SHINJUKU, SHIBUYA, AND MORE

The buzz of modern Tokyo trends and commercialism writ large and bright.

From ¥4,900/person (~US$45)
Private Tour 4 Hours (approx.) 1+ People

Tour Introduction

To the newly-initiated it may not be readily apparent, but the west and east sides of central Tokyo are very different animals. The west side, which includes big name neighborhoods like Shinjuku and Shibuya, is actually much newer than its cousins on the east side, including Ueno and Asakusa, and even around the Tokyo Station area. On this tour of Tokyo private tour of the west side, we provide you with an immersive experience through the neighborhoods of Shinjuku, Harajuku, Omote Sando and Shibuya. Despite these areas being only a few minutes apart on the Yamanote (Loop) Line, they have very distinct architectural identities and are largely frequented by different ages and types of people. Let us be your private cultural explainer on this whirlwind adventure through areas often referred to as the center of “Cool Japan".

Historic Landmarks

Since this Tokyo private tour focuses on the west side of the city, the mix is going to be heavier on cultural landmarks than historic ones.

Professional Guide

Real English, real skills, and great personalities. Our guides have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with interesting, fun, and memorable tours.

Fully Narrated Tour

Our tours never leave you to wonder about on your own. Your guide stays with you the whole time, unless, for example, you want a bit of time to roam a garden or have lunch on your own.

Easy Access

This tour starts just outside a rail or subway station, making meeting up an anxiety-free experience.

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Tour Overview

We start at Shinjuku, home of the busiest train station on Earth, at the north end of our exploration zone for the day. It’s said that Shinjuku has something for everyone, and at just about any time of day. The area’s success was not by accident. Post-war Tokyo was rezoned and master planned so as to preserve some of the older areas (the types of places we go on our Tokyo East Side Private Tour) while re-inventing others at larger scale, as more suitable to the modern age. Shinjuku and Shibuya are two of the three master planned hubs. With the other being Ikebukuo up on the north end of the Yamanote Line. In all three of these areas, suburban train lines bring in excitement-hungry (or just work-hungry) denizens from the more far-flung areas of this 46 million person region, while the subways in each of these hubs take it from there for core trips. The result is an area with superior transit accessibility, which in turn leads to the higher density land uses that often wow visitors.

What to expect in Shinjuku and Shibuya on your Tokyo private tour

For locals and visitors alike, shopping is a treat in both these areas. It’s a private tour, so we are happy to assist with this as you like, but for most of our guests, keeping it to window shopping as we explore the areas is sufficient. Whereas Shinjuku focuses on more mainstream shopping venues, Shibuya skews younger and a bit more independent. Shinjuku has lots more to offer besides shopping though, we were going to take you through the famous eating and drinking areas to give you some nighttime ideas and if you know where to look - and we do! There are some interesting art and cultural treasure to be found here. Finally, assuming the weather is decent, we think a stop at Shinjuku Gyoen can be a highlight. These expansive gardens are a feast for the eyes, and are presented in various styles and approaches. Our time in Shibuya will be an expose of sorts of Japanese modern culture as geared primarily towards the youthful set. The area has a tame funkiness and mild avant garde vibe to it, and we love to show you some of the hidden bits.

And now for the more extremes of the spectrum

Right next to each other and also between Shinjuku and Shibuya lies Harajuku and Omote Sando. Harajuku is young. The most famous street, Takeshita-dori, largely exists to court the 12-16 years of age market, though the slightly older also slip in unperturbed! This is Japanese pop culture at its most uninhibited, and is sure to validate your preconceived notions about Japanese youth culture! Just across the way from Harajuku we’ve Omote Sando, where the understated wealthy do their bidding. The usual big luxury brands are all in attendance, but it is the maze of backstreets where the more interesting can be found for fashionistas. You may never have seen a place in your life where understated wealth oozes so quietly.

A well-balanced bouquet

Our Tokyo private tour gives you mainstream modernity in Shinjuku, youth culture in Harajuku and then Shibuya, the wealthy set in Omote Sando, and on top of all that, a nice garden thrown in too. As it is a private tour, changes can be made based on your preferences, so please do feel free to inquire.

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Itinerary

The busiest train station in the world opens up to one of the most buzzing districts of Tokyo. This neighborhood has a little something for everyone, and a big garden for all.

