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Shinjuku

Out and about!


View Lebanon 1st Trip - 1999 & Japan 1st Trip - June 2019 & Lebanon 3rd Trip - 2000 on tmulcahey's travel map.

When my son and I arrived at the Airport (Haneda), one of the first things that you will notice if you are looking around is that everything is color-coded and marked. Whether it’s the Limobus, the Monorail, the Metro Line, or the Taxi area.
As we took the Monorail, it arrived in a timely manner (we waited about 5 minutes), and it took us to Tokyo Station. From there, we hopped onto the Yamanote Line headed for Shinjuku-ku Station. As stated in a previous blog, to call this depot large is a gross understatement. The Yamanote line, incidentally, is easily noticeable. It is the giant GREEN circle. You will see all kinds of routes branching off of it, with their own colors, but the Green Circle *IS* the Yamanote Line, and so long as you are running around in Tokyo, this will be your primary subway-metro line. You will also note that wherever you are there should be a red box around the station you are in. The kiosks that you buy the tickets from DO have an English Nav-tab, in the upper right-hand corner. Just hit that if you can’t read the Japanese.
Our hotel was called the Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado in Shinjuku. Let me tell you, this is (in my humble opinion) the best place I’ve been to in many, many years. Although it was for men only, it is 5 minutes’ walk from just about anything you could imagine. It is right next to the Shinjuku Station on the East side; it is just a few blocks from the downtown of Shinjuku.

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We were able to walk, for example, to Piss Alley, the Red-Light District, and just about everywhere else. On foot, most of these places could be reached within 10-15 minutes. It may look like it’s in a bad spot, given that the access is on a small side road, but do not let that fool you! The hotel is super easy to find, and less than 100 feet from the ever-present McDonald's which I noted are just about everywhere.
There is music playing in the lobby and outside. I can still hear it in my head 2 months later. It is quite relaxing and calming flute with bells music. Reminiscent of traditional Japanese music. Its like Root Beer. You may hate the taste initially, but with each passing day, you start to like it more and more. Also, the hotel has a very interesting WiFi. I found that if I walked off the floor I was on (Floor 7), that I would lose the WiFi within 3 feet. That was most interesting. However, all the floors have WiFi, and if you are willing to take a few minutes on your phone to set it up, you will keep the wifi signal between floors.
Breakfast was on the 3rd floor (Onsen’s on the 2nd). It was a rice cake that you would put things into, and all you could drink juice or coke, etc… You would have breakfast in the library section, where all the tables were located.
I found the people of Shinjuku to be exceptionally polite, and very nice. They were helpful with directions if you happened to ask and were polite about asking them. The signs, while many are in Japanese, occasionally you will see them in English. Restaurants tended to have some kind of English for ordering. You could just point to the item you were interested in and they would happily provide.
Like many places in Japan, my son and I checked out a different Ramen noodle shop every morning. IchiRaman was one of them, MaxRamen was another. The MaxRamen was my personal favorite and was only 2 blocks north of the Anshin Oyado Hotel where we stayed. They had, like many of the Ramen shops, a kiosk where you would select items (some of these kiosks do not have English, so keep that in mind!). You select what you want in that bowl, how big, noodles, etc... you insert your money and hand the ticket to the Ramen Noodle chef, and then find a place to sit.
Service is fairly fast, depending on how many people are there. We didn't run into many because we frequented the shops in the morning for breakfast. Our bowls were served with 2 eggs. One chicken egg and one quail egg. To say that the morning meal was delicious would be the understatement of the year. I've never had such a tasty meal in many, many years. And its big. This is not a small bowl you are given. It's huge, and it will fill you up. Several times, my son and I would eat this tasty meal and still not be hungry around dinner time!

