Explaining about Nakano
☆Where in Tokyo?!☆
The Nakano ward is on the west side of Tokyo, located next to Shinjuku ward.
It takes only 4 minutes on the JR Chuo Line to go from Nakano Station to Shinjuku station, making it easy to explore the exciting nightlife in Shinjuku. JR lines: Chuo and Sobu, and the Tokyo Metro Tozai line runs through Nakano station which is convenient and effective for saving money as you don’t have to switch stations.
☆What is Nakano area?☆
There is no better place to start your adventure in Tokyo than the YADOYA Guesthouse in Nakano! There are several hundred different restaurants and bars in Nakano.
The long, covered shotengai (shopping street) to the north of Nakano Station is full of cheap chain stores as well as local shops that you can check out. Shotengai leads right into the entrance of Nakano Broadway (a small Akihabara, where you can see a bit of the 'Otaku' culture).
There are also nice parks nearby like Philosophy Park where you can see many statues of famous philosophers, and Nakano Central Park
Nakano Broadway is a shopping center in Tokyo, famous for its many stores． On the 1st Floor you will find shops selling cheap clothes, shoes and second hand kimono.
From the 2nd floor up to the 4th floor, you will find many shops related to anime like manga, magazines, collectors' items, animation character figurines, idol merchandise, game consoles, video games and animation/idol related CDs.
You can also find antique watches, second hand photo books especially of Japanese photographers, subculture book store, unique Japanese T-shirts, darts and old toys etc.
In the basement you will find a supermarket, other groceries shops for fruits, vegetables, meat and fresh seafood. There’s also the famous 8 layer soft served ice cream. Starting from 6pm you can usually find discounted food like bento boxes, and sushi.
☆Uniqueness of Nakano☆
Nakano is unique due to its strong Otaku subculture. The Japanese word, Otaku, can be translated to “nerd” or “geek”, people who are really in love with a specific thing such as anime, manga, video games, computers, music, etc.…. For example, we would call someone who’s really loves and is very knowledge about anime, “Anime Otaku”.
This smaller Otaku subculture that you find in Nakano fits in nicely into the grander culture of Otaku in Japan. It`s difficult to explain what Otaku is exactly, and it best understood through experiencing it.
- What else is going on in Nakano?
Otaku isn’t the only thing you will find in Nakano! There are many places to hang out within walking distance from our YADOYA Guesthouses where you can enjoy Nakano nightlife. With its very relaxed and local atmosphere you can also enjoy plenty of unique local bars, restaurants, ramen shops, karaoke bars, etc. that are scattered around the ward. It’s also a cozy place to watch jazz or blues shows that aren’t too commercialized or very touristy. Most people are friendly and welcoming in Nakano so don`t be afraid to spark up a conversation!
☆Food & Drink in Nakano☆
You can find almost everything here in Nakano!
There are so many different Japanese style foods like ramen, sushi, yakitori, Fugu (baloon poison fish), etc. Pop into any Izakaya, bar, or restaurant and you`ll find something yummy to eat! It would take almost a year to try them all out! In addition, most restaurants are reasonably priced.
What really makes Nakano unique is that you can find so many different kinds of local Japanese food from all over the country. Why? There used to be Police Academy that attracted Japanese people from all over the country. Being away from home many of these students ached to taste their local food again. This sparked up tons of restaurants that specialized in all sorts of different local dishes from across the country.
Japanese foods and flavors vary a lot depending on the area you`re in. Different regions use a variety of Miso, soy sauce, seasonings and methods of cooking.
Due to historical reasons there are many Okinawa style restaurants in Nakano. In the 70’s, mainland Japanese people discriminated against people from Okinawa because of their different culture. As a result, many people of Okinawa origin moved to Nakano because of its accepting community. In current times, Nakano is still very accepting and place where minorities feel more comfortable living.
If you want to spend less money on food you can always go to any of the supermarkets scattered around Nakano. After a certain hour at supermarkets, you can find discounts up to 50% on bento boxes and other foods. The food is still tasty, and it`s effective way to be frugal!
☆Activities in the neighborhood☆
If you`re looking for some green space, there are some nearby parks that are a fantastic place to relax. Most notably, being the Tetsugaku-do Park, Heiwano-Mori Park, and Nakano Central Park. In Japanese, Tetsugaku means philosophy. Philosopher “Enryo Inoue” made this park in the Meiji era so people could have a place to think or meditate. Furthermore, Nakano Central Park is a great place to have a picnic and there`s usually different events going on during the weekends!
You can also visit the local Arai-Yakushi temple. They have Ennichi (a day believed to have a special relation with a particular Japanese deity) on the 8th, 18th, 28th every month where they host a small market. The Arai-Yakushi temple also hosts an antique market that sells old kimonos, pottery etc. on the first Sunday of every month.
JR Chuo-line is a famous line due to lots of artists, musicians, animators, and authors living along the Chuo-line area.
It starts from Tokyo, and continues west towards Kanda, Ochanomizu, Yotsuya, Shinjuku, Nakano, Koenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo, Nishiogikubo, Kichijoji, Mitaka. Each area around these stations has their own unique atmosphere.
“Kanda” is famous for its second hand bookshops where you can find all kinds of specialized books.
“Ochanomizu” has is well known for its instrument shops. Certain famous musicians from around the world travel to Ochanomize to buy guitars or other instruments.
There’s also many sports shop around the Kanda and Ochanomizu area..
“Shinjuku” is one of the biggest wards of Tokyo. In it there is the Tokyo Metropolitan Office Building (go up to the observatory on the 45th floor and get an amazing view of the city), Kabukicho (biggest nightlife spot in Asia) department stores, Golden-gai (old bars area), 2-Chome (gay area). Even though Shinjuku is a very modern, business like ward you can still find lots of traditional Japanese places and culture.
In the Koenji ward, about a 20 min walk from Nakano there are a lot of second hand clothing shops and small musical venues. Young musicians and comedians like to live this area.
Asagaya is quiet area where many famous authors have lived.
Ogikubo is the famous ramen area where you can find original Tokyo style ramen. If you`re in Ogikubo make sure you go to Harukiya to try out this Tokyo style ramen!.
Nishi-Ogikubo has lots of little antique shops, nice cafes and cozy restaurants.
Kichijoji has a beautiful park named Inokashira Park as well as many fashionable and cozy shops, and cafes.
Mitaka has the Gibri museum!
Moreover, if you take the Chuo-line towards the west it will take you towards the mountains. You can visit Mt. Takao or Okutama, or even go to the Nagano prefecture.
Mt. Takao is a famous mountain in Tokyo. It is easily accessible and it’s a nice walk to the top of mountain. It`s only about one hour from Nakano to Takaoguchi station. (need to change at Takao station)
Okutama is a beautiful place to relax when you`re feeling tired from all the busyness that is Tokyo. In Okutama there`s a river, mountains, hiking trails, and enjoy Onsen. Best of all it`s only 1 hour and half from Nakano station!
Enjoy your journey down the Chuo-line!!
A map which shows all the recommended places and restaurants to visit in Nakano with added photos and descriptions in English.