Stroll in Shinjuku: Tokyo locals & city life. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell.

shinjuku skyline, tall buildings

And now, for something a little different: a walking tour of Shinjuku, Tokyo.

I’ve been trying to up my photography game in 2014, and there’s no better way to practice than by walking around a city and taking impromptu photos. I hope you enjoy these little slices of Japanese life, seen through my camera lens.

japanese girl with cell phone

Here’s a typical sight by Shinjuku subway station: commuters waiting at the entrance gates for their friends. Most pass the time by staring at their cell phones, like this girl in a cute pom-pom hat.

tokyo bicycle rack

As you may know, nobody steals in Japan. Cyclists leave their bikes on the side of the road, unlocked. This officer is merely lining up the bicycles so that they don’t interfere with pedestrians on the sidewalk.

japanese bicycles

There simply isn’t a culture of stealing (people usually get their wallets back when they lose them). And punishments are so harsh for petty theft that it isn’t worth the attempt.

japanese traffic cop

Sometimes, it seems the main job of police officers is to wave traffic along, and help befuddled foreigners find their way!

evangelion store tokyo

Near the West exit, I spotted an Evangelion pop up store. Do you know the names of these anime characters?

ghost in the shell anime poster

Towering above the East exit: a giant Ghost in the Shell poster. Anime and manga are ubiquitous here.

alook glasses, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Harajuku pop queen Kyary Pamyu Pamyu remains popular. She models glasses and tentacle-like hair for A-Look Eyewear.

bicycle seats tokyo

More metal bicycles on Shinjuku Dori. This is the road that leads to Marui Annex, the current home of Goth Loli Punk alt fashions.

japan advertisement trucks

You’ll always see trucks decorated with striking ads, driving around the busiest streets.

cute music trucks tokyo

The graphics are eye-catching and frequently feature “kawaii” characters.

cute girl japanese anime

How can you resist staring into the eyes of this doll-like girl?

daigo japan musician poster

Ad trucks also blast music and showcase the new releases of major artists.

jpop singer daigo

Singer-songwriter Daigo had his face plastered on this one.

small brown dog wearing clothes

Small dogs are easier to house in cramped apartments, so many Japanese prefer them to large ones. In a trendy cafe, a couple was eating lunch with their little brown toy dog, dressed in a shirt.

japanese keep out warning sign

Love this stern sign, featuring a man’s eyes done in Kabuki makeup.

japanese boys, teens

Three stylish Japanese guys, captured in a moment of laughter.

japan manhole cover, flower art

Don’t forget to look down. Many of Tokyo’s manhole covers are decorated with art. This one is a sakura flower or white cherry blossom.

neon signs kabukicho

When it gets dark, Kabukicho (the host club and entertainment district) glows with neon letters and lights.

motorcycle mirror reflection

Rainbow reflections from a motorcycle, parked in front of Don Quixote (the inexpensive general goods store).

rearview mirror reflected photo

This rearview reflection captures the crowds, colors and craziness that are uniquely Shinjuku.

rainbow hair japanese man

Near the subway station, various bands perform and cell CDs, often within meters of each other. This rainbow haired Visual Kei musician sang in the most remarkable opera-meets-atonal voice.

shinjuku street at night

Shinjuku is perfectly safe at night, so I encourage you to stroll around, and take photos of the magic.

What do you think of this travel feature? Would you like to see more posts like this?

PS: I’m currently in Toronto, and loving the scene here. There are previews of my alternative travels on my social networks (@lacarmina, linked in the right sidebar if you want to follow).


  • Francesca

    Loved this article, more please! xxx

  • GREAT photography!!! Can’t wait to get back there…maybe late this year??

    • I’m more interested in exploring other parts of the world, to be honest… Got anything lined up in the next while?

  • Britan

    I love diz so much.

  • Rory


  • K.Joe

    SO COOL! Kyaryyyy!

  • Wet


  • Baa

    oooh, aren´t those purdy

  • Alcy

    Ahh, you saw the Momoko truck! Did they hand you the sleazy magazine, too? It went into graphic, yet excessively polite description of work in such fine establishments as soaplands and pink salons!

  • jarman


  • Sarah lsis

    OhOh love this

  • brenda

    are you going to design festa

    • not this year but I have coverage from 2 dif years on my site!

  • Julia

    love the bikes shot!

  • MelissaR

    Love this post and that dog is ADORABLE!! <3

  • ave

    sounds like fun

  • Diana

    Congratulations on the new feature!

  • Idol

    Awesome x

  • LES

    You’ve got a winner here!!!!

  • Bao


  • Celia

    ( *^ U ^*)

  • April

    Yayyyy booked my hotel in shinjuku for September!!! Can’t wait :))
    Any locals on here that can show me around?? Adds me pleaseee

  • Brad

    Walking tours can be really neat in cities designed for walking. Obviously extensive editing may be required ;)

  • Tamashi


  • Natalie

    … we went here – I thought it was great x

  • Habe

    Great will check if out

  • Vee Kiu

    I heart Shinjuku

  • Christoffer

    view from the top floor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at
    Shinjuku is amazing during night time! It’s one of the things I miss the
    most from my trip to Japan with a friend. The restaurant on the top
    floor of the north tower is really good, and they play live lounge piano
    music sometimes as well.

  • Eric

    some great snaps there, thanks!

  • Ken Chow

    Fast living pace

  • Dennis

    Had some fun times in Shinjuku!

  • gigi4747

    Like these, really like the manhole cover :) I lived in Japan and went back for a week a few years ago. I took a photo of a manhole cover in the town where I had lived. It was a castle town, which was represented on the manhole cover.

  • Clod

    I love it

  • Lea

    Beautiful pics! Makes me want to get my Polaroid out again.

  • Carol

    Akihabara was more fun.

  • Dac

    thank you! I used to go often to shinjuku.

    • Awesome! It’s one of my favorite districts, lots of Goth and underground places here.

  • Cynthia

    i was there!!!!!

  • Debbie

    I can’t wait to go back!

  • Eugenia

    Have been to this place…

  • Tina A

    this made me miss Japan T-T