About a mile south of Tokyo Sky Tree in east central Tokyo is the town of Kinshicho. A small town centered around the JR Kinshicho rail station, Kinshicho offers a variety of department stores, movie theaters, grocery stores, a large outdoor park, and various other restaurants and shops. The town is compact enough to see in less than a day, and is worth a short day trip. It’s also close enough to walk to from Sky Tree to the north.
Take the Hanzomon Metro line to Kinshicho Station (Z13), or take the JR Chuo Line or Sobu-Chuo Line to Kinshicho Station and exit. There are exits on the street on the northwest side and in the basements of some of the large department stores. There is also a street-level exit on the west side of Kinshi Park at the northeast end of the town. The main JR Station sits below and underground beneath the TERMINA department store.
The town is roughly laid out in a grid or square less than .5 miles across. The station is in the center, with the TERMINA department store to the southwest, PARCO store complex to the southeast, AraK!T complex to the northwest and Kinshi Park to the north east (center right in this photo). To the east about a mile is the sister city of Kameido also with a JR station. On this map, Sky Tree is vivisble just a the top of the photo. The JR line tracks are visible in the lower center of the photo – just north of the main square.
TERMINA, PARCO, OIOI Department Stores
The central town area contains 3 main complexes as well as other side streets and shops. The main complexes are TERMINA, PARCO, and OIOI (pronounced “Marui”) department stores (depato in Japanese). The main east-west route at this intersection is Rt. 465. If you head west down Rt. 465, you’ll come to the fabulous Edo-Tokyo Museum, and the Hokusai Museum, both of which are located in the Ryogoku area, which also has a huge Sumo stadium.
On the northeast part of the town is a large park called Kinshi Park, which is popular with families. The park features a spectacular view of Tokyo SkyTree. Just to the north of the park is a large mixed-use center called OLINAS Core. There is also a free parking lot at OLINAS Core but only if you purchase over 15,00¥ worth of merch from any single shop. Interesting shops include a YAMADA Denki (electronics), a Seria 100¥ shop, a NITORI furniture shop, a Taito Game Station, and a TOHO Cinema. There is also a large baseball field, tennis courts, and gymnasium.
In the PARCO department store is a nice pancake shop called simply Butter which serves stacks of a dozen pancakes with fruit, whipped cream, and other goodies:
Crazy stacks of a dozen pancakes with fruit, butter, syrup, whipped cream, ice cream @ Butter in PARCO. Get ready to walk that 15 miles to walk it off.
Rakeru @ OIOI Kinshicho
Also in the OIOI bldg. is Rakeru. While not particularly high-end, this quaint western-style restaurant serves a variety of pancake plates with fruit, ice cream, whipped cream, and other toppings. Prices range from $6-$18. Not a bad little shop. There are loads of other nice restaurants on this floor also.
Thai Restaurant Keawjai
About 2 blocks west of the town center on Rt. 465 is the really awesome Thai Restaurant Keawjai. It’s right down from the corner around 35°41’45.61″ N 139°48’42.56″ E. Head west on 465 then turn north (right) up a side street. It’s on the left. It’s 1 block south of the ArcaK!T complex. From the street you will have a clear view of Tokyo Sky Tree to the north.
There is also a nice AEON supermarket in Kinshicho not too far away.
If you head east down Rt. 465 and cross the Jokojikken River at the Matsushiro Bridge, you’ll come to Kinshicho‘s sister city Kameido. We have another post on Kameido. It’s a smaller town and there’s not as much to do, but it’s less than a mile from Kinshicho so if you have time it’s worth a short hike. There is a station there but it’s only served by the Tobu Kameido Line and Chūō-Sōbu Line. There is no Metro stop. The 3 biggest features of Kameido are the atré shopping plaza, the huge Don Quijote 100¥ shop, and huge Mister Donut right across from each other.
Suitengumae (or simply “Suitengu“) is a small residential town just to the northeast of Tokyo Station. You can get here by taking the Metro Hanzomon subway line, or by walking or cycling. The walk is not far – about 2-ish miles. To walk or cycle from Tokyo Station, exit on the Yaesu (east) side of the station at the north exit, then head north until you hit Rt. 10 (Eitai Dori), then head east. About a mile down, you’ll come to the Minato Bridge which crosses the Nihonbashi River. The coordinates for this turn are roughly at 35°40’44.68″ N 139°46’59.90″ E. Turn left (north) and cross the bridge. Head north a few blocks and you’ll come to a massive 4-level freeway interchange above you. Turn left here. Keep this interchange in mind as it’s an important landmark for several reasons explained below. Also under this overpass is an entrance to the Metro subway Suitengumae Station which also houses the Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) which is explained below.
The huge freeway interchange north of Eitai Dori looking back west along Rt. 50. Suitengumae Station is behind the camera to the left.
Yaesu (east) exit with Tokyo Station on the right. This is facing south. Eitai Dori is to the left (east).
