Cherry blossoms at Benzaitendo, Inokashira Park
Kichijōji (吉祥寺) is a western suburb of Musashino, Tokyo. The general area also extends into Mitaka. The highlight is Inokashira Park, with long walking paths surrounding a lake. The park is filled with both cherry trees and maple trees, making Inokashira Park an excellent choice for both flower viewing in the spring, and seeing the autumn colors in the fall. Kichijōji once enjoyed a reputation as an artists' colony, and today it is filled with stores from little boutiques to the big department stores. Kichijōji seems to attract everyone, from upscale shoppers, hip-hop dancers practicing in the train station to musicians playing live music in the park and at the many live houses in the vicinity.
Kichijōji is on the JR Chūō Line (中央線) and Sōbu Line (総武線) from Shinjuku Station, and the Inokashira Line (井の頭線) from Shibuya Station. Chūō trains depart from Tokyo Station on platforms 1 and 2 (30 minutes; ¥380), and from Shinjuku on platform 10 (15 minutes; ¥210). Avoid trains designated Special Rapid (Chūō Special Rapid (中央特快) and Ome Special Rapid (青梅特快)), most of which do not stop at Kichijoji.
Kichijōji is also the terminus of the Keiō Inokashira Line (京王井の頭線) from Shibuya. This is the best way to reach Kichijoji from Shibuya (18 minutes; ¥190). The local train can take a long time, so it is often worth waiting for or switching to the express train.
Bus service connects Kichijōji directly with Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. Pick up the bus on the east side of the train station, underneath the JR tracks. Reservations are highly recommended during peak times, with tickets available at the Odakyu Bus ticket window (小田急バス案内所) on the north side of the station, across from Sun Road. Buses for Narita depart once every hour or two, take 90-120 minutes depending on traffic, and the one-way fare is ¥3000. Buses for Haneda run in the morning and evening, cost 50-90 minutes, and the one-way fare is ¥1200.
When arriving in Kichijoji by bicycle, parking is a concern. The police are vigilant about bikes parked illegally, particularly near the station and in busy areas. Illegally parked bikes might be tagged with a warning or impounded. There are numerous bike parking areas. The easiest to find is a 24h multi-floor bicycle parking area about 30m north of Yodobashi Camera. This parking area, and many of the others, has the first two hours free and ¥100 for 12 hour segments thereafter.
- Kichijoji Art Museum (吉祥寺美術館), 1-8-16 Kichijoji Honcho, ☎ +81 0422-22-0385, . Information is only available in Japanese.
- Kichijoji Theatre (吉祥寺シアター), 1-33-22 Kichijoji Honcho, ☎ +81 0422-22-0911, . Shows are only in Japanese.
- Kichijoji Anime Wonderland, . A large animation festival that occurs in mid-October every year. English-language tours of the festival may be available from tour operator H.I.S.
- Zenshinza Gekijo (前進座劇場), Kichijoji Minamicho 3-13-12 (500m SE of Kichijoji Station.), ☎ +81 0422-49-0300, . This theater, seating up to 500, holds a variety of shows.
Stores in Kichijoji range from galleries and boutiques that are an outgrowth of the area's artist colony past, to the department stores Marui and Isetan. Foreign chains such as Tower Records, Oshman's sporting goods and Lush have set up shop here as well. Sunroad is a long, covered shopping arcade on the north side of the station. Wind through narrow alleys of goods shops and yakitori restaurants in Harmonica Yokochō, also on the north side. Nakamichi Street, northwest of the station, has boutique stores and mid-range restaurants. If you're looking for bohemian-styled clothing or accessories, the alleyways running directly between Kichijoji Station and Inokashira Park is arguably the best place in Tokyo to begin your search.
- Yodobashi Camera, 1-19-1 Kichijoji Honcho (Just north of Kichijoji Station on the right.), . A famous Japanese department store selling computers, components, cameras, household appliances, and pretty much anything electronic.
- Yuzawaya, 2-1-25 Kichijoji Minamicho, . A huge handicraft shop adjacent to the station. There are three floors of toys.The dedicated shopper may find interesting souvenirs on the fabric floor.
- Onao, (On the fourth floor of Loft.), ☎ +81 0422-23-2673, . A nice selection of traditional Japanese paper and related souvenirs.
- Zool, minamichou1-17-1, ☎ +81 0422-44-8190, . noon-8PM. Vintage clothes (men's and women's) and select goods shop.
