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Shinjuku City Ward Featured Image

Shinjuku City Ward Area Guide: Best things to do, History, Areas & Hotels

Do you know about the Shinjuku Ward in Tokyo? It is one of the 23 wards of Tokyo, with various unique neighbourhoods and areas, along with different things to do and sights to see. If you are wondering what is Shinjuku ward, the different areas inside Shinjuku, best things to do, history, accommodation and more, check out this ultimate Shinjuku ward area guide. 

What is Shinjuku City Ward

Shinjuku City Ward What is Shinjuku City Ward 1

Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, which includes the area around Shinjuku Station, has been developed since the end of World War II into what is now known as the Yamanote subcenter. 

Although this area has become one of the central areas of the city, there are surprisingly many rundown apartments and municipal housing complexes where elderly welfare recipients and single foreign households live within easy walking or bicycle ride distance of this city where a large number of commuting businessmen are carried by crowded trains on various railroad lines. Shinjuku City. The high rate of foreigners and the high rate of welfare recipients cannot be ignored.

Shinjuku City Ward What is Shinjuku City Ward 2

The Edo period, when Shinjuku was first established as Naito Shinjuku, is now firmly established as one of the most prosperous districts in Japan, but its Edo period inns were also called iimori inns, which are similar to today’s brothels, and the current Shinjuku Ni-chome area was the center of such inns. 

The Iimori inn was also a kind of brothel in the Edo period, and the current Shinjuku Ni-chome area is its center. The chaos of the various people who gather here stands out more than any other town in Tokyo.

Living in Shinjuku City Ward

Shinjuku City Ward Living in Shinjuku City Ward 1

Shinjuku City is divided into two areas by the Yamanote Line, one to the west and the other to the east. The Shinjuku district on the inside of the Yamanote Line, with the exception of special areas such as Okubo and Toyama Heights, is dominated by old-fashioned shopping arcades with few new residents and towns, and is not an easy place to live. The environment is not conducive to living, with mainly small supermarkets that are little more than convenience stores or private stores with aging shopkeepers.

There is a certain number of “Yamanote line inner city fundamentalists” in Tokyo, who take pride in the area they live in based on the interpretation that “the only real Tokyo is inside the Yamanote line”.

Shinjuku City Ward Living in Shinjuku City Ward 2

There are many high-end residential areas in the upland areas of Yotsuya and Ushigome. However, even in Shinjuku City, there are areas such as Tomikyucho, where recently large-scale redevelopment projects have been carried out and new residents are pouring into the area.

Outside the Yamanote Line, there are areas such as Nishi-Shinjuku, Kita-Shinjuku, Ochiai, and Nakai, but these residential areas are not much different from those in Nakano City. Even in areas near the skyscrapers of Nishi-Shinjuku, surprisingly ramshackle apartments are still common, so even poor people can afford to live there. In fact, there are quite a few foreign workers living in the shabby apartments near the Okubo and Shin-Okubo stations, and the population is remarkably multi-racial.

History of Shinjuku City Ward

Shinjuku City Ward History of Shinjuku City Ward 1

On March 15, 1947, the former Yotsuya, Ushigome, and Yodobashi wards were merged to form Shinjuku-ku. This name was adopted not only because of its historical origin, but also because Shinjuku Gyoen and Shinjuku Station are famous throughout Japan and are universal.

The current Shinjuku City was formed on March 15, 1947 through the merger of the former Yotsuya, Ushigome, and Yodobashi wards. Yotsuya and Ushigome wards had been created in 1878 as one of the 15 wards of Tokyo Prefecture, while Yodobashi ward was still divided into Yodobashi-cho, Okubo-cho, Totsuka-cho, and Ochiai-cho in Toyotama County.

As urbanisation progressed, the population of these four towns grew 62% in 1930 compared to 1920, and the administrative gap between the city and county sections became noticeable. This led to a movement to annex the city section, and in October 1932, the four aforementioned towns were annexed to form Yodobashi Ward. 