Just outside the Yaesu (east) side of Tokyo Station. Head north here to reach Eitai Dori, then head east (right).
West (Marunouchi) side of Tokyo Station at night. Just to the left out of frame is an entrance to the Hanzonmon Line underground. Suitengumae is to the east of Tokyo Station down Eitai Dori (Rt. 10). This photo is facing northeast.
If you turn right at this interchange you’ll come to the Sumida River a few blocks down. But instead turn left and a few blocks back east you’ll pass the Royal Park Hotel on your right, and come to another Suitengumae Station entrance on your left. You’re now in the heart of Suitengumae. In fact, there are severalSuitengumae Station entrance/exits scattered all around the area. You’ll have to go inside the station to get familiar with all the exits and where they lead. The station itself is entirely underground and except for the large entrance where T-CAT is, the only evidence of the station you’ll see are the small stairwells on the sidewalks.
An alternate walking route would be to cut down side streets east of Tokyo Station, then re-emerge onto Rt. 10 a few miles down.
Cutting east down side streets in Tokyo on the way to Suitengumae.
If you want to take a train to Suitengumae you’ll need to find the Hanzonmon Line on the Tokyo Metro. You can get it from Tokyo Station, or from Otemachi Station just to the north, but be warned that the tunnels + routes to Hanzomon Line are underground in Tokyo Station and are miles of labyrinths. You can easily get lost in them, and even if you don’t it takes forever to get to the actual Hanzomon Line platform under Tokyo Station. An easier way is to find a Hanzomon Line entrance on the surface streets north of Tokyo Station and head down. You still may have to walk a bit so be prepared. The entire experience is generally known around Tokyo to expats as Hanzomon Hell (see videos below). Sometimes you have to walk through entire shopping centers + up and down multiple flights of stairs to get to where you want to go. You can literally spend hours walking around in the system under Tokyo Station – so be prepared.
Abandon all hope of your feet not hurting all ye who enter here. Once you descend into Hanzomon Hell in search of a subway entrance, it may be quite some time until you find what you are looking for. Be prepared to walk. It may take hours.
Another corridor in Hanzomon Hell. Be ready to walk (and walk, and walk, and walk).
Station maps of Marunouchi, Chiyoda, and Tozai lines. Colored circles next to each station indicate line interchange stations. The station highlighted in red is the current station.
One of many surface street entrances to the Hanzomon Line in Otemachi.
Approaching the Ootemori level of Hanzomon Hell under Tokyo Station – only one of many levels you will have to pass through to find the subway platform you want. The station levels themselves are quite nice – it’s the miles of walking that makes it hell.
Deep inside Hanzomon Hell under Tokyo Station. As you come upon a Metro line sign in Hanzomon Hell, you may think your walk is over, but you’re not even close. You’ll often see signs like these color-coded with the line symbol and color, and a message of how much further (such as “Hanzomon Line 500m”) with an arrow. You get duped into thinking it’s just ahead but in reality you’ll have to pass through many such signs to reach the desired platform. What these signs really mean is “X number of meters until the next corridor junction or stairwell or escalator. So it really ends up being many such paths of 500m + 700m + 300M + 200M…. Before you know it, you’ve been walking for 2 hours and have walked over 5 miles!
Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) just under the freeway overpass interchange. Suitengumae Station is also inside. There’s also a small shopping mall. The pink bldg. visible ahead on the left side of the photo is the Royal Park Hotel. Just to the right behind the station next to the hotel is a huge paid bike parking lot. There is also a station entrance leading underground inside the hotel.
Just west of the station is the very luxurious Royal Park Hotel. It’s very nice but a bit expensive. Expect to pay $200 or more per night. On the northeast corner of the hotel is a huge outdoor paid bike parking lot where you can lock your bike for the day if you need to. Cost is around 400¥ ($4) for 8 hours.
AEON Supermarket + Doutour
There’s not a lot in the way of food around Sutengumae Station. There’s a Family Mart conbini (convenience store) just across the street as well as a 7-11. Just to the east across the street is a Doutour café which is quite good. A few blocks to the east on the same side as the station is a nice AEON supermarket which has good organic vegetables very cheap. They also sell KAGOME bottled vegetable drinks + bottled coffee. Most of the real food in Suitengumae is back towards the west along Rt. 50 where Suitengu shrine is (see below). There is also a post office along this route.
Looking back east along Rt. 50 towards the expressway interchange. The Royal Park Hotel is on the left.
Doutour café also a few blocks east of the station, facing south.
Eitai Bridge + Ookawabata River City
If you walk back to where the IBM HQ bldg. is, you’ll find a small bridge named Toyomi Bridge. You can cross back onto Eitai Dori by crossing this bridge. Once you’re back on Eitai Dori, if you head further east you’ll come to the world-famous Eitai Bridge with its iconic view of Ookawabata River City. You can walk or ride a bike across this bridge and stop mid-way to take photos. If you cross the bridge to the east and keep going, then turn south along Kiyosumi Dori, you’ll find the Tokyo University Centennial Museum of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), which also has a large wooden sailing ship, the Seimyo-maru outside to check out.
