Shinagawa (品川) is one of the 23 wards of central Tokyo, and is also a major railway station in south-central Tokyo. Historically, parts of this ward were known as Shimazuyama. Many feudal lords (daimyo) maintained estates in this area during the Tokugawa Shogunate. More recently, this area is the birthplace and former home of Sony.
Today, Shinagawa is a central train hub for Tokyo, possibly second only to Tokyo Station itself in the number of trains you can catch here. It is also a center of "European" style businesses and tourism, so you will see more English than Japanese on signs, and more Italian and American restaurants than Japanese ones.
Although Shinagawa is a ward of Tokyo, Shinagawa Station is actually in the ward of Minato: Shinagawa Ward is located to the southwest of Shinagawa Station, in the area surrounding Gotanda and Osaki on the Yamanote Line.
The two sides of Shinagawa Station are quite different: the west or "Takanawa" side is mainly residential, with the exception of the hotel zone immediately around the station, while the east or "Konan" side ranges from commercial to industrial. Because of the large number of railway lines passing through, it is difficult to get from one side of the station to the other without walking through the station itself, so be sure to exit the station on the correct side for your destination.
Shinagawa Station is served by Japan Railways (JR) and Keikyu Railway. JR runs trains to Shinagawa on the Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku, Yokosuka, and Tokaido lines. Most Narita Expresses from Narita Airport travel directly to Shinagawa (75 min., ¥3,110). Shinagawa Station is also served by the Tokaido Shinkansen, making this a convenient jumping-off point for trips to Kyoto, Osaka and other cities along the line.
On the Yamanote line, Ōsaki and Gotanda stations are also in the area.
Keikyu Railways trains run south to Haneda Airport (17-20 minutes, ¥400), Yokohama and points beyond. Keikyu also has through service with the Asakusa subway line and operates trains going as far north as Narita, making this a cheap, but much slower, alternative to the Narita Express.
Several hotels in Shinagawa, as well as Shinagawa Station, are connected to Narita Airport via the "Airport Limousine" bus (85 min., ¥3,000)
Sengaku-ji (泉岳寺), (nearest station is Sengakuji on the Toei Asakusa line). A temple most famous as the resting place of the 47 Ronin, a famous group of samurai who banded together to avenge their unfairly slain master. Having obtained the head of the offender, they brought it to this very temple and then were condemned to commit ritual suicide, like their master. The story is told in Chushingura, the best-known of all Kabuki plays. History aside, the temple isn't much to look at, but the small museum has artifacts from the event and after, including wooden statues of all the ronin, the banner that the ronin posted during their raid, original letters, and the receipt that the priests wrote out for the head.
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 4-7-25 Kitashinagawa (15 minutes walk from JR Shinagawa Station, near La Foret Hotel), ☎ +81 03-3445-0651 (fax: +81 03-3473-0104), . Closed M; T,Th-Su 11AM-5PM, W 11AM-8PM. This small museum hosts a variety of interesting exhibitions in a 1930's house which is a great example of modern architecture in pre-war Japan. There is a very nice indoor/outdoor cafe.¥1000, ¥700 students.
The central immigration office for the Tokyo area is now in Shinagawa. Exit JR Shinagawa Station on the Konan side, look to your left, and follow the signs to bus platform 8 serving Immigration.
Shinagawa Prince Executive Tower. An IMAX theater and a movie multiplex.
Coffee Roast Sai, Takanawa 1-21-3 (15 min walk up from Shinagawa), ☎ +81 03-3449-7007. Roasts beans while you wait, usually with a wonderful free cup of coffee.
Yoshinoya, (One block to right from Takanawa exit of the JR station). Fast food chain with Japanese style food.
Atre New York Style, (Shinagawa Station Konan Exit). A collection of restaurants grouped around a Queen Isetan grocery. Dean & Deluca, on the second floor, has a take-out sandwich and coffee bar which is convenient for supplies to get you through a long Shinkansen ride. The fourth floor has the Lounge Foodium restaurant complex including Grand Central Oyster Bar.
Devi Corner, 3-24-21 Takanawa (5 min. north of Shinagawa station). Excellent Indian cuisine.
Franklin Ave., (next door from Ne Quittez Pas). The best and priciest burgers in town.
Giyamantei, Takanawa 4-10-20 (In Keihin Hotel opposite Station), ☎ +81 03 3442 3160, . Authentic Izakaya style restaurant with English language menu.
Ribera Steakhouse, Higashi Gotanda (12 minutes walk from JR Shinagwa, 5 minutes walk from JR Gotanda, or 2 minutes walk from Takanawadai Station on the Asakusa line. On Sakurada-dori between Takanawadai and Gotanda Stations, next to the Red Baron motorcycle shop). T-Su 6PM-11PM, closed Mondays. Reasonably priced steaks with great character. Think C&W meets pro-wrestling. Hank Williams on cassette and photos of Andre the Giant. Look for the giant photo of Hulk Hogan tucking into a steak. Yokuzuna Akebono has been a regular here for years.¥2,500-3000.
Beer Restaurant, (Across the street and 1/2 block down from the East entrance of Shinagawa station). This is a good, authentic yakatori joint quite popular with Japanese commuters. They also have horse sashimi, something you're unlikely to encounter elsewhere.
Royal Host, (First floor of the Takanawa Keikyu Hotel). Popular "family restaurant" chain with surprisingly good coffee but little else that stands out.