- RAG TAG, minamicho1-8-6, ☎ +81 0422-70-5850, . 11AM-8PM. Vintage clothes shop for popular brands.
- Baobab: World Kichen Y Musica, B1F, Kichijoji Minamicho 2-4-6, ☎ +81 0422-76-2430, . Food and music from the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Asia.
- Deva Deva Cafe, 2F,, . A cozy restaurant serving western vegetarian/vegan food. This place has excellent food and the staff are extremely friendly.
- Matsuzaka-gyū Satō (松坂牛サトウ), (Three minutes from the north exit of Kichijoji Station.). Famous for its deep-fried mincemeat cutlets (menchi katsu) which you can get as take-out, and there's usually a long line of customers spilling out into the shopping arcade.
- Iseya (いせや), Kichijoji Minamicho 1-15-8 (From the south exit of Kichijoji Station take the shopping street toward Inokashira Park.), ☎ +81 0422-43-2806. This yakitori (grilled chicken) tavern is a Kichijoji institution, first opening in 1928. The interior scene could be straight out of a 1950's black-and-white movie, full of raucous salarymen drowning their troubles in tall glasses of beer. This is the smaller branch shop; the main shop, housed in a marvelous old wooden building from 1953 to 2006, reopened as the base of a modern apartment tower in October 2007.
- 2 Papas, (Exit Kichijoji Station by the Central or Atre exit.), ☎ +81 0422-20-3172. Authentic philly cheese steak shop run by Mitch. Often a fun foreigner refuge, but all are always welcome.
- Monk's Foods, Kichijoji Gotenyama 1-2-4 (4 min. from south exit along Koen-dori), ☎ +81 0422-48-3977, . Th-Tu. Buddhist ascetics and quirky jazz pianists alike will feel at home at this cozy "slow food" restaurant. The fare is organically-grown, mostly vegetarian/vegan home-style Japanese. When you sit down, the owner will almost certainly ask if you can read the Japanese-only menu, if you look like you can't. If that's the case, just pick one of the three daily specials — vegetarian, fish, or chicken. Chances are you'll get something you like, along with some other exotic healthy vegetable that you won't like.
- Bubuka (ぶぶか), Kichijoji Minamicho 1-2-3 (Turn left coming out of the station's south exit.), ☎ +81 0422-41-8180. Daily 11:30AM-midnight. The abura soba served at this ramen restaurant is a welcome break from the usual salty and soupy ramen. Actually ramen not soba, abura soba is served with no soup, but does include the usual green onion, slice of pork, etc. An interesting addition is raw egg (nama tamago). Look for the store with the line in front — it is a popular place. ¥500-900.
- Ichi-en, Kichijoji Honcho 2-17-2, ☎ +81 0422-22-5919. If you are in the mood for some gyoza with your ramen, try Ichi-en on Nakamichi Street, on the northwest side of the station. The interior is what you'd expect from a traditional ramen shop. Be sure to try the huge gyoza — they are a cheap meal unto themselves. ¥500-900.
- Inokashira Tsuyube Hanare, Kichijoji Gotenyama 1-3-1 (Just outside of Inokashira Park.), ☎ +81 0422-47-9465. To get into this izakaya, you'll have to duck to get through the low-clearance door reminiscent of traditional tea houses. Be sure to order the mackerel (saba), which will be brought to your table and cooked by the chef on the spot using a handheld blowtorch. During peak times, reservations may be required.
- Mo-Mo-Paradise, Kichijoji Honcho 1-9-10 (In the Sunroad Arcade), ☎ +81 0422-20-1129. All-you-can-eat shabu-shabu is paradise. Although there is no English menu, you'll only need to choose between shabu-shabu and sukiyaki. All-you-can-eat for ¥1700.
- Mo-Para Nabe Zo, Q&K Bldg. 3F, Kichijoji Honcho 2-13-6, . Another all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu restaurant run by the same people as Mo-Mo Paradise. For the uninitiated, ask to be seated next to one of the glass partitions which describes how to cook in grammatically correct English. Refill on vegetables at a salad bar. ¥1890.
