Nakano Broadway is a shopping mall in Nakano, Tokyo, Japan. Founded in 1966 as a luxury shopping complex, it has subsequently become a popular destination for goods aimed at otaku. [Wikipedia]
Located right next to Shinjuku Chuo Park, THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku is a modern hotel with an exceptional design and easy access to the nearby Shinjuku train station and the Meiji Shrine. The 14-story hotel building was renovated and reopened in August 2018 as THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku . The western-style rooms offer a park view on the top floor as well as a newly opened terrace suite. The spacious atrium design offers a relaxed atmosphere and connects the restaurant, bar, lounge and lobby with one another. One of the highlights of THE KNOT is the delicious dishes. There are six areas in which food and drinks are offered. From the grill area to high-quality black tea and fresh bread, everything is on offer.
NOHGA HOTEL AKIHABARA TOKYO is conveniently located in the midst of electric town Akihabara, also known as the capital of manga and anime. In addition, this neighborhood has an abundance of tech shops, maid cafes and a variety of restaurants. With just a 6 minute walk away from Akihabara station, it provides easy access to explore other areas nearby such as Ueno and Asakusa. This hotel embodies the rich cultures of music, art and food. Nohga’s concept of music is derived from Akihabara’s local history, starting as a district of radio and wireless component merchants in the late 1920s. The artistic and luxurious space throughout the hotel is achieved by featuring art and amenities designed in collaboration with craftsmen from around Japan. As for the food menu, it’s seasonal fresh ingredients are sourced domestically. The glasses and dinnerware served are collaborations with stores in the surrounding area. All 120 non-smoking guest rooms feature an ensuite bathroom with a rain shower, in-room safety box, mini fridge, USB plugs, free Wi-Fi, a high-quality bluetooth speaker and flatscreen TV with original music and film. The lounge area and a compact 24-hour gym can be found near the reception on the second floor. Services include laundry (from 2,750JPY) and a 24-hour front desk with a check in time of 3PM and check-out time at 11AM For sightseeing you can rent a Tokyobike for the day (2,000 JPY/day) to explore the vicinity.
Ramen has become a global cuisine over the past decade with ramen-ya popping up in cities all over the globe. Millions of visitors, however, flock to Japan every year to experience the real deal. Harukiya, located a few minutes from JR Ogikubo Station, is a Tokyo institution. Established in 1949 it is the originator of Tokyo-style ramen which uses niboshi (dried baby sardines) in its broth and has been serving up first-class soy sauce which hasn’t changed for more than 70 years and has, rightly, earned it a legion of devotees. Although Harukiya has a sister branch in nearby Kichijoji, the Ogikubo store is the original and takes great pride in creating its authentic Tokyo-style chuka soba as well as chashumen and wontonmen. The aroma from the ramen floats into the outside streets having a visible effect on the patrons who queue daily to get their hands on Harukiya’s mouth-watering ramen. Popular with Ogikubo residents and foreign ramen aficionados, Harukiya has a small, curated menu with toppings, cold noodles and a few side dishes which accompany the ramen. Harukiya has led the Tokyo ramen industry for generations and there’s a reason for this. The aromatic soy sauce ramen and hand made noodles which are freshly kneaded every morning have inspired ramen lovers and ramen chefs the world over and will continue to do so for many more years to come.
Re:gendo is a cafe, apparel and arts and crafts store found in the quaint backstreets of Nishi-Ogikubo, just a few minutes from the station. It embodies everything about Shimane prefecture, capturing the essence of its history, culture and beauty that help inspire everything on offer here. Located in a spectacular wooden structure, which is said to be around 90 years old, Re:gendo is an homage to Shimane and the staff and owners take great care to display the cultural history of their beloved homeland. It’s a curious space, layed out over two floors. It acts as a thriving restaurant, apparel store, arts and crafts shop and a workshop space which focuses on teaching craftsmanship and culinary skills. The cafe recognizes the nuances involved in Shimane produce such as rice which it uses for its extremely popular, seasonal lunch menus musubi zen and nigiri zen. Musubi zen consists of a main fish or meat dish while nigiri showcases vegetable nigiri sushi. Both courses come with accompaniments including vegetables, pickles and miso soup. The ingredients at Re:gendo are sourced locally in Toyo or from Shimane. The cafe also does a fine collection of sweets (Shimane folk are particularly fond of wagashi or traditional Japanese confectionery). The apparel and crafts section, situated on the first floor adjacent to the cafe includes a range of arts and crafts from Shimane and a curated fashion line which uses a type of non-toxic dye from Shimane so it’s safer for pregnant women or customers with allergies. The second floor hosts regular workshops about local craftsmanship and cuisine. Visitors from all over the world come and participate in workshops and learn the intricacies involved in Shimane’s abundance of specialities. Re:gendo acts, then, as a local hub and a popular attraction for many of Tokyo’s Shimane transplants. Refined, cultured, respectful of ancient traditions and friendly, it should be considered an essential stop on any visit to Nishi-Ogikubo.