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Shinjuku's streets are clean. Very clean. This is amazing when you realize that as you are walking around and admiring the cleanliness of the place, that you are hard-pressed to find many garbage cans. In fact, there were a number of times where I found myself walking around holding my garbage for an hour because I couldn't find a bin to put it in. I ended up taking it back to the hotel. Word of advice: don't be the person who enters a place of business just to toss out some rubbish if you're tired of carrying it around. You'll get the stink eye for it, and who could really blame them! I ended up bringing a small plastic bag with me and I would fill it up as we walked around the city. Bringing it back to the Hotel wasn't an issue, and you will notice that the Hotel Employees completely understand what you did, and are extremely proud of you for keeping their city clean!
A word about the Oyado Capsule Hotel... the people who work here take politeness and generosity to a new level. Space is limited, so if you have a ton of luggage, be mindful of that. To that end, the employees understand that you may have a large luggage, and they will put it in the back room for you, because the lockers are incredibly small. Furthermore, you had better get used to taking your shoes off at the entrance. To the people who have never been to Japan before, this is no joke to them. They are most serious about no shoes past the threshold. They happily provide house slippers for you (mine never worked as my feet are Bozo-the-Clown sized, and flat!).
This hotel also comes with an Onsen. If you've never been to one... I would recommend this hotel for that alone. An Onsen is a hot spa. Its magical, and you feel quite refreshed. The Hotel provides you with hair shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste... everything you require, and its all part of the price (which came out to about 50USD per person per night). And it was worth EVERY PENNY.
One of the other things you are going to discover very quickly is that Shinjuku Station, on the surface, is split by a large highway. The trains that head north on the Yamanote line can be accessed on the northern section of the station, whereas the trains heading south on the Yamanote like are accessed on the southern section. This may seem stupidly obvious, but you will have quite the time navigating from the southern section to the northern section if you enter on one side hoping to get to the other quickly.

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A note about Piss Alley. I took my son there, and walked away with two things. First... if you do not like crowds, don't go. That place is packed. Its about 300 feet long with probably 100 mini-restaurant stalls. It is open air, and people are crammed in there. The alley itself is about 4-5 feet wide, and just walking through it is an experience. Add to this that a good number of people in there are pretty sloshed.
Second, is if you have Asthma... don't go in there without taking some kinda precautions (I don't have asthma personally, but I can't imagine someone with it enjoying walking through 300 feet of open air grilling smoke, with hundreds of smokers all puffing away). It is cramped, if enough of those open grills are cooking, a nice layer of smoke hangs in the air, which masks the smell of all the alcohol quite nicely... but if you go on a Friday or Saturday night, I promise you that once you have passed through, you are going to smell like a dinner, because that smoke will cling to you nicely.
The Red Light District we passed through, and the only thing I would say about that is that if you wish to go there, you should stick to the well-lit areas. It isn't like you are going to get mugged or robbed or anything, nothing like that at all... but some parts of it can look a bit seedy and the occupants are, shall we say, quite obvious in what they are there for and what they are offering. Because my son is only 15, we avoided the less lit areas, but even in passing you could tell what was going on there. I'll give a hint to you; you've never seen so many hotels that are selling their time by the quarter and half house as you will if you stop by.

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Shinjuku also has the Bic Camera stores. Holy.... I mean.... just.. wow. The one that I took my son to had technologies there that made me weep. I saw, for example, an 8k UHD 100" LED Television in there. Last I checked, we only had the 4k's where I live. Every floor has different items. Its an 8-story labyrinth with just about anything you might need. It is Japan's version of a Big Box Store... only nicer.
My son and I remained within Shinjuku for a week, at the Capsule Hotel. While a Capsule hotel may not be for everyone, I can assure you that you would regret it if you didn't try it at least once. The only downside is whether or not someone else in that area is snoring. Mercifully, no one did while we stayed in the Capsule Hotel in Shinjuku.... the same cannot be said for the one we were in while at Osaka. We had (and I still laugh about this) at least 4 individuals who were apparently having a log-sawing contest to see who is the loudest. The guy in Capsule 145 won. He shook the walls. Ha!
Also, the Pachinko Parlors are quite nice, if you have any concept on how to play the game. They're also loud. You won't see many people in them before the sunset, but in the evenings... wow. They're packed.
I am uploading various photos onto my site of Shinjuku and Tokyo. Take a look at them, and leave a comment or two if you like! Next, I'll talk about Akihabara, Tokyo Station, Roppongi Hills, and Harajuku!

Posted by tmulcahey 08:21 Archived in Japan Tagged tokyo vacation shinjuku haneda capsule ramen oyado

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