Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s busiest and most vibrant districts filled with hundreds of restaurants, bars and eateries waiting to be discovered everywhere from inside towering skyscrapers to lantern-lit back alleys. Check out our recommendations for best restaurants in Shinjuku for first-time visitors to enjoy only-in-Japan dining experiences. If you are curious to find out where to eat in Shinjuku, then read on!
Did you know that if you download the OodyMate app you can meet up for free with locals in Tokyo who can show you the best restaurants in Shinjuku that you won’t find on the internet! Download it here now and join the meetup group here!
Best Sushi in Shinjuku
Sushi bars can be found all over Shinjuku ranging from the cheap and cheerful to fine dining experiences. At the lower end of the price scale, why not try Himawari Sushi or Numazuko? Also reasonably priced is the tiny 7-seat Sushidokoro Shigeru, a Michelin awarded sushi restaurant in Tokyo. Finally, for sushi with a twist you could pay a visit to Zauo Shinjuku, a restaurant where you catch your own fish before the staff serve it up to you either cooked or as sushi!
Golden Gai Bars & Restaurants
The Golden Gai area in Shinjuku refers to a small collection of side streets and alleyways lined with bars and restaurants. Whilst some of these establishments are tiny bars reserved for regular drinkers, there are a few spots to eat at which are tourist-friendly and you can soak up the lively atmosphere. For Japanese cuisine try ramen at Nagi restaurant or Shino Izakaya. After eating, stop by one of the quirky bars such as gothic themed Albatross or 80s throwback Kenzo’s Bar. Just be sure to check before you sit down if there’s any cover charges to avoid any surprises when the bill arrives!
Themed Dining Experiences: Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku
Most tourists coming to Tokyo have heard about Shinjuku’s robot restaurant. Whilst it’s not exactly somewhere you would visit for the high-quality cuisine; the Robot Restaurant continues to attract visitors from all over the world thanks to its crazy show featuring performing robotic monsters and dancing girls. For other themed dining experiences in Shinjuku, you could also try visiting the Ninja restaurant where ninja servers perform magic tricks for diners, or The Lockup, a prison-themed establishment where you dine in cells and monsters roam the hallways.
Cocktails and Karaoke Bars in Shinjuku
Of course, we all know that no visit to Tokyo would be complete without a visit to a karaoke bar to indulge in a spot of Japan’s favorite pastime. However, did you know that most karaoke bars also serve substantial snacks too? One of Japan’s most popular karaoke chains, Karaoke Kan, has a branch in Shinjuku with private rooms that offer spectacular night views of the city. Speaking of spectacular views, if you want to splash out on cocktails then visit the Peak Bar on the 41st floor at the Park Hyatt from 5-8pm and you can enjoy their ‘Twilight Time’ offer, unlimited drinks and canapes for less than 5,000 yen per person.
Daytime Dining – Shinjuku Cafes
If you’re visiting Shinjuku during the daytime, then a visit to the Golden Gai bars is probably not going to be top of your list. Luckily there’s plenty of cool cafes in the Shinjuku area to stop by for a coffee or spot of lunch when you’re feeling in need of a rest. If you’re looking to try out a retro Showa-era style café then check out Coffee L’Ambre or indulge in a Japanese-style parfait or fruit sandwich at the Futaba Fruits Parlor which dates back over 75 years. For more modern-day vibes, try visiting the cafe within the Story Story bookstore which has weekday lunch-sets for 1,000 yen or the Bistro Café Ladies & Gentlemen for French influenced cuisine and speciality teas.
If you’re looking to meet up with locals in the Shinjuku area, download the OodyMate app here to arrange a fun foodie meetup!