The ‘shin’ (新) in Shinjuku means ‘new’, originally from when it was a new station on the old highway. This city within a city that never sleeps keeps the ‘new’ in its name well justified, with constant novelties and happenings. Some of the December events in Shinjuku are still ongoing in January, such as the Shinjuku Park Tower Illumination and the Sanryo 45th Anniversary Menu in Shinjuku LUMINE EST. Here is what else is new in Shinjuku in January 2021 and beyond.

If you visit any events and venues, please follow social distancing measures and guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Also, make sure to check for changes in time and dates, since new rules might be in place later that were not there at the time of writing. 

Art Exhibitions

Hiroshige Utagawa "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige Utagawa “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” (1857)

Shinjuku Historical Museum Collection Exhibition “Shinjuku in Full Bloom”

Shinjuku Historical Museum is exhibiting part of its floral collection – about sixty colored woodblock prints and paintings of flowers in Shinjuku. Mostly focusing on cherry blossoms, and some on azalea and other flowers, the works will be on display for two months in the B1F Exhibition Room. Admission is free.

In addition, there will be a lecture on the History of flowers at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden from “Memoirs of Fukuba Hayato”, on March 7, 2021 (reservations are required).

When: Jan 9 – Mar 14
Where: Map

NTT InterCommunication Center New Exhibitions

The NTT InterCommunication Center (NTT ICC) is one of the best places in Tokyo that showcase art and technology intersections. Veering even deeper into cyberpunk territory, “The Museum in the Multi-layered World” exhibition in NTT ICC explores new concepts for exhibiting artworks, prompted by the pandemic and helped by cyberspace. The complex exhibition showcases different works and has both a virtual version and a real-life version, just two layers of our now multi-layered world. Both are free, the virtual ongoing from January 16 to March 31, 2021, and the physical venue exhibiting from January 23 to March 14, 2021. Advance reservations are required.

After their successful exhibition of digitalized interactive Hokusai works in late 2019, NTT ICC has also recently brought back the new Great Wave and the rest of the famous artworks back. Visitors are invited to play with the works, especially The Great Wave Off Kanagawa that can be zoomed in and out with hand motions and the help of VR technology.

Where: Map

Masaya Chiba Exhibition

Masaya Chiba Exhibition

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery is hosting the first large-scale exhibition by the promising Japanese contemporary artist Masaya Chiba. His intriguing works mix still life and sculpture as he paints the detailed textures and materials of intricate compositions he constructs from paper, clay, wood and household items.

When: Jan 17 – Mar 21
Where: Map

Bonsai Workshop by Manabu Hoshino

Manabu Hoshino, an instructor at The Botanical College of Technological Horticulture of Tokyo, will give a special bonsai presentation in Shinjuku Eco Center on February 21, 2021. The event organizers have expressed they particularly welcome students and foreigners. The 2-hour workshop from 1 to 3 pm costs ¥1800 and since the number of participants is limited to twenty you need to apply by email or via the website in advance. Send an email to  [email protected] stating: 1. Class name: “Dento-Bunka de Go (Go by Traditional Culture)!” 2. your name (with furigana), 3. age, 4. address, 5. phone number, and 6. email address. You can also apply via this website.

When: Feb 21, 2021
Where: Map

Food & Drink Novelties

With strawberry season marking January in Japan and chocolate on the horizon for Valentine’s Day in February, the culinary offerings of the city have focussed on sweets and kawaii.

Afternoon Tea Spreads and Buffets in Shinjuku

Hilton Hotel in Shinjuku has started a strawberry buffet from December 2020, in the hotel’s Marble Lounge. The spread is inspired by Alice in Wonderland and aims to satisfy both your sweet cravings as well as your brunch needs, with roast beef, salmon and even Shepherd’s pie on the menu. Hilton’s Bar & Lounge Zatta offers a similar delight named  “Alice’s Bread, “Eat Me” too!” Lunch and Afternoon Tea, which combines decadent savory food such as the Rossini burger with foie gras and truffle sauce on steak, with sweets from the Marble Lounge strawberry buffets.

The famous Park Hyatt’s Pastry Boutique will be offering Valentine’s Day and White Day confectionary sweets from February 1 to March 14, 2021. This luxurious collection of sweets created by their executive pastry chef Julien Perrinet contains pink heart-shaped cakes, chocolate, and Japanese tea truffles, among other offerings.

The nearby Hyatt Regency is having a Strawberry Fair from January 9 to March 31, showcasing strawberries in a savory setting as well, adding them to pizza and roast beef, in addition to cakes and parfaits.

Keio Plaza Shinjuku has turned its attention to the traditional Girls’ Festival or Hina Matsuri in Japanese for their special menu inspiration. They offer traditional kaiseki Japanese lunches crafted by resident chefs to reflect this festival, from February 1 to March 31, 2021.

Takashimaya’s 2021 Valentine’s Fair

Held on the 11th floor of Takashimaya Shinjuku (and at other Takashimaya stores nationwide), this shopping extravaganza named “Amour Du Chocolat!” showcases carefully selected luxury sweets from top chocolatiers around the world. From classic all-time favorites to experimental creations pushing the envelope, every chocolate piece is too beautiful to eat, yet too tasty to waste.

When: Jan 27 – Feb 14, 2021
Where: Map

Know of anything exciting coming up in Shinjuku soon? Anything to add to the list? Send us tips at [email protected]

Here’s what else new in other parts of Tokyo and Yokohama: