Looking for an interesting day trip within Tokyo? Wanna take a stab at American-style karaoke? Take a trip to Fussa, a town in Western Tokyo heavily influenced by Yokota Air Base.
Visit Fussa, Tokyo’s “Little America”
When I first moved to Fussa a few years ago, I wasn’t quite sure what the town would be like. I had moved around quite a lot since coming to Japan, and every new place I moved to had its own unique characteristics.
After settling into the area, I soon came to realize that Fussa wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill small town, the base’s influence could be seen everywhere! From trendy American-esque restaurants to its wild Bar Row, Fussa has a bit of that American flair quite literally around every corner.
Living in Fussa gave me that one thing we all need to truly experience a new place: time, and with it, I’ve been able to compile a guide of the very best Fussa has to offer.
Base Side Street
One of the first points of interest in Fussa is Route 16, or “Base Side Street” as it is literally across the street from Yokota Air Base. Here a stretch of American-inspired clothing shops and restaurants beckon curious tourists and residents alike.
There are a ton of places to eat and among the many establishments to choose from, my favorites include Hoop for bagels, Chaco’s for a giant slab of steak and fries, and Demode Diner for when you’re craving that stacked burger. For aesthetics and sweets, try The Mint Motel, a gorgeous diner serving yummy treats such as waffles, cupcakes, and even American style breakfasts.
Base Side Street also hosts interesting shops that sell vintage American decor and nick-knacks. There are also quite a few vintage clothing shops. Most of the clothes you’ll find here have been specifically curated to the American aesthetic, so be prepared to find a lot of college tees and old military garb. Shopping on Base Side Street leaves one with a feeling of nostalgia and comfort. You may also find a comical aspect to it, especially if you spot a 5,000 yen Home Depot Bucket or an 8,000 yen used tee from In-N-Out.
Base Side Street is truly one of a kind.
Food Truck Vibes at Delta East
With its trendy awnings and proximity to the local train tracks, Delta East is a must visit for chill music, trainspotting, snacking, and of course, a comfortable respite to take a load off.
Choosing between delicious donuts, coffee, craft beer, pizza, and chicken may prove to be difficult, but I always recommend Dosukoi Pizza for first time visitors especially if you’ve been missing that good-ol American thin crust.
If you’ve been looking for an open space to hang out, chat with new friends, and try different types of food all in one place, Delta East is the next best thing to that food truck spot you’ve been missing.
American Style Bars & Karaoke
When moving to Japan one of my favorite things about nightlife were izakaya, mostly because I was usually separated from other groups with a partition or at fancy izakaya, separated by room!
After many years of separation, I actually began to miss the American bar. I surprisingly yearned for strangers interjecting into my conversations and literally pushing my way through hoards of people just to get a drink. I even missed dare I say it, American-style karaoke!
Fussa’s famous “Bar Row” has all of that and more.
First stop by El’s to begin your night on the town. With its delicious food options and drink selection, El’s is arguably the most popular joint on Bar Row. Don’t be surprised at the lack of Japanese here, most of the staff and patrons speak in English to cater to the influx of American patrons. Once the establishment becomes a bit crowded, karaoke will commence! If a banger comes on, the whole bar may sing together while swaying and dancing to the music. It really depends on the night.
Another favorite among locals is Kokomo. The small bar has a cozy loft on the second floor with cushy couches and a karaoke set-up for more intimate parties. I often frequent Kokomo with close friends to enjoy the intimate and relaxing atmosphere of the bar.
Bar-hopping is a common occurrence here, and on weekends the street can get packed with locals and curious neighbors, myself included.
Access to Fussa
The three points of access into Fussa by train are either Fussa Station or Ushihama Station on the Chuo Ome Line and Higashi Fussa Station using the Hachiko Line. All stations are within walking distance to Fussa’s main points of interest depending on where you choose to start. I recommend starting your trip with Base Side Street or Delta East and finishing in the evening at Bar Row.
Fussa can also easily be accessed by car as there are many parking lots scattered throughout the town.