JR Shinjuku Station seems to be one of those mazes that people visiting the first time can never get out of. I think Tokyo Station is worse but since most people only pass it en route somewhere else, Shinjuku is the bigger evil.
I must say even after 4.5 years in the Kanto region, I haven’t exactly figured out Shinjuku completely but enough to not get too lost. There’s really no need to learn too much about the station if you are just here for traveling so I’ll give you the one
secret tip that will save you a lot of time.
The human instinct when you get off trains is to head toward the nearest stairs or escalators in order to get out of the station. This instinct is the bane of those with no sense of direction and not the rule to use at JR Shinjuku Station.
The simple and straightforward tip is, if you’re heading toward the East, West, Central East, or Central West exits, look for stairs or escalators going down from the platform. For all other exits, go for stairs or escalators going up from the platform.
If you need to transfer to another non-JR line, head down. JR is about the only train line that runs above ground at Shinjuku.
It is that simple.