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Shinjuku
新宿区
Special ward
Shinjuku City
Skyscrapers of Shinjuku with Mt Fuji in the background
Skyscrapers of Shinjuku with Mt Fuji in the background
Flag of Shinjuku
Flag
Location of Shinjuku in Tokyo
Location of Shinjuku in Tokyo
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Prefecture Tokyo
Area
 • Total 18.23 km2 (7.04 sq mi)
Population (1 May 2015)
 • Total 337,556
 • Density 18,517/km2 (47,960/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Zelkova serrata
- Flower Azalea
Phone number 03-3209-1111
City Hall Address Kabukichō 1-4-1, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8484

Shinjuku (Japanese: 新宿区 Hepburn: Shinjuku-ku) is a special ward in Tokyo, Japan. It is a major commercial and administrative centre, housing the northern half of the busiest railway station in the world (Shinjuku Station) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the administration centre for the government of Tokyo. As of 2015, the ward has an estimated population of 337,556, and a population density of 18,517 people per km². The total area is 18.23 km². Since the end of the Second World War, Shinjuku has been a major secondary center of Tokyo (fukutoshin), rivaling to the original city center in Marunouchi and Ginza.

Shinjuku is also commonly used to refer to the entire area surrounding Shinjuku Station. The southern half of this area and of the station in fact belong to Yoyogi and Sendagaya districts of the neighboring Shibuya ward.

Geography

Shinjuku street level
Shinjuku office buildings
Shinjuku busker
Man with guitar immediately south of the Shinjuku JR Station, a popular busking location

Shinjuku is surrounded by Chiyoda to the east; Bunkyo and Toshima to the north; Nakano to the west, and Shibuya and Minato to the south.

Shinjuku shopping street1
Shinjuku shopping street
Shinjuku shopping street
Shinjuku shopping area

The current city of Shinjuku grew out of several separate towns and villages, which have retained some distinctions despite growing together as part of the Tokyo metropolis.

  • East Shinjuku (or administratively called Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku): The area east of Shinjuku Station and surrounding Shinjuku-sanchome Station, historically known as Naito-Shinjuku, houses the city hall and the flagship Isetan department store, as well as several smaller areas of interest:
    • Kabukichō: Tokyo's best-known red-light district, renowned for its variety of bars, and restaurants.
    • Golden Gai: An area of tiny shanty-style bars and clubs. Musicians, artists, journalists, actors and directors gather here, and the ramshackle walls of the bars are literally plastered with film posters.
    • Shinjuku Gyo-en: A large park, 58.3 hectares, 3.5 km in circumference, blending Japanese traditional, English Landscape and French Formal style gardens.
    • Shinjuku Ni-chōme: Tokyo's best-known gay district.
  • Nishi-Shinjuku: The area west of Shinjuku Station, historically known as Yodobashi, is home to Tokyo's largest concentration of skyscrapers. Several of the tallest buildings in Tokyo are located in this area, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, KDDI Building and Park Tower.
  • Ochiai: The northwestern corner of Shinjuku, extending to the area around Ochiai-minami-nagasaki Station and the south side of Mejiro Station, is largely residential with a small business district around Nakai Station.
  • Ōkubo: The area surrounding Okubo Station, Shin-Okubo Station and Higashi-Shinjuku Station is best known as Tokyo's historic ethnic Korean neighborhood after World War Ⅱ.
  • Totsuka: The northern portion of Shinjuku surrounding Takadanobaba Station and Waseda University, today commonly referred to as Nishi-Waseda. The Takadanobaba area is a major residential and nightlife area for students, as well as a commuter hub.
  • Toyama: A largely residential and school area, in the east of Ōkubo and south of Waseda University, extending to the area around Nishi-Waseda Station, Gakushuin Women's College and Toyama Park.
  • Ushigome: A largely residential area in the eastern portion of the city.
    • Ichigaya: A commercial area in eastern Shinjuku, site of the Ministry of Defense.
    • Kagurazaka: A hill descending to the Iidabashi Station area, once one of Tokyo's last remaining hanamachi or geisha districts, and currently known for hosting a sizable French community.
  • Yotsuya: An upscale residential and commercial district in the southeast corner of Shinjuku. The Arakichō area is well known for its many small restaurants, bars, and izakaya.

"Shinjuku" is often popularly understood to mean the entire area surrounding Shinjuku Station, but the Shinjuku Southern Terrace complex and the areas to the west of the station and south of Kōshū Kaidō are part of the Yoyogi and Sendagaya districts of the special ward of Shibuya.

Naturally, most of Shinjuku is occupied by the Yodobashi Plateau, the most elevated portion of which extends through most of the Shinjuku Station area. The Kanda River runs through the Ochiai and Totsuka areas near sea level, but the Toshima Plateau also builds elevation in the northern extremities of Totsuka and Ochiai. The highest point in Shinjuku is Hakone-san in Toyama Park, 44.6 m above sea level.

Districts and neighborhoods

* - partially

History

Shinjuku - Night Time (39875792470)
Shinjuku at night

In 1634, during the Edo period, as the outer moat of the Edo Castle was built, a number of temples and shrines moved to the Yotsuya area on the western edge of Shinjuku. In 1698, Naitō-Shinjuku had developed as a new (shin) station (shuku or juku) on the Kōshū Kaidō, one of the major highways of that era. Naitō was the family name of a daimyō whose mansion stood in the area; his land is now a public park, the Shinjuku Gyoen.

In 1920, the town of Naitō-Shinjuku, which comprised large parts of present-day Shinjuku (the neighbourhood, not the municipality), parts of Nishi-Shinjuku and Kabukichō was integrated into Tokyo City. Shinjuku began to develop into its current form after the Great Kantō Earthquake in 1923, since the seismically stable area largely escaped the devastation. Consequently, West Shinjuku is one of the few areas in Tokyo with many skyscrapers.

The Tokyo air raids from May to August 1945 destroyed almost 90% of the buildings in the area in and around Shinjuku Station. The pre-war form of Shinjuku, and the rest of Tokyo, for that matter, was retained after the war because the roads and rails, damaged as they were, remained, and these formed the heart of the Shinjuku in the post-war construction. Only in Kabuki-cho was a grand reconstruction plan put into action.

The present ward was established on March 15, 1947 with the merger of the former wards of Yotsuya, Ushigome, and Yodobashi. It served as part of the athletics 50 km walk and marathon course during the 1964 Summer Olympics.

In 1991, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government moved from the Marunouchi district of Chiyoda to the current building in Shinjuku. (The Tokyo International Forum stands on the former site vacated by the government.)

Economy

The area surrounding Shinjuku Station is a major economic hub of Tokyo. Many companies have their headquarters or Tokyo offices in this area, including regional telephone operator NTT East, global camera and medical device manufacturer Olympus Corporation, electronics giant Seiko Epson, video game developer Square Enix, fast food chains McDonald's Japan and Yoshinoya, travel agency H.I.S., Subaru Corporation (Subaru), railway operator Odakyu Electric Railway, construction giants Taisei Corporation and Kumagai Gumi, medical equipment manufacturer Nihon Kohden, Enoki Films, navigation software company Jorudan, instant noodle giant Nissin Foods, automotive components manufacturer Keihin Corporation, and regional airline Airtransse. The station area also hosts numerous major retailers such as Isetan, Takashimaya, Marui, Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera and Yamada Denki.

Northeastern Shinjuku has an active publishing industry and is home to the publishers Shinchosha and Futabasha. The main store of the Books Kinokuniya bookstore chain is also located in Shinjuku.

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