Shinjuku: vibrant architecture, exquisite department stores and lovely gardens
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The ultra-modern Skyscrapers in Shinjuku are a stark reminder of the economic power that emerged in Japan from the 1960s onwards until the bubble economy of the last twenty years. However, in Tokyo it is hard to imagine that Japan’s economy keeps on going from small economic growth to stagnation and back to minor growth.
Therefore, when you arrive in Tokyo or if you are a Tokyoite it is abundantly clear that this city is dynamic and the environment is based on modernity, high octane shopping and despite the huge numbers of people the city keeps on ticking.
Amidst all the modernization are gems which remind you of the past and this is especially applicable to architecture, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Also, the stunning gardens are often linked to a rich history because each exquisite garden will have its own history and special factor behind the refined layout.
The huge skyscrapers in Shinjuku are amazing and the ultra-modern architecture is visually pleasing. When I first visited Shinjuku I could imagine Blade Runner and this part of Tokyo made London and Manchester seem miniscule when it came to power and size.
Also, the shopping complexes are huge and you have many top notch fashion companies and department stores and the quality is exquisite in the upmarket part of Shinjuku. Therefore, each different department store must compete and create its own image because the market is very competitive and the changing nature of fashion, thinking and lifestyles, means that department stores need to stay a few steps ahead.
Major department stores in Shinjuku and Nishi Shinjuku include Isetan, Keio, Lumine, Marui, Mitsukoshi ALCOTT, Odakyu, Takashimaya and Mylord. Each department store provides quality of the highest and the service is second to none in the world and Japan is famous for this. Therefore, you are certainly spoilt for choice in Shinjuku if you like exquisite shopping and of course you have so many different styles of shops and the area changes quickly and caters for a huge variety of goods.
It is unfair to pick any one individual company because they all have a wide selection of brands and I am more familiar with Lumine but also visit Odakyu and Keio often and my visit to Takashimaya was very pleasurable. Also, I know that Isetan is widely liked throughout Japan and Mitsukoshi, despite setbacks in Ikebukuro after closing their store, is very different in places like Shinjuku, Nihonbashi and Ebisu. In truth, Ikebukuro clashed too much with the nature of Mitsukoshi and this department store is vibrant in Shinjuku.
The Mylord complex is also a great place to relax and it is affiliated with Odakyu and during my early time in Tokyo it was my main place for hanging out in Shinjuku.
Marui One will appeal to fashion lovers because of the sheer diverse nature of this department store which caters for a whole spectrum of fashion. This applies to catering for Tokyo fashion, fantasy fashion, modern kimono, princess fashion, casual styles, romantic designs, unique styles, Visual kei, Gothic, Lolita and dreamy fashion.
Shinjuku train station is the busiest in the world and clearly you can imagine from this fact alone that central areas are awash with people. Therefore, Shinjuku Gyoen is a welcome place to visit in order to escape the madding crowds, to take a welcome break from shopping or to visit only this part of Shinjuku. After all, the gardens are extremely beautiful and varied within Shinjuku Gyoen and I often just visit the gardens and have a quiet coffee and then return to more sedate parts of Tokyo.
Shinjuku Gyoen in history was an imperial garden but this changed after World War Two and it became a national garden with pre-eminence in Tokyo because of its prime location and the garden size is very large.
Within Shinjuku Gyoen you have three diverse styles and this applies to English landscape, French formal and traditional Japanese. These distinct styles mix delightfully and the traditional Japanese tea house is an elegant feature within the gardens.
The whole park is a great place to relax and witness many stunning views and the ponds express the natural beauty in more detail. Also, the three different garden styles mingle well within the whole complex and the pond areas are delightful and will lift up the spirits of all who view the natural beauty on display.
The sheer size of Shinjuku Gyoen also means that you have many quiet areas and you can block out all the stresses of life. Or if life is already going great then you will feel even better because you can spend hours by yourself or with friends and just enjoy your special day in such sublime and lovely surroundings.
Overall, Shinjuku is full of energy and for tourists it is a must place to visit and the nightlife is very vibrant.
http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/index.html Shinjuku Gyoen
http://tokyofashion.com/photos/?location=Shinjuku Fashion photos
http://maruione.jp/en/ Marui Online Shop
http://info.keionet.com/foreign/index.html Keio Department Store
http://www.odakyu.jp/english/sightsee/shinjuku/index.html Odakyu Department Store and Tourist Information
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3011.html Information about Shinjuku
http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)