Are you tired of going to the same areas? If you want alternative hangouts, new date spots, or just a walk in a different ‘Ku’ here are a few of my favourite neighbourhoods below.
When I first moved to Tokyo of course like everyone else I visited all the touristy places and often hung out in Shibuya. However, after living here for over a year, although those places can still be great fun, they can become tiresome – which is what forced me to explore new areas to spend portions of my time.
Gakugei-daigaku is just a stone’s throw away from Nakameguro on the Toyoko Line between Yutenji and Jiyugaoka. As soon as you set foot out of Gakugei-daigaku Station you’ll notice it’s immediately more relaxed yet surprisingly edgy – away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo. In Japanese ‘Dai’ means university, noticeably any station with ‘Dai’ in the name is guaranteed to cater for a hub for many different types of people.
Gakugei-daigaku is unapologetically energetic. It has character without being pretentious. If you’re looking to impress your friends with your knowledge of known areas, then you’ve met your match. It offers many lunch stop-offs, cafes, restaurants and bars.
Immerse yourself into the snack bar culture. This snack shop has the quirkiest red and green decor along with a plush velvet green furniture making you feel although you’re in a Japanese drama. You’ll notice the snack bar straightaway with its bright red exterior and its striking yellow sign. Many people of all types of ages and all walks of life visit this particular snack bar after a long day so you never know who you could run into. And of course, who doesn’t like Takoyaki?
Couki Shinsen Menjo
If like me, you’re a huge fan of spicy food then this Ramen joint is perfect for you. Test your taste buds or challenge a friend with the spiciest ramen on the menu, called ‘Rekka’. One can of course choose their own spice preference, but I promise that the hottest level is worth your pennies.
Take a stroll through Himonya Park which is just a 6-minute walk from the station. The park is very beautiful during the cherry blossom season and during the summer months you can even row a boat along the river.
Many people love Gakugei-daigaku for being a residential area host to flower shops, wine shops and local fruit stalls and everything in-between. It has a huge personality plus it’s conveniently close to Shibuya. There’s a huge community past the lit streetlights. What’s not to love?
Sazazuka is on Shimokitazawa’s doorstep minus the array of overwhelming vintage shops. It’s actually one of the quieter gems I’ve discovered after the station just seeming like a bunch of empty streets. Although there’s definitely more than meets the eye as the silence speaks volumes about this specific neighbourhood. Sasazuka is very close to Shinjuku so it’s a middle ground for commuters. It’s also been claimed to have the perfect spot for Italian food.
Keio Crown Mall
Being in the heart of the Keio line this shopping mall is so convenient if you want to run some errands but don’t want to commute into the big city. Have a walk down Keio Crown Street (which you can access directly from the station) you’ll also be able to find many restaurants close by.
If you want a taste of Kyushu have no fear you won’t have to travel far. I love sashimi and was introduced to horse sashimi here where I learnt that horse meat was the most popular meat in Kyushu.
Bon Appetit Papa Sasasuka
I know you’ve probably already found a good Italian restaurant in Tokyo, and no I’m not talking about Saizeriya. However, I did promise you that Sasazuka has a delicious Italian spot. If you fancy Italian just for one night and you happen to be in the area you should try this. They offer many courses at a fairly reasonable price. The layout is also very clean and modern.
Fancy a game of bowling? Usually, karaoke doesn’t go a miss in Japan however if you want a break from singing your heart out you can enjoy bowling in a less crowded area of town. It also has a very old school retro design along with friendly staff. It’s for all age ranges and abilities. You can also grab some food if you’re feeling peckish.
Kamata is on the Keihin-Tohoku Line just a few stations past the business district of Shinagawa. Kamata is a very multicultural suburb of Tokyo with many things happening at your feet. Kamata is not glamorous. You can feel a deep-rooted honest culture in this particular suburb which is very refreshing. There are many izakaya’s and restaurants along with Kamata Station which is a newly built complex. Kamata has a mix of commercial shops along with local shops which many people support. Kamata’s edgy back streets and alleyways resonate with me for appearing similar to gritty Parisian neighbourhoods.
This is a really reasonably priced standing izakaya with many great dishes. Standing izakaya’s are very popular in Kamata, ideal for you to bar hop to the next place.
Kamata has a large Chinese population which has brought a hybrid of culture. Chinese mixed with Japanese cuisine, with my personal favourites being the dumplings. They have a slight twist from the typical Gyoza you’ll get anywhere else. You have to check them out!
This restaurant is very popular. There’s always a queue outside, and a crowd inside so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. If you’re a liver lover or not, I would recommend eating liver with sake – it goes down very nicely. If not, there’s many other things to explore on the always changing menu so just ask the waiter for their recommendation.
I forgot to mention that Kamata is very close to Haneda Airport, so many Tokyoites use this as their base to travel in and out of the country.
These are some my favourite neighbours in Tokyo if you want to get away from the touristy crowds, you can discover the unfamiliar. Please check them out and let me know what you think.