Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Get a Local Look at Shinjuku, Shop Right at the Train Station! At Shinjuku Mylord & Flags

When a local Tokyoite says they're heading to Shinjuku for the day, you know that means they're going to shop till they drop! But a shopping trip in downtown Tokyo doesn't have to wear you out; some of Shinjuku's best shopping can be found right outside the train station's ticket gates. Head towards the southern end of "Shinjuku Eki" (新宿駅, Shinjuku Station) and you'll find some of our most highly recommended shopping destinations: Shinjuku Mylord (pronounced "me lord") and Flags. Between these two shopping centers, you'll find everything you need to shop your heart out. Don't get lost down Shinjuku's myriad alleys and avenues, Mylord and Flags have fashion options and music, vinyl records and k-pop, anime goods and lunch offerings including sushi, ramen, and even gourmet vegan meals.

If Shinjuku is a maze, the station itself might just be the knotted center, but slip through the crowds to the southern end and you'll see signs directing you to the two malls. They're both fairly different shopping centers, with totally distinct shops and setups, so the two malls complement each other quite nicely. A loop through both complexes, complete with lunch, fashion updates, and souvenir shopping, makes for a nice afternoon in Shinjuku. Since Mylord, Flags, and even the nearby Odakyu department store are all owned by Odakyu Railways, there are even occasional sales and promotions that continue throughout.

Let's Do Lunch... at Shinjuku Mylord!

Connecting Shinjuku Station's west and south exits is the Mosaic Street (モザイク通り), along which you'll find a handful of the 120+ shops and restaurants that make up Shinjuku Mylord. A tour through the mall's nine floors will take you through a huge variety of stores, selling clothes, cosmetics, and lots of Japanese surprises perfect to bring home to friends, but we're especially fond of the mall's tasty lunch spots.

Shinjuku Mylord
Address: 1-1-3 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access: Shinjuku Station, south or west exit
Official Website (jp)

Mr. FARMER Perfect Whether You've Got a Limited Diet, or You Just Like Your Food to Be Delicious and Healthy

After a trip to the western United States, Akira Watanabe returned to Tokyo inspired by the region's farm-to-table food trends. The "missionary of the farm" decided to open the first Mr. Farmer in 1994, with the aim of bringing local farmers' produce to the masses, in ways that are delicious, healthy, and visually appealing to boot. When you're feeling a little weighed down by a little too much tempura and white rice, a stop at Mr. Farmer will lift you back up. The colorful plates offered include options for vegetarians and vegans, alongside gluten-free dishes and high-protein choices.

The Vegan Burger     with Avocado & Teriyaki Sauce

This entirely vegan burger will not disappoint, especially surrounded by luscious avocado and the zest of a little teriyaki sauce. For the burger-loving vegetarian, this moist and satisfyingly-textured patty complemented by juicy tomato and crisp lettuce will win you over.

Eggs Benedict     with Avocado & Smoked Salmon Trout

If you're more of a pescatarian, these eggs go perfectly with their accompanying smokey fish and creamy avocado. Mr. Farmer's eggs benedict will leave you satisfied, but not sluggish.

Shinjuku Mylord, Mosaic Street
Hours: 9:00 - 23:00 (L.O. 22:00)
Official Website (en)

Mensho San Francisco: Ramen From Overseas

Did you know that the origins of ramen aren't really in Japan, but China? The dish is already international, hopping across the water to find a home all over Japan, and now you'll see it across the globe. Mensho creates unique ramen influenced by its home town of San Francisco, with American quinoa added to the noodles for great texture, and unique broths. Now, after earning a place in Michelin guides and more, things have gone full circle and you can even find it in Tokyo!

Matcha Paitan Ramen (抹茶白湯らぁめん)
One of Mensho's specialties is paitan (白湯) ramen, which uses a chicken broth cooked so long it takes on an almost creamy mouthfeel. This luscious ramen is already delicious, but Mensho takes it to the next level by offering it with added matcha as well. This bowl has a strong green tea flavor, and after slurping up the last drop of the broth, you might just feel like you've finished a huge cup of tea.

A5 Wagyu Beef Ramen (A5黒毛和牛醤油らぁめん)
After 5 pm, our other favorite bowl of Mensho ramen becomes available, an affordable luxury treat for those who love Japan's high-quality beef. The bowl of noodles come in a simple, flavorful soy-sauce based broth, but the whole affair is covered in a delicate slice of A5 (the highest grade) Japanese Black cattle beef. It's a satisfying little taste of this melt-in-your-mouth Japanese delicacy, and at 1,950 yen it won't break the bank.