Shinjuku City Ward History of Shinjuku City Ward 2

By this time, the area around Shinjuku Station was crowded with department stores, movie theaters, theaters, cafes, etc., and had transformed into a major shopping area, replacing Yotsuya and Kagurazaka, which had been famous as the uptown shopping areas since the Meiji era.

The Tokyo Air Raid of May to August 1945 completely changed the face of the district. The prewar splendor of the Shinjuku Station area, Yotsuya, Kagurazaka, and Takadanobaba was reduced to a burnt wilderness, and most of the district was destroyed by fire. Before the war, there were 63,295 households in the three former wards, but due to the evacuation of buildings during the war and the war damage, 56,459 households were lost, leaving only 6,836 households.

In the midst of this turmoil, our district is taking steps toward reconstruction. In March 1947, the three wards of Yotsuya, Ushigome, and Yodobashi were merged to form the new Shinjuku City.

Areas in Shinjuku City Ward

Subway Marunouchi Line

Shinjuku 新宿

Shinjuku City Ward Shinjuku

One of Japan’s largest terminal stations. Recently, it has undergone remarkable changes, including the opening of Basta Shinjuku at the south exit. Kabukicho, an underworld district, has been transformed into a healthy major tourist attraction. Foreign tourists take commemorative photos everywhere. 

Shinjuku 3-chome 新宿三丁目

Shinjuku City Ward Shinjuku 3-chome

The towering Isetan was and still is a landmark. It is a shopping town in the Yamanote district of Tokyo that is the counterpart of Ginza. However, the rooster market at Hanazono Shrine is a fair for yakuza-like men, and Shinjuku Golden Gai, where the postwar blue line became a drinking district, is still alive and well.

Shinjuku Gyoenmae 新宿御苑前

Shinjuku City Ward Shinjuku Gyoenmae

This is the closest station to Shinjuku Ni-chome, the world’s LGBT town where gay residents of Nakano Ward gather on the Marunouchi Line. The rapidly developing “24” sauna and example pool rental studio. Formerly a brothel and red-light district that originated in Naito Shinjuku. 

Yotsuya 3-chome 四谷三丁目

Shinjuku City Ward Yotsuya 3-chome

The supermarket Marumasa Foods, the pride of Shinjuku City, and the Oiwa Inari, which is associated with the Yotsuya Ghost Story. Arakicho, a drinking district at the bottom of a valley with a mortar-shaped topography, is an adult’s hideout, and was a red-light district in the old days. The building where Showa-era idol Okada Yukiko committed suicide by jumping off a building at the corner of Yotsuya 4-chome intersection still exists.

Yotsuya 四ツ谷

Shinjuku City Ward Yotsuya

The area around the station is an elite town with Gakushuin Elementary School, Sophia University, and the Bancho district of Chiyoda Ward, the most expensive residential area in Japan. On the other hand, if you go down Entsuji Slope, you will find the valley-bottom towns of Wakaba and Minami-Motomachi in the old Samegawabashi slum, where public bathhouses and wooden apartments are still crowded.

Nishi-Shinjuku 西新宿

Shinjuku City Ward Nishi-Shinjuku

The north side of the Nishi-Shinjuku skyscrapers. The erased place name “Kashiwagi-cho”. Entering Nishi-Shinjuku 8-chome, you will be surprised to see a cluster of wooden apartment buildings that still remain. The area near Nariko Tenjinsha Shrine, famous for its Fuji-zuka, has also been transformed into a high-rise building area by redevelopment.

JR Chuo and Sobu lines

Sendagaya 千駄ヶ谷

Shinjuku City Ward Sendagaya

The area in front of the station is in Shibuya Ward, but the Kasumigaoka Apartments on the south side of the National Stadium are in Shinjuku Ward, where pro-citizens are campaigning against the demolition of the apartment complex, as it is the planned site of the new National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Shinanomachi 信濃町

Shinjuku City Ward Shinanomachi

This religious town is home to the headquarters of the Soka Gakkai, Japan’s largest emerging religious organisation. The recently completed “Kosen-Rufu Grand Vows Hall” is superb. Recently, the town has been interviewed for a special program on the Ikegami election by Teletext, and it may have become more open than in the past. The headquarters of the New Komeito Party is located in Minami-Motomachi at the bottom of the valley.