- Shimanchu Shokudo Niraikanai, Kichijoji Honcho 1-23-7, ☎ +81 0422-22-4877. Okinawa-themed restaurant and bar. Head downstairs for the Hawaiian-themed bar Jingle-Jangle
- Capricciosa, Kichijoji Honcho 2-16-12 (Down a small street at the back of Tokyu.), ☎ +81 0422-21-7881. An Italian-style chain restaurant.
- Zats Burger Cafe, Kichijoji Honcho 2-13-4, ☎ +81 0422-26-9107. 11AM-11PM, until 4AM on weekend nights. Excellent burgers in a bright and airy cafe, the specialty is the Sasebo burger, which is fried egg, cheddar cheese and bacon on a beef patty. Opened 2008. ¥690 for regular, ¥1380 for jumbo burger, fries ¥320.
- Gono Burger & Grill, Green House B1, Kichijoji Honcho 2-10-12 (Next to Carnival.), ☎ +81 0422-23-7050, . 11:30AM-11PM. Burgers in a wood-and-stone decor. The burgers aren't huge, but for ¥1200, the lunch set includes includes a nice salad and drink bar. Kid-friendly restaurant. ¥1200+.
- Jiima (じいま), Yuniasu Inokashira 101, Kichijoji Minamicho 2-13-13, ☎ +81 0422-41-1552 (fax: +81 090-2238-2441). This restaurant is small — only room for 20. However, the meat and fish are quite good, and the young and energetic wait staff make for a worthwhile visit. ¥1500-3000. (35.7010,139.5833)
- Richouen (李朝園), Cosmo Building 4F, Kichijoji Honcho (A block north and a block west of Kichijoji Station), ☎ +81 0422-21-4004, . This is a very large yakiniku place. It has patchwork architecture and tasty meat. ¥2000-4000. (35.70433,139.578938)
- gem's burger, Kichijoji Honcho 4-26-16 (On Highway 7, a 10 minute walk from Kichijoji Station towards Musashino University.), ☎ +81 0422-36-5022, . 11AM-11PM. Serves American-style burgers. Oddly, the owner doesn't provide ketchup, but the beef is tasty, so it's not a problem. ¥1000-2000. (35.709692,139.572088)
- La Befana (ラ・ベファーナ), Kichijoji Minamicho 1-10-11 (About 200m S of Kichijoji Station.), ☎ +81 0422-71-4800, . An Italian restaurant serving pasta and pizza. The restaurant can get packed on Friday and Saturday nights, at which time reservations are recommended. (35.702422,139.57775)
- Bloomoon (ブルームーン), 2F Kato Bldg, Kichijoji Honcho 1-30-16 (3 blocks SE of Yodobashi Camera.), ☎ +81 0422-22-6171, . Tu-Sa 5:30PM-1AM, Su 5:30PM-midnight. This restaurant has an eclectic selection of Asian food and international interior decorations. (35.70413,139.582468)
- Village Vanguard (ヴィレッジヴァンガード), Kichijoji Honcho 2-20-1, ☎ +81 0422-22-1003, . A burger and beer joint with a large variety of burgers and international drinks. (35.703637,139.575331)
- Donatello's, 1-15-8 Kichijoji Minamicho (oO the street next to Marui, next to the park.), ☎ +81 0422-44-8078. M-Sa 10:30AM-10:30PM, Su 10AM-10:30PM. The large windows in this cafe look out into Inokashira Park, Donatello's a good place to stop after a stroll. You may find the cafe cats sun-bathing next to the windows.
- Cat Cafe Calico, 1-5-7 Kichijoji Minamicho, Yuki Bldg. 4F (From Kichijoji Station's central exit, turn right and look on the left up a busy lane.), ☎ 0422-29-8353 (email@example.com), . 10 AM to 10 PM. Enjoy the company of this cafe's 15 cats as you sip your coffee or tea. An outlet for cat lovers who don't or can't keep cats at home, this cafe was covered in news wire reports in late 2007. Entrance fee ¥900, drinks from ¥150.
- Tsuru's Original Bean, Kichijoji Honcho 4-6-1 (On Nakamichi Street across from 7-11.), ☎ +81 0422-21-6722. 11AM-7PM. Beans roasted to order, nicely-made lights sweets and a blend coffee to rival them all. Quiet, bright and popular.
- Medewo & Dine, 2-13-6 Kichijoji Honcho (North of Showa-dori, across from the Nike store.), ☎ +81 0422-23-8208. 11:30AM-11:30PM. Check out the seats and service carts lifted from a Delta Air airplane. Espresso and a brownie ¥400.
