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.
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.
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
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.