Mensho San Francisco
Shinjuku Mylord, 7th Floor
Hours: 11:00 - 23:00(L.O. 22:30)
Official Website (jp)

Asahizushi Sohonten: High-Quality Sushi, Made Before Your Eyes

The novelty of conveyor-belt sushi can be tempting, but why not try some of the good stuff while you're in Japan? Traditional, Edo-style "edomaezushi" (江戸前寿司) can be found at Mylord's Azahizushi Sohonten, which might be called a local chain. The Tokyo-based restaurants aim to make affordable and accessible sushi, while keeping quality high and service attentive.

Larger groups might appreciate the shop's bigger tables, but grab a cushy seat at the counter for the most exciting experience. The sushi chef will specially make each piece one by one, right in front of you, ensuring a perfect, fresh bite each time.

Handmade Nigiri Sushi
Sushi fans who love the basics will find plenty to appreciate here, with excellent salmon, and tuna both fatty and lean. But adventurous eaters might enjoy a chance to try something different. Have you had ikura (いくら, salmon egg) sushi yet? Perhaps mackerel sushi is new? Or maybe even a vegetarian option like matsutake mushroom?

Shimotakaido Asahizushi Sohonten
Shinjuku Mylord, 8th Floor
Hours: 11:00 - 23:00 (L.O. 22:30)
Official Website (jp)

Birthday Bar: Snacks and Souvenirs, Before You Go

Birthday Bar probably isn't the place to stop for lunch, but you'll definitely find some tasty snacks there, and plenty of good souvenir options. How does matcha-caramel coated popcorn sound?

Birthday Bar
Shinjuku Mylord, 2nd Floor
Official Website (jp)

Get Some Serious Shopping Done at Flags

The smaller selection of shops at Flags gives it a different atmosphere from Mylord, and you're bound to get caught up looking through one or two of the mall's bigger stores.

Address: 3-37-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access: Shinjuku Station, southeast exit
Official Website (jp)

Tower Records: Still Thriving in Japan as Your One-Stop-Music-Shop

If you miss the days when music stores took prominent places in shopping centers around the world, you'll love a visit to this Japanese Tower Records. The once American company is still holding out in Japan, and the location in Flags takes up four entire floors. CD collectors can browse shelves and shelves of cases wrapped in paper obis, Asian pop lovers can explore the latest singles, and anime addicts can look for their favorite soundtrack.

The cherry on top of this music sundae might just be the top floor, though, which is taken up entirely by a room packed with vinyl records. Tower Records sells high-quality recordings of all kinds, and the record selection includes a huge variety of genres, and both new and used vinyl.

Join the Music Appreciation Club
The floor is even fun for the average music fan, since record players connected to high-quality headphones offer little listening stations right in the store.

Find Out More About Japanese Concerts, or "Lives"

If you've made it to a show in Japan, you'll know that the concert culture is just different from the West! But if you're ready to dive in, Tower Records sells all the accessories you need for a live music experience, and perhaps some you don't. We were especially tempted by the special omamori (お守り) good luck charms, meant to lend you luck finding a great seat or spot at your next show.

Tower Records
Flags, 7th to 10th Floors
Hours: 11:00 - 23:00
Official Website (jp)

New Era: Caps for MLB Players and Fashionistas

With a history of almost 100 years, and almost a quarter of that time spent making the hats used in Major League Baseball, New Era knows their way around a brim or two. These days, it's a go-to spot for caps of all kinds, and more.

Tokyo's the best place to pick up area exclusives, like Japanese brand tie-ups (don't miss your favorite video game characters) and caps proving your visit to Shinjuku.

For true baseball lovers, choose a new team to support while you're in Japan! We might be in Tokyo, but we still love Hyogo's Hanshin Tigers.

New Era
Flags, 4th Floor
Hours: 11:00 - 22:00
Official Website (jp)

Loveless: Style for Tokyo Cityslickers

Japan is the land of "select shops," stores that mainly offer carefully curated selections of products produced by other brands. Loveless is a great example of the distinct style found in a select shop, with a few of their own fashion lines and some well-matched high fashion additions.

With the theme "Indigo & Leather," their 2019 fall looks boast sleek city style.

Those with a sense of style and the heart of an otaku might appreciate Loveless's frequent collaborations. During our visit we saw some pretty chic limited-edition Jojo's Bizarre Adventure items, and they mentioned upcoming Attack on Titan merchandise.

LOVELESS Sunny Side Floor
Flags, 3rd Floor
Hours: 11:00 - 22:00
Official Website (jp)

Looking for More in Shinjuku?

With plenty to eat and plenty to see, a full day in Shinjuku Mylord and Flags is not only feasible, spending all that time right around Shinjuku Station is downright easy. Fill your stomach and your suitcase in one go!

For those who want to spread out a little, though, there are of course other things to do in the area! Take a trip to Kabukicho for wagyu beef, and get overwhelmed with the dazzle of Shinjuku's Robot Restaurant. Shinjuku is bursting with new things to do all the time, so tell us all about your Tokyo adventure on twitter, instagram, and facebook!


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