- Sough Cafe, F&W Bldg. 2F, Kichijoji Minamicho 1-17-10 (En route to Inokashira Park from Kichijoji Station.), ☎ +81 0422 46-2718. A bright and airy cafe, dog-friendly. Some tables have game consoles to play games or watch a movie.
- ...ful Cafe, B1F, 2-17-12 Kichijoji Honcho (On Nakamichi Street.), ☎ +81 0422-28-7039, . M-Tu 11:30AM-10PM, Th-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, W 11:30AM-9PM.
- Warp, 1-30-10 Kichijoji Honcho, ☎ 0422-22-3514, . A live house with recording studios available for booking.
- Cheeky, B1, 1-30-10 Kichijoji Honcho, ☎ 0422-22-8005, . Tu-Su. Formerly the annex of Warp, now independent. Musicians such as Inushiki and Latyr Sy gather there, and collaborate until the brink of dawn. Time spent there is to experience musical and artistic genius.
- Star Pines Cafe, B1, 1-20-16 Kichijoji Honcho (Next to Yodabashi Camera.), ☎ 0422-23-2251, . Open until 6AM. A large club and live house. 2 floors and stage.
- Holic, Keyaki Bldg. B1, 1-1-8 Kichijoji Minamicho (From Kichijoji Station's south exit, turn right.), ☎ 0422-49-6638. A good selection of imported bottled beers and a couple of Japanese microbrews on tap. The food is better than average, but also a little pricey.
- Jingle-Jangle, B1, 1-23-7 Kichijoji Honcho, ☎ 0422-21-8444. Fun-filled Hawaiian-themed bar located under Shimanchu Shokudo Niraikanai. Very friendly, English speaking bar staff.
- Hub, . An English-style pub with locations throughout Japan.
- Hub, Kichijoji Arufa Bldg. B1, 1-2-7 Kichijoji Honcho (Off of Sun Road.), ☎ 0422-20-6540.
- Hub, Yuki Bldg. B1, 1-5-7 Kichijoji Minamicho (At Kichijoji Station's south exit.), ☎ 0422-46-3546.
- Beer Bar Bicke, 2-13-7 Kichijoji Honcho, Gurandee Bldg 3F, ☎ 0422-21-8775, . 5PM-midnight. This bar has an extensive collection of international beer.
- Alvorada, B1, 1-32-9 Kijijochi Honcho (From Kichijoji Station's north exit, follow the tracks to the right for five minutes.), . A cozy Brazilian-style luncheonette and bar with good food and live music.
Hotels in Kichijoji are generally quite expensive. An option some weekend travelers choose is to stay overnight at one of several net cafes near the station. Net cafes won't work for travelers with much luggage or in large groups, and they are not as quiet as proper hotels, but they can be used (by Japanese speakers) in a pinch.
- Kichijoji Tokyu Inn, Kichijoji Minamicho 1-6-3, ☎ +81 0422-47-0109 (fax: +81 0422-43-1811), . An upscale branch of a national hotel chain. Single ¥12,500, double ¥22,500.
There are many net cafes near the station.
- MOOPA, 6F New Center Building, Minamicho 1-4-3 (From JR Kichijoji, take the park exit. You'll see the sign for this place on the building directly in front of you. Ride the elevator up.), ☎ +81 0422-42-6377, . 24h. This is a medium-sized net cafe. It's reasonably quiet and has a large manga selection. The computers are perfectly functional, though not exactly new. 30 mins ¥200, 3 hours ¥990, 6 hours ¥1680, 10-hour night pack ¥1880. (35.70245,139.579456)
- MediaCafe POPEYE, 3F Sunroad Plaza Daiaplace, Kichijoji Honcho 1-11-30 (From the NE exit of Kichijoji Station, walk NNE to the traffic light and the walk one block WNW. The station is on the west side of the intersection.), ☎ +81 0422-29-0315, . 24h. This net cafe has night packs, showers, food vending machines, and couples booths. (35.704888,139.580247)
- JR train tickets can be reserved and purchased at Kichijoji Station. The nearest convenient shinkansen hub is Tokyo Station, a direct ride on the Chuo Line.
- The Chuo Line itself continues in the east to Nagoya, but if speed is a consideration, the shinkansen is faster.
- Shiojiri is three and a half hours to the east on the Chuo Line.