Harmonica Allee is located in the trendy area of Kichijoji and is a section of local izakaya bars that are only a few minutes' walk from the train station. The alleys of Harmonica Allee are narrow and at the same time full of life. There you can find fashion, local market traders, which are open during the day, as well as izakayas and pubs that can be visited until late at night. Since the 1990s, Harmonica Allee has been very popular, especially among the locals, for its stand-up bars with inexpensive snacks in the late evening. The area was named for the way this tight tangle of restaurants, shops, and bars resembles a harmonica. It can get full quickly, but it definitely never gets uncomfortable!
Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine (阿佐ヶ谷神明宮) is a real gem of a shrine just a few minutes walk from the north exit of JR Asagaya Station. It's also one of Asagaya's most popular cherry blossom viewing sites and the shrine holds an annual festival, Kan-okai, where dances and songs are performed by shrine members, attracting crowds of people due to its popularity. Shinmeigu also has a long history and is said to date back over 1,000 years and is dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. It's incredibly spacious and picturesque and many visitors will be surprised to find such an expanse of space only 10 minutes from Shinjuku on the Chuo Line. The shrine grounds also plays host to a nohgakudo (a noh theater) where dances and performances are held. It's a stunning structure in itself but when placed inside the grounds of such an historic and beautiful shrine it transforms into something more. A mirror of Japanese culture and tradition and an integral part of Japanese history and society. Like most shrines, there are various structures and spaces used for various rituals and it's a good idea to take your time and walk and appreciate the tranquility and total beauty of Shinmeigu Shrine. Before you leave, consider buying some popular souvenirs like Kamimusubi (straps) or other limited-time items.
Asagaya Pearl Center has been playing a central role in the community for more than 60 years. With its 700-meter long and elegant main street, which resembles a pearl necklace on maps, this shotengai is studded with history, charm and community spirit. Pearl Center also hosts Asagaya's renowned Tanabata Festival which draws huge crowds every year. Asagaya Tanabata is held in August every year to coincide with Tanabata in the old calendar. With yukata-clad kids and adults, huge papier mache installations along the street and stalls selling lots of goodies for visitors, it's an important day in the festival calendar. Pearl Center is one of the venues of Asagaya Jazz Streets whose festival has taken place since 1995, attracting a lot of jazz fans each year. Peal Center has a huge variety of about 250 shops and services including boulangeries, popular liquor stores, kamaboko stores and sweets stores like Tomoean, Chimoto and Toraya. It also hosts a delicatessen popular with foreign customers and a few mobile phone stores which also help non-Japanese residents and tourists with the complexities of setting up a mobile phone or SIM card. There are also stores dealing in kimono and wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) which seem to be growing in popularity with foreign guests. A close-knit community with an old-school atmosphere, Pear Center is a welcoming location with an adult atmosphere. Families and children love the peacefulness and charming store owners who have been situated there for decades. Pearl Center serves its community well and with its array of retail and dining opportunities and quaint atmosphere it's no wonder that it's held in the hearts of many Asagaya locals.
A few seconds walk from JR Asagaya visitors will stumble across Star Road, a maze of small bars and cafes which has been serving the good folk of Asagaya for decades. A mini Golden Gai (Shinjuku's in/famous bar area) Star Road isn't exactly a road but a few blocks and streets choc-a-block with eateries, bars, izakaya and local spots serving up everything from afro pop to oden. Very much a local and busy location, the store owners are friendly and welcoming and Star Road has, quite rightly, become a hub for the local community. Although Asagaya is known as a "village" within the confines of Tokyo, it welcomes foreign guests wholeheartedly and some places have English menus available and the odd English speaker thrown in for your convenience. Many of the stores, cafes, music venues and bars there are on the smaller side so arriving early is your best bet just to make sure you grab a table. Don't be surprised if you end up chatting the night away with businesspeople, local artists and musicians as Star Road reflects the eclectic mix of people that make up the human fabric of Asagaya. In fact, Star Road warmly welcomes solo drinkers so don't hesitate to visit if by yourself. One such store you should put on your list when visiting Star Road is the compact but friendly Odenya Yonekyu which has an inviting array of oden (one pot dishes) and beverages with a full roster of local jorensan (regulars). And a visit to live music venue and (very colorful) bar Asagaya Ten is essential. This venue specializes in Afrobeat, pop, jazz, hip-hop and many other genres of music. Affordable and lively, Star Road offers something different than your run-of-the-mill izakaya experience in places like Shinjuku or Shibuya. An authentic shitamachi experience that you will never forget, Star Road has been entertaining locals and for decades now and will continue to do so. There's so much going on in this area with a huge array of izakaya and cafes that you are sure to find your ideal spot that you will, no doubt, keep returning to over and over again. The local store owners even run a drinking festival, Nomiyasan, twice a year where customers can hop in and out of bars and pay discounted prices. It's a great way of finding new places and exploring one of Asagaya's most charming and well-loved areas.