Photo By: Kazamatsuri
Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Tokyo
Population
12,059,237

Koenji

Hey! Ho! Let’s go explore Tokyo’s former punk hood.

A short train ride from Shinjuku drops you at the front stoops of Koenji, Tokyo’s star neighborhood with an expanding creative scene and a center of alternative youth culture.

What ward is Koenji in?

This cozy hood exudes a laid-back attitude of the kind where shoppers endlessly browse in pursuit of vintage gems, and local izakaya stay filled with the sounds of clinking glasses, hearty cheers, and buzzing conversations till the wee hours of the night.

Koenji leans toward the mature-yet-edgy end of the spectrum which is perhaps explained by the fact that it was once home to Tokyo’s punk scene in the 1970s. These roots are very much alive in today’s Koenji and reflect on the vibrant suburban underground culture.

From an array of retro stores to cool live houses and traditional venues, Koenji is a place worth a day (or two) visit — and you’ll never get bored.

Photo by: Nano Betts Mabashi Inari Shrine.

Visit local shrines

Koenji is well known for its numerous historical Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines that have a cozier vibe and are very photogenic. Mabashi Inari Shrine stands out with tranquil atmosphere and beautiful setting. Three grand torii gates lead to the shrine grounds. It’s believed that if you make a wish while touching the rising dragon on a stone dragon, it will deliver your wish to heaven to be granted.

Shopping

There is an abundance of thrift stores you can rummage around in for bargains, particularly around the so-called “Look Shopping Street” where the young come to look for cool, cutting-edge second-hand, clothing. Koenji is also a music collector’s paradise stocking a lot of rare items in numerous vintage record shops.

Photo by: Danny Cho Cool streets of Koenji.

Awa Odori Festival

Koenji is largely known for one of the major summer events in the city called the Awa Odori Festival. Locals and tourists flood the area to enjoy the dance tunes during the season, with over 10,000 dancers and over 1 million spectators.

“Live houses”

“Live houses,” the Japanese name for music venues or live bars, are one of Koenji’s main attractions. From alternative rock to free-form jazz, most tastes are covered, and the setting definitely trumps your usual faceless concert venue.

For lots to do in a cool scene, pop over to Tokyo’s Koenji.

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Trivia

What ward is Koenji in?

Check out what 24 hours in Suginami is like! https://travel.gaijinpot.com/tokyo-suginami-ward-things-to-do/

How To Get There

Address

Koenjikita, Suginami, Tokyo 166-0002, Japan

By train

Take the Chuo Line or the Sobu Line from Shinjuku toward Mitaka on the express train and get off at Koenji station.

Where To Stay

Artist Hotel - BnA HOTEL Koenji
  • 2-4-7 Koenjikita, Suginami Suginami-Ku, Tokyo 166-0003
  • 8.8/10
  • 0.2 km
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Bokuno Cafe & Hotel Koenji Hostel
  • Koenjiminami 2-48-12 クリニカルコーポ1F Suginami-Ku, Tokyo 166-0003
  • 5.9/10
  • 0.4 km
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Koenji Junjo Hotel
  • Koenji minami 4-40-20 Suginami-Ku, Tokyo 166-0003
  • 8.1/10
  • 0.4 km
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GrapeHouse Koenji
  • Yamato-cho 3-1-5 Nakano-Ku, Tokyo 165-0034
  • 9.2/10
  • 0.5 km
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