7 Useful Tips NOT to Be Lost at Shinjuku Station!

7 Useful Tips NOT to Be Lost at Shinjuku Station!

Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, with hundreds of exits, dozens of platforms, and 3.6 million passengers going every which way daily, has been ranked as the world’s busiest station. No wonder foreign visitors get so easily lost or disoriented, because even we Japanese who regularly use the station can find it confusing. However, navigating Shinjuku Station isn’t too hard, IF you follow some simple tips.



 

7 Useful Tips NOT to Be Lost at Shinjuku Station!

 

1. Get the App!

Recently, East Japan Railway announced a smartphone app specifically for navigating Shinjuku station which will be available in English and Japanese. The app, currently in beta form, should be available by the end of March 2017, well ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics. Using Wi-Fi and other tracking systems, the app determines where a passenger is, including on which floor, and then offers the best route to the destination within the train station.

 

2. Study the Station

In the meantime, if you’re going to be using Shinjuku Station, it may help you to familiarize yourself with the station layout in advance. There are several Shinjuku Station maps online that attempt to show the various gates and levels, some better than others. The JR East website is a good place to start.

 

3. Know Where the Gates Are

It’s probably the location of the 8 gates that confuses most visitors, as some are above the platforms, and others below.

Ticket gates above the platforms are:
South Exit (for Lumine and Takashimaya department stores)
South-East Exit
New South Exit
Southern Terrace Exit

Ticket gates below the platforms are:
West Exit (for Odakyu department store and the skyscrapers)
East Exit (for Studio ALTA and Kabukicho)
Central West Exit
Central East Exit.

 

4. Confirm Your Location

When you get off a train, don’t let yourself get herded along with the crowds or you may end up at the wrong exit. Wait until the platform is clear and take a few moments to check the information board and direction signs. Remember whether you should be going up or down to the exit you want.

 

5. Go South or East for Other Trains

Shinjuku Station not only serves JR lines, but is also a transfer point for several private and Metro lines. For the sake of simplicity, I suggest you use the South Exit to transfer to the Keio, Keio New, Odakyu, Toei Shinjuku, and Toei Oedo Lines. And use the East Exit for the Marunouchi and Seibu Shinjuku Lines.

 

6. Down the Rabbit Hole

Beneath Shinjuku is a warren of passageways and plazas connecting various external stations and locations, with stairway or escalator exits to the street or directly into commercial buildings at regular intervals. Once inside this system, whether via a ticket gate or from the street, it’s just a matter of following the signs to get where you want to go. For example, when I go to Shinjuku, I take the Fukutoshin line to Shinjuku Sanchome Station, some distance East of JR Shinjuku Station. So, if I want to visit Nikon Plaza in the Shinjuku L Tower, way over on the West side at exit A17, I just have to follow the signs that direct me to the A-exits, then follow those all the way to A17. It would take considerably longer to go overground, so learning to use the below-ground passages is really helpful in navigating between locations. Just follow the signs and you can’t go wrong!

 

7. Use the Street

But no matter how well prepared you are for Shinjuku Station and the passageways, it is still possible to get disoriented and think you’re lost. My husband does this all the time! So sometimes, it can help to clear your head if you make for the nearest exit to the street and see where you are on a map. Good old Google maps and GPS will soon tell you where you are and whether you want to try the underground route again, or just use the streets.

 

Conclusion

Shinjuku is an amazing place and well worth spending time to explore, in which case, getting to grips with the world’s busiest station is something you can’t avoid. But if you’re prepared and know where you’re going, the station is well sign-posted enough to make your trip virtually hassle-free. Good luck!

 

7 Useful Tips NOT to Be Lost at Shinjuku Station!

1. Get the App!
2. Study the Station
3. Know Where the Gates Are
4. Confirm Your Location
5. Go South or East for Other Trains
6. Down the Rabbit Hole
7. Use the Street