at all times. So if you happen to chance upon one or two while browsing the store, we highly recommend that you snag them before they're completely gone!

Shop information: APii COSMETICS produced by ryuseido
Address: Shinjuku Subnade 3-chōme
Phone Number: 03-3356-6026
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Tax-free shop

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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