If you’re wandering around the northern part of Tokyo’s Shinjuku and hear a roar, don’t panic, it’s just the giant Godzilla on top of the Shinjuku Gracery Hotel doing it’s thing (well, hopefully). If you happen to be within eyeline of the Godzilla head you might even see him breathe fire – but what you might not realise, is how close you can get to him if you just know how.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.
Let’s start with the Godzilla street show though. The big giant head roars on the hour between noon and 8pm – complete with suitably menacing city-destroying music, laser lights and smoke.
You’ll see it from anywhere on (the fabulously named) Godzilla Road, but the closer you can get to the statue itself the better really.
The Godzilla head Tokyo debuted in April 2015, shortly before Godzilla was made an official citizen of Japan – not sure what passport he’d been travelling on up until then, but I guess no-one really wanted to ask due to the whole fire-breathing, tail-with-the-ability-to-take-out-buildings thing – but anyway, the whole thing made me ridiculously happy.
Then, at the end of our trip, my friend Kendall, actually booked into the Shinjuku Gracery Hotel and my glee level rocketed up a couple of extra notches.
See, if you’re a guest of the hotel you’re one of the people (yes, others do too – keep reading…) who get exclusive access to the 8th-floor terrace upon which Godzilla lives – and of course, I went to nose as well.
So what’s it like staying in the Godzilla Hotel?
This place is definitely taking its reputation as the Godzilla Tokyo hotel seriously – there are giant statues of him as you come out of the lift, Godzilla pictures all over the walls and you can buy Godzilla merchandise in the hotel gift shop – plus, just left of reception is the main attraction itself. The giant Godzilla head of Shinjuku!.
Being a good travel blogger though my first stop was Kendall’s room to look around – and it was great – for one person (despite the fact that was technically a standard double).
If there was two of you, with luggage it really would be a tight squeeze. It had a small double bed up against one wall, a sofa, a table, desk and TV – but weirdly, considering the bedroom was a bit of a squeeze the bathroom was comparatively enormous.
As I say, for one person, it would be great for any length stay – the location is excellent and it would feel nice and cosy.
If there’s two of you though, you might want to book one of the bigger rooms – the superior double is 20 square metres (compared to 18 for the standard room) and has a slightly bigger bed.
Sadly, there are no Godzilla cookies or sea monster soap snuck in there for you to play with.
If you want to book a normal room at the Godzilla Hotel, here’s where to find all the details on rooms and rates.
How to Book The Godzilla Rooms at the Shinjuku Gracery
If you’re a Godzilla superfan though you’re going to want to try and snag yourself one of the two Godzilla-themed rooms in the hotel which has a giant claw as part of the decor, heaps of pictures of him dotted around, plus a few other surprises I won’t spoil for you as they aren’t that obvious at first.
You’ll also get exclusive Godzilla goodies when you check in.
These do get booked out incredibly quickly though and are a bit more expensive than normal rooms starting at 49,800 yen (about £340 or AU$600 a night). It’s also fully payable in advance and subject to a cancellation fee.
The other tiny downside, if you want to book the Godzilla room at Hotel Gracery, you kind of need to learn Japanese as they don’t yet offer online booking in English – and you can’t do it by phone.
If you can work your way around the language (or want to trust google translate which actually does seem to make sense on there so you probably could get away with it). This is the link you need. Also, from what I can work out, the room sleeps two, but only comes with twin beds.
The same deal applies for one of the hotel’s Godzilla View rooms which are rooms that directly overlook the Godzilla head. You can also only book those via the link above.
From what I can work out (bear in mind I don’t speak Japanese so I’m using Google translate here) these start at around 18,700Y (£127 or $AU226) a night but prices can go up a few thousand yen depending on the day.
There are a few more of these available and so you might be able to grab one of these a bit more easily. One snag though, they do only seem to be single rooms.
Top Tip: You’re going to want to Facebook your Godzilla pictures, I preorder my Japan SIM cards from Klook and pick them up at the airport. Here’s where to find out more.
How to Visit Godzilla for Less Than the Price of Hotel Room
If staying in the hotel is a bit out of the budget, I have good news. Customers of the cafe just off the hotel’s reception are also allowed exclusive access to the terrace – and the cafe also sells Godzilla-themed desserts!
That’s right, you get cake, mousse and a tiny chocolate Godzilla to bite the head off – plus, the ability to do ‘I’m so scared’ close up pictures with the big, giant head, of your very own – for 1800 yen (£12 or AU$22). A veritable bargain in my book.
All the running around and screaming (there was a lot of sugar in that dessert) did mean I was slightly more distracted than normal though and missed one essential detail that you have to try.
While Kendall was doing a bit of lone monster-bothering before she checked out the next day she noticed a tiny panel of exposed Godzilla skin on his side which effectively says ‘rub me.’ Obviously not being concerned about petting a giant radioactive sea monster she did – AND HE ROARS.
Which means I need to back to the Shinjuku Gracery and eat more Godzilla cake the next time I visit just so I can rub his tummy.
Where Else To Meet Godzilla in Tokyo
Of course, Shinjuku isn’t the only place you can spot the scaly one. Here are a few other must-sees for Godzilla lovers.
The New Statue: The Shinjuku statue wasn’t the first Godzilla homage in the city. The original Tokyo Godzilla statue was outside a cinema close to Tokyo Station.
Admittedly, at about a foot high, it was somewhat unimpressive (so much so I deleted my pic of it when I went to see it on a previous trip so don’t have one to show you!).
Now, however, a new statue is in its place – bigger, shinier and higher up and much more impressive to photograph. It’s marked on google maps, look for Hibiya Station or Toho Cinema’s Chanter and you’ll spot it.
The Old Statue: Poor small Godzilla hasn’t been melted down or anything. He’s just moved inside.
You’ll find him outside the cinema at the Tokyo Midtown Hibiya mall directly opposite his new supersized buddy. I tried to get here twice to take a picture, twice I failed (I was in Tokyo in Golden Week and there were queues and my inability to use Google maps in the rain) but according to the man working in the Chanter cinema, he’s there.
The Godzilla Shop Tokyo: While you’ll find Godzilla themed merchandise all over Tokyo, there’s a dedicated retail temple to him at Marui Annex, 3 Chome-1 Shinjuku-, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan – the first shop in the world specifically dedicated to him. And don’t worry if you’re travel buddy loves Godzilla and you are more ‘meh’ it’s surrounded with other concessions you can browse in while they do their thing.
Another good place to look for Godzilla merchandise in Tokyo is the Don Quijote in Shinjuku – this is a bit of a Tokyo institution and so should be on your sightseeing list anyway, but it also has some things you won’t find elsewhere. Kendall is now the proud owner of a Godzilla dehumidifier that roars.
One tiny warning for anyone travelling with kids, Don Quijote doesn’t exactly hide its adult merchandise and it’s mixed in with everything else, so you might want to be prepared for a few curious questions.
Sadly, for the English among you, I didn’t spot any Godzuki merchandise anywhere. I’m planning a petition.
If you really want to geek out even further over the scaly one, Enable Japan has THE best post on all the places you can find him in the city – including where to find a Godzilla slide, the exact point at which he first ever set a heavily-clawed foot in Japan and a couple of other quirky suggestions. If you’re a huge fan you need to check this post out.
Talking of quirky. Checking out all the cool Godzilla stuff is just one of my suggestions of 47 Weird, Cute and Unique Things to do in Toyko, click to the read the rest.
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