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Shinjuku is probably the biggest and busiest town in Tokyo. When I was growing up, this city was considered as dangerous. After the city cleansing in early 2000, the public safety got a lot better, but I think Shinjuku still has grimy/underground aspects like sketchy street of Kabukicho, dingy small bars in Golden Gai, and Japan's gay central 2choume. You will see what you see on the movie on the main street, but on this page, I will share my favorite chill spots in this big grimy town.


Nicely curated interior shop in Shinjuku 3 choume. For my interior design projects, I would have not be able to pull off without this shop. Not only they carry classic master pieces from all over the word, they also have well-designed Japanese products. Might be a good spot to grab a present for your design lover friends back home. 

apartment coffee

Chill coffee spot near Shinjuku Gyoen. You should come here to have a cup of coffee after the stroll at Shinjuku Gyoen. Relaxed atmosphere and LGBT friendly.

chaty chaty

Missing the juicy burger while you are in Tokyo? If so, you should definably make a visit. Juicy beef patty and chewy buns make the perfect harmony. Probably, the best burger joint in Tokyo.

tonkatsu Hamakatsu

Hamakatsu is a casual Tonkatsu restaurant in west Shinjuku. It looks quite heavy, but freshly deep fried thick pork (from Kagoshima) is really tasty and you can enjoy the traditional Teishoku set with rice, miso soup and seasonal pickles. It's not fancy or anything, but if you want something to satisfy your appetite, try it out!

Beams japan

Curated by BEAMS, one of the biggest fashion retailers, this spot open its door in 2016. They carry well-designed products throughout Japan and you can check out beautiful ceramics to stylish local fashion labels. I really like BEAMS JAPAN's concept and design lovers should make a visit, might be able to find some good gifts for your friends and family.

keika ramen

I have been going to this spot for easily 25+ years and this is my favorite style of Ramen. The most popular Ramen is called Ta-ro men, which comes with Kumamoto style thick pork broth and braised pork belly are absolutely worth trying. Wanna know more about Ramen? go visit, you won't regret it!

box bar

Box is probably my favorite bar in Shinjuku as you can hear good soul, jazz, and hiphop. Not a lot of bars in Tokyo play good music like Aoki san selects and their monthly event "Mellow Saturday" is a sanctuary for jazzy hiphop lovers. No charge!

vector beer

Located a bit outside of hectic Shinjuku street, Vector is a pretty good Japanese craft beer spot. They carry 10 craft beers on tap from all over Japan and the menu changes every day. Good atmosphere and very reasonable price point for a craft beer joint.

Roof top bar & Terrace G

Pretty decent roof top bar at 13th floor of Shinjuku Granbell Hotel. Although this is a great photo spot, definitely not local (at all). If you want for more authentic Japanese experience, don't even try, simply avoid it as this place is usually filled with tourists. However, their happy hour deal isn't too bad for the view you get. 

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