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See why Kichijoji is regularly voted the best place to live in Tokyo.

Located in a suburb of Tokyo, little-known Kichijoji offers visitors a peek into the daily life of Tokyoites. What Kichijoji lacks in tourist spots (Inokashira Park and Sunroad are its main ones), it makes up for in style. Surrounded by college campuses, Kichijoji is a favorite hangout for young people from around the city. It offers a little bit of everything – drinking, shopping, good food, a traditional location, and relaxing, green spaces wrapped up in one perfect package.

Originally, the suburb became popular as a haven for hipsters and other subcultures. But as more cool shops and interesting cafes have opened, the scene has become decidedly more mainstream. Despite this, Kichijoji still manages to strike that perfect balance between lively and residential that has earned it a reputation as one of the best places to live in the capital for many years running.

Inokashira Park

Photo by: Inokashira Park is a popular place to view the cherry blossoms in spring. Can’t think why.

Though streets may be crowded, particularly on weekends, the atmosphere is always relaxed. North of the station is a tangled mass of shopping centers and streets. Department stores rise between shopping arcades like Sunroad, Daiyagai (both covered), and Nakamichi to name a few, where chain stores and one-of-a-kind boutiques are mixed in together.

To get a taste of the Kichijoji flavor, be sure to check out the unique-to-Kichijoji department stores Kirarina, home to a two-floor Yuzawaya (Japan’s biggest craft store chain) and many other stores aimed at women seeking to unwind. Coppice houses the Kichijoji Museum on the seventh floor and a green, open-air terrace crafted in the spirit of the department store’s name.

An entrance to the Sunroad Shotengai, a covered shopping arcade full of unique finds. Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson.

Next, head to the covered shopping streets of Sunroad Shotengai, which hail back to the 1970s and continue to attract locals and tourists alike. Another shopping arcade, Daiyagai has three sections and hides many interesting shops down its plethora of narrow alleys. If you have time, be sure to check out the seven-floor Uniqlo, which offers the unique service, UTime!, where you can design your own shirt for only 2,000 yen. Your shirt will be available for pick up the same day. You can’t get more original than that!

When you’re ready to take a break from shopping, pick one of the ubiquitous cafes or restaurants.

A Lazy Afternoon in a Hammock Cafe

The park exit has many upscale ones, including the famous yakitori joint, Iseya, which often has lines out the door of people waiting for seats or take out orders. For coffee, try Blue Sky Coffee or Cafe Zenon, where you can enjoy their monthly anime exhibitions and a latte with anime/manga character art. Or satiate your sweet tooth at shops like Doughnut Plant, which opens at 10pm and sells out within hours. There’s also Marion’s Crepes for your fill of whipped cream and fruit. Then, end your day with a drink in Harmonica Yokocho, a series of narrow alleys backed with izakayas (Japanese pubs) and restaurants.

Kichijoji is also close to the much-loved Ghibli Museum which you can reach by walking through Inokashira Park’s tree-lined paths. It’s about a 15 – 20-minute walk.


A Lazy Afternoon in a Hammock Cafe

Swinging the time away at a hammock cafe in Tokyo.


How To Get There


Japan, 〒180-0004 Tōkyō-to, Musashino-shi, Kichijōji Honchō, 1 Chome−15, 都道115号線

By train

Take the JR Chuo Rapid Line from Shinjuku or Tokyo Stations to Kichijoji Station. Alternatively, you can take the Keio-Inokashira Line from Shibuya Station to Kichijoji Stations.

Where To Stay

Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel
  • 1-6-3 Kichijoji Minamicho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-0003 Japan
  • ¥14,700 - ¥18,800
  • 4.44/5 (2,005 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Kichijoji Excel Hotel Tokyu
  • 2-4-14 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-0004 Japan
  • ¥14,700 - ¥72,500
  • 4.25/5 (93 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
JR-East Hotel Mets Musashisakai
  • 2-1-8 Kyonancho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-0023 Japan
  • ¥28,800 - ¥62,600
  • 4.06/5 (1,765 reviews)
  • 3.2 km
Hotel Meldia Ogikubo
  • 3-9-3 Amanuma, Suginami-ku, Tokyo, 167-0032 Japan
  • ¥8,800 - ¥17,600
  • 4.2/5 (1,127 reviews)
  • 3.4 km
Hotel Route-Inn Tokyo Asagaya
  • 5-35-14 Naritahigashi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo, 166-0015 Japan
  • ¥9,400 - ¥23,050
  • 4.09/5 (2,276 reviews)
  • 4.8 km

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