have you ever heard of Nakano before you came to Tokyo? I hadn't, which is why I went to explore the area on my first day there. Let me share my impressions with you!
The first place I wanted to visit was Nakano broadway, which many people recommended seeing. The way there leads through a roofed passage full of little shops, which sell useful and semi-useful, but pretty things.
For example those chopsticks and porcelain piggies:
I also saw a McDonalds and kept that in mind for sudden occurances of western-food-craving. In case anyone wonders whether there are differences between Japanese McDonalds and the McDonalds, look at this ad of their new specialty:
Mayonnaise and… what is the other sauce? No, it's not mayonnaise. Those are chocolate covered french fries.
Here is the entry of Nakano broadway:
Nakano broadway is a huge shopping complex, where you can find basically everything. If it's rainy, you could spend all day in there without becoming bored. The ground floor sells groceries and on the first floor you can find various shops for everyday needs as well as souvenirs for fair prices. I found those boxes in a beautiful tea shop:
Once I got up the stairs beyond the first floor, I found myself in Otakus paradise. It became clear why Nakano broadway has been described as a "condensed Akihabara": Dozens of unique stores with different specialities sell everything that the heart of a manga or anime fan, cosplayer or collector, desires. There was also a maid café, to complete the impression of "condensed Akihabara". However, compared to Akihabara it was less flashy and a lot less exhausting to go shopping there. If you want to look for rare fan goodies in peace, this is the place to go. But beware, you might find yourself wanting things you didn't know you needed before: How about a poster of an old Japanese movie? Or a purple wig? Is this a good time to start collecting realistic looking dolls? Have a look yourself:
A shop that specializes in merchandise of bishounen (pretty men)
Those are real, coloured animal skeletons.
This store also sold second hand gothic lolita clothing.
Creepy or beautiful? A store nearby sold all kinds of eyes, wigs and clothes for the dolls.
I could have spend more time in there, but I became hungry. On the streets around the Nakano broadway, you can find lots of cheap, international food, as well as a big Life-Supermarket and a 100 Yen-Shop with many floors, in case there is still something missing from your shopping list.
After eating, I entered "ai-dori", the street of love.
It is a beautiful shopping street with many small stores and cafés. Among the things I saw were a place that sells handmade candy, a store that sells cheap second hand yukata and a small climbing gym.
Those are sweets in the making. They gave me one of their candy to try. Oishii!
At the end of the street, there are a Buddhist temple and a few meters away, a Shinto shrine.
A ten minute walk brought me to a beautiful park. Even at the beginning of february, the first trees had already starten to blossom. In case I ever turn my New Years resolutions into action, this will be a good place for jogging.
Later on, I got lost. While trying to find my way back, I discovered this weird monster store:
The way home through a quiet residentual area showed that the Japanese know well how to create a friendly neighborhood:
Later that day, my friends and I went to a public bath near the Yadoya Guesthouse Office. Before we went in, we stopped at McDonalds and tried the mysterious chocolate french fries. Surpisingly, they were tasty!
As in most Japanese public baths, men and women had to seperate at the entry.
Once inside, we became squeaky clean before relaxing in the hot bubbly water. Outside there was an area with pink water that smelled like wine. The brave amongst our group explored a bath with icy cold water as well as an electricity bath, which some found nice, while others found it just painful. Even though most of us voluntarily became electrocuted that evening, we ended the day feeling happy and relaxed. Oyasuminasai!
*Dorm bed only 2300yen/night, Private 3700yen～, cheapest hostel in west Tokyo, Nakano.
YADOYA Guesthouse for Backpackers D (3min walk):
*Dorm bed start from 2500yen~3000yen/night.
YADOYA Guesthouse Tokyo for long stay:
*Dorm bed only 40,000yen/month(including utilities), private room from 45,000yen/month. It`s nice to live in Nakano, and we support your Tokyo life!