Tokyo, Japan is one of the busiest cities in the world. It is also well-known for its local cuisines such as ramen, sushi, sashimi as well as its extensive shopping options in major districts such as Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku. During evenings and on weekends, huge crowds including locals and tourists will flock to these places. Situated away from the bustling crowd is a local neighborhood, Kichijoji, where you can experience a more localized environment with similar options downtown. Easily accessible via train, Kichijoji offers a different eating and shopping experience in Tokyo.
Easily accessible by the metro
Kichijoji is easily accessible by metro from downtown Shinagawa, Shibuya or Shinjuku. It is a neighborhood in the western suburbs of Musashino in Tokyo and Kichijoji is the last station of the line. From some stations such Shibuya, you can take the express metro to Kichijoji, which saves you a lot of time as compared to the local trains that stop at every station. The numerous metro lines in Tokyo can be rather intimidating, especially for first-time visitors but you can always check with the polite English speaking staff at each metro station before purchasing your tickets. Do ask if there is an express train from where you are boarding as well.
The streets get busy as night falls
When night falls, the streets get lighted up with the signage which is very iconic in Tokyo. As Kichijoji is situated away from downtown, you do not see as many tourists here, especially on weekdays. Most of the locals will shop and eat there, thus creating a unique visiting experience. On weekends, the street can get more crowded and you will see a great tourist crowd. However, the crowd is not as busy as downtowns in places like Shibuya or Harajuku, which are the key shopping places for tourists. If you arrive in the day or morning, you should take the chance to visit the nearby famous Inokashira Park, which includes a zoo.
Exciting shopping options with major departmental stores
Major departmental stores such as Parco, Isetan and Seiyu are also present in Kichijoji so you can shop to your heart’s content, especially for unique Japanese products. The prices in these major departmental stores may be higher as compared to other local stores but they hold a wide selection of products and various designers’ brands to choose from. You can also find many small shops selling apparels of local brands. The prices are not very cheap, on average 8000 JPY (70 USD) for a local designer piece, but most apparel in Japan are made from quality materials so it is worth the price.
Local snacks along the street stalls are not to be missed!
Street stalls selling local snacks are common in Tokyo, so you will see many locals, especially students, grabbing local snacks while shopping along the street. One of the famous snacks is the pancake shaped like a fish, which comes in different fillings such as red bean, chocolate, custard, to choose from which cost an average 150JPY (1.20USD). Other popular snacks include Yakitori (grilled skewered chicken with special sauce) and Takoyaki (octopus-filled balls made of wheat flour). These local snack stalls usually attract long lines along the stalls. All the snacks are freshly made on the spot so you can enjoy it upon purchase.
Countless selection of Japanese restaurants along the street
Like most places in Tokyo, Kichijoji offers a great variety of Japanese restaurants along its streets. From ramen stores to standing sushi bars and conventional Japanese restaurants, visitors have wide selections to choose from. One of the recommended places will be Uotami, which has several branches around Tokyo. Uotami is a tavern for drinking as well as for fresh sashimi and local Japanese cuisines. The branch in Kichijoji offers private cubicles for its guest so you can enjoy the privacy while dining. It gets a bit noisy in the evening, especially when most locals will drink and relax after a hard day at work. Their fresh sashimi bowls are highly recommended. You can expect to spend about 4000JPY (33 USD) per person in Uotami.
Quirky and unique stores in Kichijoji!
In Tokyo, you can see many quirky and unique stores and you can find some in Kichijoji too. Look out for the Smoker Shop that offers a great selection of cigarettes and lighters. The shop sells nothing but cigarettes and lighters in such great variety that even non-smokers will be curious to visit for a look around the store!
A gem hidden away from the city
Tokyo is a clean and beautiful city offering good food and shopping. To experience a different side of this lively city, do consider visiting Kichijoji, especially on weekday evenings for shopping and dining. It’d be a great place for chilling out after visiting the beautiful Inokashira Park during the day.
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