The Odakyu Department Store in Tokyo's Shinjuku ward is the most imposing sight on the western side of Shinjuku Station, with its 14 stories and sporting a soaring tower-like feature in attractive adobe-colored gradations. It is part of the Odakyu group which runs the railway that goes as far west as the north of the Izu peninsula, and whose Shinjuku station is inside the same complex. The group also operates Odakyu Department Stores in Tokyo's Tamachi and Fujisawa.
Odakyu Shinjuku has 14 floors above ground and two below, all but five of them stocking merchandise. Most of the department store is for women, but there are international boutiques on the first (ground) floor, restaurants on the 12th, 13th, and 14th floors, a men’s department on the 7th floor, a department for “babies, kids and teens” (the “teens” bit being largely wishful thinking!) on the 9th floor, books, stationery and fine art on the 10th floor, and – best till last – food galore on the B2 floor.
The shopping is, as the above suggests, matronly, but matronly is fine when it comes to food. The food floor of the Odakyu Department Store is no match for that of the Isetan Department Store on the east side of Shinjuku Station for elegance and spaciousness, but Odakyu is worth it as an example of milling, old-fashioned market-style cacophony.
The B1 floor is the Shinjuku station underpass, but is also a hive of commercial activity with small shops here and there, and retailers and craftsmen often selling their wares in hired spaces.
Odakyu Department Store was established in 1962 on the site of what is now its annex, HALC. HALC is dominated by the electronic and home appliance megastore, Bic Camera. B2, B1, 1F and 2F of the Odakyu Department Store have walkways to the HALC annex.
There can often be seen a mendicant monk begging for alms at one of the entrances of Odakyu. There is sometimes a Japanese right-wing truck parked out front haranguing shoppers.
The space in front of Odakyu is a large open bus station. Right across from the entrance to Odakyu you can see the shiny, tapered space-age Shinjuku Mode Gakuen tower.
Odakyu Department Store is open from 10am to 8.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 8pm on Sundays and public holidays.
The 13th and 14th restaurant floors are open from 11am to 10.30pm, and the 12th restaurant floor from 11am to 10pm.
The store is closed on January 1.
1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-8001. Tel. 03-3342-1111
Read the full guide to Shinjuku shopping.