Tokyo is an interesting place. Any neighborhood you visit feels like its own private realm, with its own architecture, fashion, types of shops and cafes, and people. One of my favorite places to walk around in Tokyo is Kichijoji – just next to Mitaka which is known for the Ghibli Museum.
Ride a Swan Boat in Inokashira Park
Yoyogi, Ueno, Shinjuku Gyoen..these are all great parks but they can get a bit crowded, especially on the weekends. Inokashira Park in Kichijoji is a great alternative. There are a number of trees, including Sakura, or Cherry Blossoms, in the spring. For animal lovers there is also a zoo that is split up into two areas. One featuring wildlife native to the area, and another bigger zoo with an amusement area, guinea pig petting zoo, and playground for kids.
The central feature of the park is the large lake, which features an elegant Japanese-style bridge across the center which connects to the dock. On the weekends you can go shopping for locally crafted goods, as many artisans set up stands along the park’s paths. It’s also a beacon for creative types, so you will most likely hear singing, instruments, and possibly even opera. Many painters also enjoy the surroundings and paint the lovely scenery.
This park dates all the way back to 1917 and was actually a present from the emperor to the people of Tokyo.
Kichijoji’s Restaurants: A Gourmet Tokyo Secret
Have you ever tried horse sashimi? Adventurous eaters can try it and enjoy a view of Inokashira Park as well at SubLime Inokashira Koen. If you’re feeling fancy and in the mood for a Japanese take on Italian cuisine you can head to Ristorante Primi Baci. But when I say fancy, I mean fancy, it will cost you so only head there if you are looking to splurge.
I am not really a dessert person but my husband (who is a trained pastry chef) told me that there is a patisserie in Kichijoji that is one of the best he has ever tried. That would be L’Epicurien, between the station and the park. One of the reasons I don’t like sweets is because they tend to be, well, too sweet for me. If you’re like me, you don’t have to worry about that here. Their desserts are perfectly balanced with numerous flavor notes that will leave you singing, I promise.
Go on a Shopping Spree – Japanese Style
There are a number of major Japanese mall chains in Kichijoji, including Atre and Marui (OIOI) and there is also a covered shopping street called Kichijoji SUNROAD, just outside the station. It’s filled with a number of shops featuring fashion and used electronics and about just anything else you can think of. Because it’s covered and close to the station it’s an excellent rainy day in Tokyo destination.
Have you ever been in Kichijoji? What are your recommendations?