Katie and I have been waiting for a nice day to take a trip up to Tokyo to explore the area around Shinjuku station. We considered this a reconnaissance mission of sorts. We thought maybe this area would be good to take upcoming visitors and Katie’s kids. Shinjuku is about an hour and fifteen minute train ride from where we live. I marked several spots in blue on Google Map to guide our exploring.

Our first stop was to visit the lion statue near the Shinjuku East exit. The lion was built and maintained by the Tokyo Shinjuku Lions Club. The hole in his mouth is for donations. The Shinjuku lion is also a common meeting spot when meeting up with friends.

After our stop at the Shinjuku lion, we walked over to see the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower on the west side of Shinjuku station. The building is home to a very popular and highly prestigious Fashion School in Tokyo.

We worked our way back to the east side of the station and walked towards the Shinjuku TOHO building to see Godzilla.

The lighting is a little strange and makes the sky look very blue. The head is next to a hotel and you could visit the terrace. So, we did!

This sign made us curious.

Listen as Katie touches the black hole.


After visiting Godzilla, we walked around the Kabukicho district. More commonly known as the red light district. Yes, even in Tokyo.

Kabukicho was pretty tame during lunchtime on a Tuesday. We were good with that. We took a few pictures outside the Robot Restaurant, Samurai Museum and of King Kong.

We decided to make our way out of Kabukicho and find some lunch. Katie used her amazing Google Maps skills and located us a conveyor belt sushi restaurant while I was shopping for lotion at The Body Shop. The color of the sushi plate identified the price.

I stacked our plates for a colorful effect. It was then I realized the delicious tuna I was grabbing was on silver plates! ¥520! No wonder it tasted so good!

After lunch we started working our way towards Shinjuku Gyoen (garden). However, we were sidetracked quickly when we saw the Tokyu Hands store. We decided to go shopping instead and save the garden for a warmer spring day when we have a better chance to see flowers blooming.

So, back to the main mission, reconnaissance. We did learn a good bit about the area. There are some good spots for tourist photos and shopping. I will definitely return this spring to visit the gardens. Or at night to see the view of the city from the Park Hyatt Tokyo (the hotel from the movie Lost in Translation). I’ll just be sure if we have kids with us to come during the day time and/or avoid Kabukicho!!