Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Tokyo

Madeleine Ray

Outside of central Tokyo, there are so many hidden gem neighborhoods each with its own unique character. Full of historical and contemporary importance, these neighborhoods mark some of the most charming areas across the city. From Kitchen Town to Nakano Broadway, visit these unique areas for an authentic look into daily Tokyo life.

Sangenjaya, Shimokitazawa, Koenjikita, Kappabashi Utensils Street, Kagurazaka, Jiyugaoka, Futakotamagawa, Nakano Broadway

  • Sangenjaya in Tokyo, Japan

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      Sangenjaya is a bustling, retro area of Tokyo lined with quirky shops and hidden alleyways. Along the Den-en-Toshi line from Shibuya, this is a quick stop outside of the usual tourist route. For plenty of subculture-friendly shops, vintage stores, arcades, and authentic Japanese food, there is a reason Sangenjaya is one of the most popular areas for Tokyo locals.

  • Shimokitazawa in Tokyo, Japan

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      Shimokitazawa is most famous for being the vintage shopping capital of Tokyo, along with housing adorable cafes and secret treasures. Shimo is a must for any fashionista, being a major player in the Japanese fashion scene. You are sure to find rare pieces and discover new trends exploring the winding streets of this charming neighborhood.

  • Koenjikita in Tokyo, Japan

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      Koenji is an area known for underground culture featuring retro electronics, used record stores, and plenty of vintage clothing boutiques. The small shops lining the streets of Koenji reflect the characteristics of old Japanese architecture. Koenji also has plenty of old temples and parks, making it the perfect place for a day trip outside of the city.

  • Kappabashi Utensils Street in Tokyo, Japan

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      Kappadashi is an entire street lined with restaurant supply stores and is also known as "Kitchen Town". This is a really fun area to visit, with some locations teaching you how to create iconic fake food that is often used to advertise menus around Japan. You are sure to find unique souvenir items along Kappadashi for a great price.

  • Kagurazaka in Tokyo, Japan

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      Kagurazaka is a neighborhood in Tokyo whose hilly streets are lined with some of the most delicious restaurants and cafes in the city. Kagurazaka is famous for the Zenkokuji Temple as well as incorporating French culture into the unique style of this captivating little town.

  • Jiyugaoka in Tokyo, Japan

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      Jiyugaoka is a magical area full of fashion boutiques, adorable cafes, and even a secret railroad pathway that takes you through residential areas lined with blooming flower trees. Jiyugaoka is the perfect alternative from uber busy Shibuya or Harajuku for those who love fashion and Japanese pop culture.

  • Futakotamagawa in Tokyo, Japan

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      Futako Tamagawa is one of the most elegant areas in Tokyo. Alongside a beautiful river and plenty of lush green parks, Futako has several luxury malls full of high-end shopping and unique gift stores. I recommend exploring the massive river parks and the surrounding neighborhood which is a breath of fresh air away from central Tokyo.

  • Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Japan

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      Nakano Broadway is an iconic shopping complex located near Nakano station on the edge of Shinjuku city. This vintage mall has hundreds of small stores dedicated to vintage clothes, anime collectibles, video game merchandise, and plenty of delicious restaurants. Nakano is a culturally rich area outside of the shopping complex, with plenty of jewelers, boutiques, small art galleries, and other unique finds, Nakano area is a hidden gem you cannot miss.