Shin Okubo is Tokyo’s Koreatown, located in Shinjuku on the Yamanote railway line. For those interested in Korean culture, Shin Okubo has everything from Korean street food to Korean skincare, Korean makeup, Korean snacks, Korean restaurants, and K-pop! While walking along the streets of Shin Okubo, you’ll be greeted with the lovely smell of street food and K-pop blasting from the speakers of every store. This little town is perfect for visitors of Japan who want to get a little taste of South Korea, and perhaps start planning for their next overseas trip. Shin Okubo is essentially South Korea in Tokyo and is almost like Tokyo’s very own Myeongdong!
The streets of Shin Okubo are littered with Korean street food vendors, and you’ll almost find that every second shop sells street food!
The Korean cheese corn dogs have taken the world by storm and Tokyo is no exception. These warm, cheesy treats are best for when you’re shopping around Shin Okubo during the chilly Japanese Winter. The most popular Korean cheesy corn dog store is called Jongno and has multiple locations in Shin Okubo.
Korean street food in Japan is perfect when you’re looking to satisfy your cravings without breaking the bank. Other treats you can get include hotteok and tteokbokki amongst many others.
Koreatown definitely would not be Koreatown without K-beauty. Korean beauty has become a worldwide phenomenon in recent years and luckily for visitors of Tokyo, Korean beauty is easily accessible thanks to Tokyo’s Koreatown.
Korean skincare and makeup stores can be found around every corner of Shin Okubo. Majority of the stores sell a combination of Korean skincare and makeup brands in their store, so travellers can tick off all the products on their ‘must-buy K-beauty’ list all in one go. Some more popular brands such as TonyMoly, Nature Republic, Its Skin and VT Cosmetics even have their own stores, so you know you have access to all the products and visitors can make sure to re-stock their K-beauty stash.
It’s pretty hard to miss the K-pop in Shin Okubo, even if you’re not a fan. The streets of Shin Okubo are filled with songs playing from every store, and there are many that are specially dedicated to K-pop. Inside these stores are everything from albums, official merchandise, posters, photocards, keyrings, cups, and postcards of your K-pop bias. Sometimes if you’re lucky, these stores might even have a signed album or two.
In addition to K-pop stores, Shin Okubo is also the home to plenty of K-pop themed cafes. Inside you will find drinks and cakes named after your favorite idol, K-pop playing on the loudspeaker, K-pop music videos on the big screen and sometimes signatures from K-pop idols who have visited that particular cafe.
So if you’re ever in Japan craving Korean food, wanting to restock on K-beauty or wanting to immerse yourself in K-pop, be sure to visit Shin Okubo!
Written by Stephanie Leung