Ichigaya 市ヶ谷

Shinjuku City Ward Ichigaya

A town of extremes, with the Ministry of Defense, the key to Japan’s defense, and Yasukuni Shrine on the opposite side, but also with Hosei University, where the core group nests, and the headquarters of the General Federation of Korean Industries in the neighborhood. The fishing pond in front of the station is a modest landmark. The Sunadoharacho area is a seriously upscale residential area.

Iidabashi 飯田橋

Shinjuku City Ward Iidabashi

A terminal station in the heart of the city where four subway lines intersect with the JR Sobu Line. The Kagurazaka-dori shopping street, a chalet-like space for adults, is also a vulgar area at the bottom of the hill. The pink movie theater “Kurara Theater,” located in the back alley of Kagurakoji and Michikusa Yokocho, was closed in 2016.

Okubo 大久保

Shinjuku City Ward Okubo

Okubo Street near Okubo Station on the Sobu Line is more Chinese than Korean. The Tokyo Mazu Temple, which was built some time ago, is magnificent. The chaos of the Hyakuninmachi Ward Apartments along the railroad tracks. The mystery of Hyakuninmachi 3-chome, with its toothless lots.

JR Yamanote Line and Seibu Shinjuku Line

Shin-Okubo 新大久保

Shinjuku City Ward Shin-Okubo

The area centering on Okubo Street and Shokunan Street is famous as Japan’s largest Korea Town, but in reality it is an extremely multinational town. Recently, the number of Chinese, Nepalese, and Muslim residents has been increasing. Muslim Yokocho is a foreign country where you don’t need a passport. Southeast Asian women stand around in the back alleys in front of the station. It is still an underworld town.

Takadanobaba 高田馬場

Shinjuku City Ward Takadanobaba

A hangout for students of Waseda University. Yellow signs with student loans are a haunt of students. This station is the de facto terminal for Seibu Shinjuku Line users. There are many Myanmar restaurants mixed in with the gut-busting restaurants for students. It is also known as the Little Yangon of Japan. The pitch-black building in front of the station has also been converted to Myanmar. There is also a Peace Boat office.

Shimo-Ochiai 下落合

Shinjuku City Ward Shimo-Ochiai

A modest area close to Takadanobaba, the area in front of the station is not prosperous at all. On higher ground is Mejiro-Konoe-cho, a seriously upscale residential area. The zero-zero apartments along the railroad tracks are too thin and black.

Nakai 中井

Shinjuku City Ward Nakai

Famous in the past as a dyeing district and a place associated with Fujio Akatsuka, but now it is a run-down riverside town with a Myanmar community in the 1990s that later moved to Takadanobaba. It is conveniently located with two train lines, Seibu Shinjuku Line and Oedo Line.

Subway and Toei Line

Waseda 早稲田

Shinjuku City Ward Waseda

Waseda University’s famous gate town. The flamboyant Bonsyuko designer apartment building in front of the campus. Gutsy cafeterias and many bento box stores for students. The Waseda Service Center, where the Oriental Schindler Chiune Sugihara and Kiyomi Tsujimoto of the Peace Boat were born. The Japan Christ Church Building has become a den of anti-Japanese groups.

Kagurazaka 神楽坂

Shinjuku City Ward Kagurazaka

Kagurazaka Street and Hanamachi, which for some reason has become a hangout for French people. The one-way reversible street, which has become an urban legend that Kakuei Tanaka decided to make it a one-way street. 

Akebonobashi 曙橋

Shinjuku City Ward Akebonobashi

The old home of Fuji Television, which built its bubbly office building in Odaiba. Fuji Television Avenue was renamed Akebonobashi Avenue. The site is a high-rise condominium adjacent to a Korean school. The property is popular among Korean elite households. The former site of Nagai Kafu’s Danjotei has been turned into a facility for the Dalek, to which Masashi Tashiro belongs.