Shinatatsu, Takanawa 3-26-20 (turn left from the West entrance of the JR station), ☎ +81 03 5475 7020, . 11AM-10PM. Collection of noodle restaurants from the "7 Masters of Ramen".
Tsubame (Ginza Since 1930), (across the street, next to the bus entrance of Shinagawa Prince Hotel). Tsubame is famous for its "hamburg" dish. Contrary to belief, lunch special only costs 1150 yen (about $10) - a bargain for the excellent quality of food. The "hamburg" dish comes piping hot covered completely in an aluminum foil - yummy.
Tsukemen Tetsu, (West exit Shinagawa station, 2 minutes walk south, i.e., take a left outside the west exit). There are a cluster of quality noodle shops just south of the west exit, nestled under the roadway. Quite a variety of donburi, ramen, etc, some with lines at lunchtime and some without.
Tikka & Biryani, (take Prince Hotel Exit of Shinagawa station, Take your Left after crossing the Road. Its about 7 minutes walk on the highways). Has excellent Indian Mughal Biryani.
Ne Quittez Pas, ☎ +81 03-3442-2382. Closed M; Tu-Su 12-2PM and 6PM-9PM. High-end French cuisine a short walk from Gotanda Station.10,000 yen person and up.
Kura (Ginza Since 1930), (one block South of the East Exit of the JR station). This is an excellent Japan-Korean barbeque, with seafood and vegetarian options. Several waitstaff speak impeccable English.Cost really depends on how hungry you are; a light meal is likely to be 3000 yen, but stuffing yourself could run to 7000.
Directly across the street from JR Shinagawa Station Takanawa Exit you will find Enoteca on the second level of Shinagawa Wing. Shop for imported wines, or sample glasses in their small cafe. The Wing also has a tea shop.
Virgin Cafe, (Cross the elevated walkway to the left of Shinagawa Konan Exit). This cafe always seems very smoky, but is an easy place to stop for light food and imported beers on tap such as Kilkenny and Guinness.¥1,000 for a pint.
Art Cafe, (Across the street from the East side of the JR station, in the Prince hotel shopping center). Excellent coffee, this somewhat smoky cafe is full of American and European business visitors and Japanese having espresso and a curry bun, or even a "bagette" (Japanese hot dog).
Starbucks, (On the second floor of JR Shinagawa Station just before the Konan Exit). Of course, Americans who are feeling homesick can always get a latte at Starbucks inside the JR station.
82 Ale House, (Leaving Shinagawa station via the Konan exit, go down the escalator and walk down the street directly in front. Its near the end on the right hand side). Note that last orders are at the bizarrely early time of 10:45PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Very convincing Victorian style British pub. Largish drinks menu which includes single malt wiskeys, real ale and Guinness on tap for 850yen a pint.
Beer Court, (Roof terrace above Enoteca). Beer Garden open from 5PM in summer season.
With the new Shinkansen service to Shinagawa, the area hotels have become much more convenient (and crowded). Rooms at the hotels near the station sell out very quickly. Try Gotanda Station, 2 stops away on the Yamanote Line, for cheaper business hotels or capsules.
Toyoko Inn Shinagawa, (Takanawa exit), . A bit cheaper than the rest, and it can sell out quickly.Rack rates ¥6,720+.
Minami-Shinagawa, . An alternative Toyoko Inn, five minutes south of Shinagawa by Keikyu local train. Availability is generally better here than the other Toyoko Inn, and the hotel is directly connected to the Keikyu line.Rack rates ¥6,720+.
Takanawa Keikyu, . A more economical alternative to the more expensive high-service hotels, while still being good for business travelers who need the room primarily for sleeping and internet.Rack rates ¥11,900+.
Shinagawa Prince Hotel, (near the Takanawa exit), . Rack rates ¥15,500+.
Takanawa Prince Hotel, (near the Takanawa exit), . Rack rates ¥15,500+.
New Takanawa Prince Hotel, (near the Takanawa exit), . Rack rates ¥15,500+.
Le Meridien Pacific Tokyo, (Takanawa exit), . Originally known (and still prominently displayed) as the Hotel Pacific. The rooms have high speed internet and smoking rooms are available, although the quality of this hotel is significantly lower than the more expensive Le Meridien Grand Pacific Tokyo in Odaiba.Rack rates ¥18,680+.
The Strings Hotel, (Konan exit), . A top-notch hotel near Shinagawa Station which is worth visiting for a drink or a meal to get the view of the bay and Rainbow Bridge. Part of the Intercontinental chain.Rack rates ¥31,000+.
Yahoo Cafe, Shinagawa Prince Executive Tower, 7th floor. You will need to purchase a drink. After purchasing a drink, you would need to fill out a form with your name and your address at the front desk. You will receive a USB key. This place has very good and friendly (English speaking) service and personnel, but the laptops have very small keyboards, with keys unusually close together - so it is a bit hard to type. Camera available on some of the computers. Available printing: Regular at 30 Yen and Colour at 150 yen.Coffee/Tea/Coke are priced about 500 Yen (about 5 US dollars).
Shinigawa Prince Executive Tower`s North and South Annex. 2nd floor wireless hot-spot. Must purchase a 500 Yen (5 US Dollar) card at the front desk, which will give you one day access. Must have your own computer. Power plugs along the window side. No eating or drinking allowed at the tables.