About 90 minutes.

Japanese young youth pop culture and its most colorful and bubbly. Prepare for a shock to the senses. About 30 minutes.

Refined, high style lifestyles on display – but you’ll have to look carefully to see the best bits. We’re happy to help with that. This is also a great place to stop for a coffee or otherwise enjooy a little break from walking. About 45 minutes.

As the young (and youngi-sh) cultural center of Japan, cutting edge trends are often on display here first. All the crowds, huge video screens in the sky, and an underground scene to boot. Great people watching. Around 45 minutes.

High on soul and merchant liveliness, this is an area that has roared into the present from an illustrious past. Also the home of Tokyo National Museum, if you are interested in working that into the schedule. Around 45 minutes.

Historic and Cultural Landmarks

Since this Tokyo private tour focuses on the west side of the city, the mix is going to be heavier on cultural landmarks than historic ones. Much of what we see has still a twinkle in some city planner’s eye during the war. Still, the magnitude and scale of it all from a cultural perspective is awe inspiring. Shinjuku and Shibuya are some of the top names in Tokyo neighborhoods, and the other places we go, while on a slightly smaller scale, are equally deserving of superlatives of their own.

Easy Access

We meet in front of the ALTA Building just outside Shinjuku Station. It’s a popular meeting spot, and easy to find too.

Know Before You Go

There are a couple of things we’d like you to take note of before joining us.

  • Please come wearing comfortable shoes. We do a fair bit of walking. For those who wish to avoid too much walking, please let us know and we will make our best attempt to suitably modify the itinerary.
  • We’ll be outdoors most of the time, so do keep the weather in mind

Inclusions:

  • All guide costs

Exclusions:

  • Your transportation (figure between 300 yen per person, all of which will be on JR)
  • Food and drinks. We will recommend a coffee stop in Omote Sando.

Options:

  • Pickup can be arranged by request. This means we will gather you about 30 minutes before tour start (we’ll confirm the timing based on your location). Fees below do not include your transportation cost, but we can tell you exactly how much that will be once we know your location. Prices below are for the entire group.
    • Within central Tokyo (along or within the Yamanote (loop) Line: 5,000 yen
    • Odaiba: 7,000 yen
    • Other areas: Please inquire.
  • Extensions are available at 4,000 yen/hr. Please discuss how you would like to use extra time with us in advance.

Our Tour Guides

We've got around a dozen guides at your service. Here we showcase a few of our most active ones.

Kevin

We think it's important that everyone who works for Pinpoint Traveler is an active guide too, even the owner. Kevin's been in Japan thirteen years, but spent the first ten in the corporate world. Now he shares his love for Japan outside the confines of the office.

Shoji

Born in Japan, but moved to Canada when he was still quite young, Shoji is back and ready to share is passion for Japan with you. His main dominion is Osaka and on down to Koya-san and Wakayama, but he's such a popular guy that we often send him even further afield by request.

Mardi

Mardi's our Kyoto guide-in-chief, and her love for the city is infectious. She's got an uncanny ability for giving people just the right amount of information while still ensuring the tour stays light and fun. Be it temples and shrines, gardens, or nightlife, Mardi's your gal.

Dan

Dan is a Spaniard, so of course his Spanish is native level, but his English is fantastic as well. He's got a warm personality and consistently makes our guests feel like they've made a new friend within minutes of meeting him. He also knows Osaka and Kyoto like no one's business!

Levy

With nearly twenty years in Osaka, Levy's got this place WIRED. He's a major samurai and history aficionado, and in addition to knowing all the top sights like a true pro, he knows Osaka's nightlife better than (dare we say it!) the vast majority of Japanese who call Osaka home. Levy's originally from Israel, and runs tours in Hebrew too.

Suzie

Suzie is Japan born and raised, and we can't recommend her enough for tours in Tokyo and Yokohama. Our prior guests frequently say nicer things about Suzie than any of our own mothers have said about us! The consummate pro, she's not just got all the info, but also an uncanny knack for knowing what to show our guests.

Not profiled here are guides who speak Spanish (Kyoto, in addition to Dan in Osaka), French (Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo), and German (Kyoto and Tokyo).

Pickup Point

Shinjuku's a busy place, but finding the ALTA building shouldn't be too hard since it's got a giant English sign on the building and it's right in front of the station.

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