Higashi-Shinjuku 東新宿

Shinjuku City Ward Higashi-Shinjuku

The station is too far away to be named Shinjuku. The original name of the area was Higashi-Okubo. This is the nearest to Shinjuku 6 and 7-chome, where the Kabukicho love hotel district, yakuza apartments, warship apartments, SQUANI headquarters, and old residential areas that do not look very Shinjuku are located.

Wakamatsu Kawada 若松河田

Shinjuku City Ward Wakamatsu Kawada

A composite station name of the Oedo Line, Wakamatsu-cho and Kawada-cho. In front of the station is the Count Ogasawara’s residence, and beyond the Women’s Medical College is the Tokyo Korean School. The tower condominiums built on the site of Fuji Television’s old home and the surrounding area are also full of Korean-language billboards. Another Korean town hidden in the shadow of Shin-Okubo.

Other stations 

Shinjuku City Ward Ochiai

Ochiai 落合: This is a very lonely station with the lowest number of passengers, surpassing Barakinakayama along the Tozai Line. Despite its appearance, it is close to Higashi-Nakano and Nakai, and depending on one’s point of view, it is a town that boasts the convenience of having access to four train lines, making it a town with an unbelievable sense of being a hole in the middle of nowhere.

Nishi-Shinjuku 5-chome 西新宿五丁目

Shinjuku City Ward Nishi-Shinjuku

The western edge of Shinjuku City. A certain bathhouse where the borders of Shibuya and Nakano wards meet is said to have developed into a nightly social gathering place for some people. The remnants of the Twelve Company’s take-in ryokan area, which still has a suspicious atmosphere.

Tochomae 都庁前

Shinjuku City Ward Tochomae

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and Shinjuku Chuo Park. At night, the entire surrounding area becomes a sleeping place for the homeless.

Ushigome Yanagicho 牛込柳町

Shinjuku City Ward Ushigome Yanagicho

Narrow residential area behind the Ichigaya Yanagicho and different temples.

Ushigome Kagurazaka 牛込神楽坂

Shinjuku City Ward Ushigome Kagurazaka

Funabashiya, a Japanese sweets store on Ushigome Chuo-dori, is popular. 

Nishiwaseda 西早稲田: Waseda University students and homeless people hang out in Toyama Park, a secluded area of Shinjuku City that has become more convenient with the opening of the Fukutoshin Line.

What to do in Shinjuku City Ward

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden 新宿御苑

Shinjuku City Ward Nishiwaseda

The Shinjuku Gyoen is a 58.3-hectare garden with a perimeter of 3.5 km that straddles the Shinjuku and Shibuya wards of Tokyo. It was established in 1906 as an imperial garden on the site of the former residence of the Naito family, lords of the Takato domain in Shinshu, and opened to the public after the war. 

The garden is a famous modern Western-style garden, combining a formal garden, landscape garden, and Japanese garden, and its approximately 10,000 trees create a beautiful landscape that changes with the seasons. It has been selected as one of the 100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan, and from mid-February to late April, 1,000 cherry trees of about 65 varieties are at their best.

Find out more about Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden here on Google maps.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 東京都庁

Shinjuku City Ward Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

The main building of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is located in Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. It consists mainly of the famous twin towers, the First Main Government Building, the Second Main Government Building, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Building, and the Tokyo Metropolitan People’s Square. 

The First Main Government Building is a 243-meter-high skyscraper, and the free observation deck on the 45th floor is a popular viewing spot from which to view the entire city of Tokyo. It also houses the Tokyo Tourist Information Center and the National Tourism PR Corner. The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Building, including the floor, the 15th (special budget) committee room, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly PR Corner, are also open for tours.

Find out more about Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building here on Google maps.

