Kichijoji: nostalgic & nature-filled gem of outer Tokyo

Mayo Harry | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Kichijoji is mentioned in most guides to Tokyo, at least because of Inokashira Koen, a park celebrated for its spring cherry blossom viewing. However, there is much more to Kichijoji than cherry blossoms. Kichijoji is located in the city of Musashino, and it is bustling as one of the most popular downtown areas on the west side of TokyoKichijoji is always ranked high in the "favourite town to live in Tokyo” rankings. No wonder it is an awesomely safe and attractive town to live in and explore. Kichijoji has been known for a long time as a city of theater, music and art. There are some funky graffiti you can witness around Kichijoji. At the same time, numerous anime and manga production companies have set up in Kichijoji, and many anime fans visit Kichijoji as a pilgrimage place. Kichijoji, like the rest of the JR Chuo Line, has developed and is still progressing as a subculture town. It located only 20 minutes away from Shinjuku station. To discover the nostalgic outer area of Tokyo and deepen your experience, Kichijoji might be the best option, especially if you are into nature, anime, fashion, and café culture. 

Landmark of Kichijyoji - Inokashira Park

The landmark of Kichijoji, Inokashira Park, full of nature which co-exists with a historical temple, is lined with cafes, bars and shops. Inokashira Park was opened on May 1, 1917, and is a historic park that has been loved for over 100 years. Around Inokashira Pond, there are thickets and a natural culture garden. In the direction of Mitaka, there is Inokashira Park Zoo, a sculpture museum, and the famous Ghibli Museum on the other side of the park.

© iStock/7maru

When you visit Inokashira Park, water adventure on a boat is one of the must-do things. You can experience boating for one hour. Different types of boats are available, such as low boats, pedaling boats, but swan boats are the ones you should not miss. Relaxing and enjoying a swam boat ride on the pond at Inokashira Park would be your cute memory of Tokyo stay, especially during the cherry blossoming time.

© Wikimedia/unknown author

Inokashira Park Zoo is a place where animals and reptiles live freely. The most popular is the "guinea pig corner", where you can experience interacting with these cute animals. 

Benzaiten in Inokashira Park

© Wikimedia/Manishprabhune

Daiseiji in Inokashira Park is also known as "Inokashira Benzaiten" and enshrines Benzaiten, one of the Seven Lucky Gods. Benzaiten is a god derived from water, and as this Benzaiten is enshrined in a great location along the pure Inokashira pond, it offers the strongest benefit. The most famous Benzaitetn god is Zeniarai (money washing) Benzaiten. When you visit it, wash your money with this water, and use the washed money immediately. It is said that your luck will apparently improve.

© Flickr/Guihem Vellut

Harmonica Yokocho

There are several small shopping streets at the north exit of Kichijoji Station, but the most popular old-fashioned one is called Harmonica Yokocho. Standing izakayas and international cuisines are lined up along the narrow road from Heiwa-Dori street to Showa-Dori street, creating a deep and nostalgic atmosphere. Harmonica Yokocho is loved by many Kichijoji local residents and tourists because it is relatively cheap to eat and drink with the energy of Kichijoji.

Kichijoji is not located in the metropolitan area of Tokyo. Only a 20-minute train ride away, Kichijoji offers a unique nostalgic atmosphere of outer Tokyo blended with modern culture and a high level of gastronomical experience. Beautiful Inokashira Park, funky café & bar culture, art and music as well as rich nature make Kichijyoji distinctive from everything else in Tokyo. It is greatly recommended to include Kichijoji in your itinerary and walk around the town without a plan. But if you want to visit the Studio Ghibli museum, you definitely need to book a few months in advance.  

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