There’s a lot to see and do in Shinjuku, you could spends hours wandering and still not even really leave the station itself (the underground bit of Shinjuku is huge and crazy).
Some of our favourites?
Night view at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buidling. It’s a bit of a chilly walk from the station in winter, but the view is pretty great. And best of all, it’s free! If you go during the day, you can even see Mount Fuji!
Ramen at any tiny little ramen shop. We especially like hole in the wall ramen shops, the seats are all counter and you buy your noodles from a vending machine. It’s especially adventurous if you can’t read Japanese and are solely relying on pictures. We found ramen to be a great option for dinner, given that it’s relatively cheap during dinner compared to restaurants in Japan. Tip: if you want to save money but still eat at a fancy Japanese restaurant, try going for lunch. A lot of the restaurants have set meals during lunch that are a fraction of their dinner prices.
Snacks from everywhere. Including, but not limited to, taiyaki (these Japanese ‘pancakes’ stuffed with filling, shaped like fish) – every flavour, red bean with mochi, matcha, chocolate custard – and Krispy Kreme rum and raisin donuts.
Sashimi dinners. The brother and H went to this little sashimi restaurant they saw on Japanese TV last year and we went back with them this time for some huge slabs of fresh Maguro (so thick and delicious!) and stewed cod. It is a favourite with locals and the menu is entirely in Japanese. We didn’t have a reservation so we had to sit outside (in winter, brrr) but thankfully, there was hot rice, tea and miso soup to keep us warm (oh, and the waitress also brought out a bucket of hot coal to warm us). The exit from Shinjuku station is A15 but other than that, I have no clue how to find my way back there.
Department store basements. You can get pretty much everything you want at a department store basement, even Pierre Hermes macarons (in pistachio and rose, available at Isetan). Our last night in Tokyo, we went down to Isetan and Odakyu around 1/2 hour before closing time. All the food goes on sale and the floors are packed with people trying to score a good deal. If you wait till the last minutes, the sales people will start packing up items in plastic containers and sell the mishmash of items to you at a heavily discounted price – pretty darn awesome if you’re on a budget.