Thermae-Yu テルマー湯 新宿店

Shinjuku City Ward Thermae-Yu

This one-day hot spring facility offers one of the largest highly concentrated carbonated baths in the Kanto region, as well as an open-air bath called “Jindai no Yu” that uses natural hot spring water from Naka Izu. The spacious and luxurious building has a lounge for rest and various relaxation facilities, and is popular with female customers and couples on dates. 

There is also a Japanese-style pub, an ethnic restaurant, and a juice stand. Open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. the next morning, it is a convenient spot to take a rest after the last train.

Find out more about Thermae-Yu here on Google maps.

Hanazono Shrine 花園神社

Shinjuku City Ward Hanazono Shrine

Hanazono Shrine is located in a corner of downtown Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, and has been enshrined as the general guardian of Shinjuku since before the Edo shogunate was established. The shrine was called “Hanazono Inari Shrine” because it was built on the site of a beautiful flower garden when it was relocated in the Kan’ei era, from which the current name of the shrine derives. 

Within the precincts of the shrine are the “Intoku Inari Shrine,” which is blessed with prosperity in business, child bearing, and good fortune, and the “Geino Sengen Shrine,” which is dedicated to the god of performing arts, and is visited by many women and entertainers. The Tori-no-ichi (rooster market) held on Tori-no-hi (day of the rooster) every November is the biggest event at the shrine, attracting a large crowd.

Find out more about Hanazono Shrine here on Google maps.

Suehirotei 新宿末廣亭

Shinjuku City Ward Suehirotei

Suehiro-tei is a regular Yose theater designated as a cultural asset of Shinjuku City. The performers change every 10 days, with Kamiseki from the 1st to 10th, Nakaseki from the 11th to 20th, and Shimoseki from the 21st to 30th. The venue is spacious, and you are free to eat and drink, except for alcohol. You can enjoy a meal while watching the performance.

Find out more about Suehirotei here on Google maps.

Shinjuku Southern Terrace 新宿サザンテラス

Shinjuku City Ward Shinjuku Southern Terrace

This is a spot that has attracted a lot of attention, stretching long and narrow along the Odakyu and JR lines from the South Exit of Shinjuku Station. Independent buildings such as cafes and sundry stores are scattered along the green-filled promenade. Southern Tower is home to hotels and restaurants.

Find out more about Shinjuku Southern Terrace here on Google maps.

Samurai Museum

Shinjuku City Ward Samurai Museum

This is a museum of samurai armor, helmets, swords, and other items related to samurai. Visitors can have their pictures taken wearing armor and helmets, and watch a sword fight performed in the museum. There are also a variety of souvenirs.

Find out more about Samurai Museum here on Google maps.

Accommodation in Shinjuku City Ward

Mimaru Tokyo Shinjuku West (4*)

MIMARU TOKYO SHINJUKU WEST is located in Tokyo, 300 m from Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum and 500 m from Zenrosai Hall Space Zero. Popular points of interest nearby include the Intercommunication Centre, Yamano Hall and Kumano Shrine. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Bellesalle Nishi Shinjuku and Memorial Museum for Soldiers, Detainees in Siberia, and Postwar Repatriates. 

Shinjuku Prince Hotel (4*)

Right next to the lively Kabukicho area, Shinjuku Prince Hotel is a 5-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station. It features massage services and a Japanese restaurant with panoramic city views. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from Isetan Department Store and a 10-minute drive from Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. Nearby Shinjuku Station offers direct train access to the Shibuya and Harajuku areas within 5 minutes. The hotel is directly above Seibu-Shinjuku Train Station.

RoNa Hotel (3*)

Located in Tokyo, within 200 m of Okubo Baptist Church and 300 m of Shinjuku Eastside Square, RoNa Hotel provides free WiFi throughout the property. The property is close to Full Gospel Tokyo Church, Inari Kio Shrine and Statistical Museum. Popular points of interest near RoNa Hotel include Itsukushima Shrine Nukebenten, Hozen-ji Temple and Saikoan Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 17 km from the hotel.

THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku (3*)

Open from August 2018, Hotel The Knot Tokyo Shinjuku provides accommodation in Tokyo. 1.8 km from Meiji Jingu Shrine. Guests can enjoy city views. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is 2 km from Hotel The Knot Tokyo Shinjuku, while NHK Studio Park is 2.7 km away. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 17 km from the property.

Hotel Cen (3*)

The property is close to popular attractions like Choko-ji Temple, Korea Museum and Inari Kio Shrine. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Meotogi Shrine, Koizumi Yakumo Memorial Park and Yodobashi Church. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 30 km from HOTEL CEN.

Toyoko Inn Tokyo Shinjuku Kabukicho (3*)

Ideally located in the Shinjuku Ward district of Tokyo, Toyoko Inn Tokyo Shinjuku Kabukicho is 90 m from Inari Kio Shrine, 100 m from Korea Museum and 200 m from Samurai Museum. The property is around 300 m from Choko-ji Temple, 400 m from Godzilla Head and 400 m from Zenryu-ji Temple. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. Popular points of interest near Toyoko Inn Tokyo Shinjuku include Koizumi Yakumo Memorial Park, Okubo Park and Full Gospel Tokyo Church. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 17 km from the accommodation.

Shinjuku Partenza (2*)

Shinjuku Partenza is located in the Shinjuku Ward district of Tokyo, 500 m from Koun-ji Temple and 500 m from Grave of Mokuami Kawatake. Popular points of interest near the apartment include Shokenji Temple, Kyomyoji Temople and Gentsuji Temple. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 33 km from Shinjuku Partenza.

UNPLAN Kagurazaka (2*)

Set in the Shinjuku Ward district in Tokyo, 1.6 km from Yasukuni Shrine, Unplan Kagurazaka features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi throughout the property. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar and cafe, where coffee and lunch is served. Chidorigafuchi is 2.3 km from UNPLAN KAGURAZAKA, while Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is 2.9 km from the property. 

Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule Hotel (1*)

Located in the heart of the lively Shinjuku area, the Kuyakusho-mae Capsule Hotel is 350 m from Shinjuku Train Station. It offers compact capsule beds with a private TV and an alarm clock. The unique capsule rooms at Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule Hotel are placed side-by-side in a large common area.

Bathrooms and toilets are shared, and amenities are provided. Right across the street from the Shinjuku Ward Office, the hotel is a 5-minute walk from Isetan Department Store, the lively Kabukicho area and Shinjuku San-Chome Subway Station. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a 10-minute walk.

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo (5*)

Located in Shinjuku’s Skyscraper District just a 5-minute walk from Shinjuku Train Station, Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo offers sweeping views of Shinjuku. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is less than a 5-minute walk away, and the Kabukicho area is a 15-minute walk. Meiji Jingu Shrine and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden are both about a 20-minute walk away.

What do you think about Shinjuku Ward in Tokyo? Do you like finding out about the history and culture of this interesting area of Tokyo? There is so much history and unique things to do in this local neighbourhood of Tokyo, if you’re interested in coming for yourself, make sure to refer back to this blog. 

We host our own bar tours regularly as well! We take you to all kinds of unique and underground locations around Tokyo, with anywhere between five to fifteen international guests! We’ve also lived in Japan for years and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have, ranging from history, and culture to society and nightlife! Come join us for a great night!

Stay tuned for more information about Japan travel, Japanese culture, moving to Japan, living in Japan and more.

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We’re your local friend in Japan, helping you explore, experience and enjoy the ins and outs of Japan! When we first arrived in Tokyo, we all found this city to be overwhelming, not sure where to begin. During the years that we have lived here in Japan, we have discovered and visited countless famous tourist attractions as well as unique underground places. We are now proud to say that we are experts of Japan and would love to share the knowledge with all of you!

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Hey friend!

Just like you, we are foreigners from all around the world.

When we first arrived in Tokyo, we all found this city to be overwhelming, not sure where to begin.

During the years that we have lived here in Japan, we have discovered and visited countless famous tourist attractions as well as unique and underground places.

We are now proud to say that we are experts of Japan and would love to share the knowledge with all of you!


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