The new Tokyu Kabukicho Tower is full of entertainment, food and drink – with one caveat – SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Just maybe don’t look out the 10th floor window.

There is a neighborhood in Shinjuku that was once known as one of Tokyo’s red light districts. If you’ve been to Shinjuku, you’ve certainly been there. This is the Kabukicho district, once considered a more polluted part of Tokyo, but which one cannot help but visit when exiting the east exit of Shinjuku Station.

Nowadays, due to improvements to the area, changes in laws and various initiatives, Kabukicho has become a much nicer place to explore, although it still has a lot of character. Now is one of the best entertainment districts in Tokyo, with shops, eateries, cinemas, gaming centers and spas crammed in among the host clubs, cabaret bars and love hotels. And now, on April 14, 2023, a whole new landmark opened in the neighborhood: Tokyo Kabukicho Tower.

This new skyscraper is 53 floors, including five basement floors and 225 meters (about 738 feet) of entertainment. For Kabukicho, this is huge! Tall enough to overlook the famous Godzilla statue that towers over Toho Cinemas. The Tokyu Kabukicho Tower began construction in 2019 and just opened to the public earlier this month. It is quite impressive that such a huge building was built in just four years. It is so monumental that it may just eclipse Godzilla not only in size but also in impression.

Our Japanese reporter Mr. Sato went to the opening day to see what it was all about. He arrived 20 minutes early for the grand opening at 11 a.m. on April 14, but there was already a line of people waiting to get inside, even though it was a relatively small crowd of about 200 people.

Mr. Sato wondered if there would be some kind of countdown to the grand opening, but there was no fanfare as people waited patiently quietly continued to the escalators and were carried into the building. Apparently the opening ceremonies had happened the day before and our office hadn’t even received an invitation. How rude.

Mr. Sato turned around as the escalator slowly ascended to the second floor and he was gifted a view not only of the huge, exciting crowd, but also of Godzilla painted on the side of the Toho Cinemas building, staring open-mouthed as if to say, “Where are you all going?”

The escalator then rose and Mr. Sato entered the brand new Tokyu Kabukicho Tower.

Spread in front of the entrance “Shinjuku Kabukicho Hall ~Kabukicho Yokocho~”, designed to look like a typical “yokocho” or side street. 10 street food stalls were arranged within about 1,000 square meters (almost 11,000 square feet), following the recent rise in popularity of street food.

The bright decorations and lights were no doubt intended to appeal to tourists, but to Mr. Sato, who has been seeing more and more of this kind of neon alley popping up lately, it didn’t seem particularly original. There was some of that bright and scandalous “Japaneseness” that many people have come to love the country that Mr. Sato does not hate.

He hoped to order Square cake (3300 yen [US$24.54]) from one of these restaurants, which is innovative in that it comes in a traditional-style square bento box, but the restaurant wasn’t ready to serve them yet.

Instead, he decided to order Ice Milk Cafe (¥769) and come back for the square cake later.

The third floor was entertainment and restaurant area known as Namco Tokyo. There was a game center, lounges, restaurants and bars all themed around the Namco-Bandai franchise. It was quite crowded there, and Mr. Sato didn’t think he would get very far if he tried to sneak in, so he continued to the next floor.

It was on the fourth floor The Tokyo Matrix, an “attempt to conquer the Shinjuku dungeon,” which looked like some sort of elaborate, realistic escape room. It took up almost the entire floor, so Mr. Sato guessed it would be pretty great, even though he didn’t try it.

The fifth floor had membership gym called Exstionand from the sixth to the eighth floor it was Theater Milano-za, a live theater whose name comes from Shinjuku Milano-za, a monument to Kabukicho history. (Their first production will be the new live-action Evangelion play.) The ninth and tenth floors consist of 109 Cinemas Premium Shinjukumovie theater, and the next open floor was the 17th, where it was JAM17dining area and bar expected.

All other floors, from 18 to 47 are hotel floors, which are expected to open on May 19. Currently, visitors can only go up to the 17th floor, but that’s still pretty high. The building is right next to the Seibu Shinjuku Line Shinjuku station, so you get bird’s eye view of the railroad tracks.

Beyond them, Mr. Sato could see the cluster of office buildings on the western side of Shinjuku Station. All the billboards he was used to looking up at looked awfully short from this vantage point.

The Yunika Vision building, which is quite large in itself, also seemed quite small.

A movie theater on the 10th floor was where you could watch from the Toho Cinemas side. The Gracery Shinjuku Hotel was still higher, so the warped sense of height wasn’t as strong here.

And right below him, Mr. Sato could see…

▼…Godzilla!!

Looking at the Kabukicho symbol from this angle was frankly a bit sad. All that could be seen was the back of the head, which from this angle looked like it was made of paper mache or something, propped up on steel beams like a giant doll. Mr. Sato reasoned that surely its original designers never expected that one day people would be able to look at it from behind. It was heartbreaking to think that the original Shinjuku monument wouldn’t have as much of an impact as this sight ruined its magic.

Mr. Sato abandoned that depressing thought and headed back to the second floor. All this exploring left him hungry, so he started looking for a place to eat, but the second floor was so crowded that it was difficult to navigate. He went down to the first floor.

Finally, he made his way through the bustling crowds at Starbucks on the first floor to find Wagyu Tokku Beef Restaurant, a burger restaurant operated by the popular yakiniku chain Heijoen and located near the back entrance of the building on the first floor.

▼ Their lunch menu revealed that they were a gourmet, upscale burger jointbased on high prices.

Mr. Sato, never afraid of beef, ordered Roast beef burger (1980 yen) with a lunch set that came with fries and a drink for an additional 350 yen.

When his burger arrived, it came with a server carrying a giant pepper mill that they used to season Mr. Sato’s ground beef (unfortunately, Mr. Sato neglected to take a picture of it). The wagyu roast beef was delicious! Overall, the burger does not disappoint the expectations of huge portions and delicious flavors that come with the Heijoen name.

Surprisingly, the Tokyu Kabukicho Tower contains absolutely no offices; it is entirely an entertainment and accommodation facility. In addition to the restaurants, bars, gaming centers and theaters on the upper floors, the basement floors also include a live house and club, so you can find endless entertainment at any time of the day or night. We’d say this new skyscraper perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Kabukicho in a single, albeit gigantic, building. If you’re looking for something new to do in downtown Tokyo, look no further!

Related: Tokyu Kabukicho Tower
Images © SoraNews24

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