The artsy neighborhood of Kichijoji is one the coolest off-the-beaten-path destinations to explore in Tokyo. Featuring boutique shopping, massive arcades, and a famous sprawling park complete with picture-perfect cherry blossom trees, Kichijoji has all the ingredients for a super fun weekend in the suburbs of Tokyo. If you’re seeking a trendy and laid-back trip spent exploring secret alleyways and tasting plenty of world-class Japanese street food from crispy Taiyaki to authentic Yakitori, here is your itinerary for a weekend away in Kichijoji, Japan.
Where is Kichijoji Japan?
Kichijoji is located in the western suburbs of Tokyo, Japan. It’s part of the Musashino City in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. The neighborhood is approximately 20 kilometers west of the central Tokyo area and can be easily accessed by train
Getting to Kichijoji from Tokyo
To get to Kichijoji from Tokyo, you can take the JR Chuo Line from Tokyo Station to Kichijoji Station, which takes approximately 25 minutes. Another option is to take the Keio Inokashira Line from Shibuya Station to Kichijoji Station, which takes approximately 20 minutes. Both trains run regularly, so you can check the schedule and choose the most convenient time for your journey. It is recommended to use a Suica or Pasmo card for payment, which can be purchased at ticket vending machines in the station.
Kichijoji: What to know before you go
- Kichijoji is one of the most popular and livable neighborhoods in Tokyo, consistently ranking high in surveys of Japanese residents.
- Kichijoji is home to the beautiful Inokashira Park, which features a lake, a shrine, and various cultural and entertainment facilities.
- The neighborhood has a thriving shopping and dining scene, including stylish boutiques and a diverse range of international and traditional Japanese cuisine options.
- Kichijoji is a hub for anime and manga culture, with a large number of specialty stores and events dedicated to the genre.
- The area has a rich cultural history, dating back to the Edo period, and several temples and shrines can still be found in the neighborhood.
- Kichijoji has a strong arts and music scene, with regular live performances and exhibitions taking place in the neighborhood’s theaters and galleries.
How to Spend a Weekend in Kichijoji, Japan
Iseya is a local favorite and traditional Yakitori restaurant. Located directly across from the breathtaking Inokashira Park, Iseya is the perfect pit stop to get acquainted with the relaxed vibe of the neighborhood while sipping on Asahi beer and munching on tasty Japanese tapas. This uber cozy spot has impeccable vibes with moody lighting and traditional Japanese interior design. Dedicated to serving delicious food for every meal, fill up at Iseya before exploring the winding streets of picturesque Kichijoji under the glowing street lights.
As though you took a step into the past, explore this ambient alleyway lined with glowing lanterns that encompass traditional Japanese drinking culture. A relic of post World War II Japan, Harmonica Yokocho originated as a flea market that now comes to life once the sun sets. It’s the best place in Kichijoji for after-work drinks and good chats with old friends. Lined with traditional eateries and standing bars, Harmonica Yokocho is a foreigner-friendly Japanese experience that you can’t miss while in town. This is also the perfect destination for an artsy night out in Tokyo.
Nothing says breakfast like buttery pancakes, and Japanese-style pancakes are the best (and sweetest) way to start your Saturday. A Happy Pancake is one of the most kawaii breakfast restaurants in Kichijoji. Creamy, hot pancakes are served every day with a helping of whipped cream on top. This super cute restaurant is sure to provide the necessary fuel for your busy day exploring the neighborhood.
Inokashira Park is a true oasis tucked away in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. The park is famous for its sprawling and well-kept grounds that are picturesque in every season. Pink sakura petals flutter in the spring, cool summer breezes sweep through lush green plant life, and vibrant oranges and reds paint the trees in the fall. Whether you are taking a walk in the crisp winter air or celebrating the annual cherry blossom festival, Inokashira park will not disappoint.
The fairytale world of Studio Ghibli is for you to explore first-hand at the famous Studio Ghibli Museum. Located within the vast grounds of Inokashira Park, this museum features all things Studio Ghibli, including major hits such as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle. The museum offers a combination of a children’s museum, technology museum, and fine arts museum — one of the best art museums in Tokyo. There are several replicas of movie characters and objects, such as the iconic Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro, to snap Insta pics with.
If your stomach is growling after a busy morning, try some authentic Japanese street food. Satou as your best bet for some savory fried goodness to indulge in after all that walking. The miniature Katsu served at Satou are famous here, so be prepared to wait a little bit. But trust us, it is totally worth it. Menchi Katsu are deep-fried minced meat cutlets and a staple of Japanese comfort food, at just 240 yen per piece. If you are on the hunt for some of the best sweets in Japan, try Amane Taiyaki for traditional crispy Japanese pastries or Crepe House Circus for a super creamy and opulent take on the traditional French dessert.
One of the best breakfasts in Tokyo, World Breakfast All Day is a cozy restaurant that serves traditional breakfasts from countries around the world. There is always a new culinary experience to be had at this popular breakfast spot. Whether you want a British fry up with the beans and everything, or a traditional Taiwanese breakfast, World Breakfast All Day offers food that tastes like your grandma’s, so be prepared to feel at home. This location is super trendy, and the quirky vibes make it perfect to enjoy your Sunday morning breakfast in true Kichijoji fashion.
Directly across from Kichijoji Station, Kichijoji Sunroad is a line of fashion boutiques, restaurants, cafes, arcades, and more. There is something for everyone here, whether you are seeking rare pop-culture treasures, merch from your favorite franchise, or just a new pair of kicks for walking around the city. Perfect for a stroll on a rainy day, the Sunroad Shopping district is exciting, colorful, and full of new things to be discovered.
The Best Hotels in Kichijoji
Located close to the train station as well as Inokashira park, Kichijoji Tokyu Rei is a great option to enhance your stay in the neighborhood. With round-the-clock attentiveness, a well-stocked banquet hall, an indoor pool, as well as a luxurious breakfast service, Kichijoji Tokyu Rei is one of our favorites in Kichijoji.
Richmond Hotel Tokyo is in the heart of Kichijoji and works to provide a little slice of paradise and comfort to rejuvenate you on your busy travels. With world-class buffets serving anything you can imagine, top amenities, and service, this is another super safe bet for your weekend stay.