Ookawabata River City as seen from Eitai Bridge.
View of Ookawabata River City + Eitai Bridge from futher up the Sumida River.
Kiyosumi Park + Kiyosumi Teien Japanese Garden
A bit to the northeast of Suitengumae across the Sumida River is Kiyosumi Park and Kiyosumi Teien Japanese Garden/Ryōtei Tea House. The garden is spectacular, especially in the fall and is well worth a stop. You’ll need to cross the river and then head north on side streets for a few blocks, but it’s not too far and is well worth the trip.
Suiten-gū (水天宮) Shrine
Perhaps the biggest historical attraction in the area is Suitengu Shrine, established in 1881. It’s just up Eitai Dori on the north side of the street to the west of Suitengumae Station. The shrine’s wooden architecture is amazing. Worth a look.
Aside from the Royal Park Hotel, there are a lot of guest houses and AirBnBs in the area, but the hidden gem to stay at is First Cabin Suitengumae. First Cabin provides luxury capsule lodgings for a reasonable price. Expect to pay $42/night or so. Hidden down a little side street just to the east of the interchange overpass, First Cabin Suitenguemae is worth a stay. The building has been fully remodeled and the facilities are spotless. There’s also a small Lawson conbini a few blocks to the north. The staff is very helpful and there’s a large lobby with tables + chairs to sit at where you can eat your brought-in food. The hotel also sells small breakfasts in the form of croissants, bagels, and pastries. There’s also a coffee machine. Overall, very nice. To get to FCS, head back east on Rt. 50 through the overpass, past a small Koban (police box), past the AEON supermarket, then make the next left (north) down the next side street. Continue north past the bagel shop, then a few blocks up turn right. The building is a tall narrow white/gray bldg. with a First Cabin sign on the front.
Suitengumae is just to the right of the bldg. in the center with the square hole in it. The river shown is the Sumida River. This is facing southwest.
The massive 4-level Metropolitain Expressway interchange north of Eitai Dori. The T-CAT/Suitengumae Station are underneath this overpass on the north side. If you head far enough east on this road and turn left (north) you can hike to Sky Tree in about 9 miles.
Hanzomon Line entrance in Tokyo Station. The line map is overhead with each station. Red indicates the current station.
Line entrances @ Otemachi Station. Each line has a colored circle, and a letter. The current station number for this station on each line is inside each circle at the bottom. Some, but not all stations are interchanges for other lines.
Another street entrance @ Otemachi Station. There’s also an area map. The green symbol to the right is the Toei subway system symbol – an alternate system from the Metro but which uses many of the same stations.
Street entrance to Suitengumae Station on Eitai Dori. Just to the right in the upper corner is the Royal Park Hotel. Just down the side street to the right is an outdoor paid bike locker. This is facing west towards Tokyo Station.
Hanzomon Line platform. The yellow rubber tracks are for sign-impaired people. The rubber tracks allow them to use their canes to find their way. Sort of like braille for walking.
The Marunouchi Line whizzes by under Tokyo Station. “Marunouchi” literally means “Home Circle” in Japanese ( “Maru” (circle) “no” (of) “uchi” (home) ).
Entrance to Hanzomon and Chiyoda Lines in Tokyo Station. The numbers indicate which platform side, the colors indicate which line. Some recent renovations in some stations in Tokyo also include lighted color stripes on the walls to indicate which path to take.
The area was originally called Iidamachi (literally ‘Iida’s Town‘), named after a local samurai in the late 1500’s – Iida Kihei. Later a bridge (bashi) was built in the area. The town informally came to be known as Iidabashi (‘Iida’s Bridge’) during the Meiji Restoration of the mid 1800’s. But the town wasn’t officially renamed to Iidabashi unti 1966 when the first post office was opened there.
Central Iidabashi – the main intersection with its huge elevated walkways is in the middle. The station is in the center left below the walkways. The Ramla complex is in the tall bldg. on the left. Mejiro Dori is the street running to the south towards the Imperial Palace. If you head east (right in this photo) at the small 2-story white bldg. in the center, you will come to Tokyo Dome. Shinjuku is to the west (left).
IIdabashi is a rather small town by Japanese standards but is just central enough to be important for easy access to different parts of the city. The town is mostly organized around one central intersection on Rt. 8 (Mejiro Dori), and includes 4 major streets – 2 running north, one running east-west, and one running south (Mejiro Dori).
The central area around the major intersection has everything you want to see as well as IIdabashi Station on the southwest corner. The station is the small tan bldg. on the right shown in the photo at the top of this page.
Just to the right of the station is a Becker’s (Bekazu’s to locals) which has all kinds of food and great burgers. Just to the right (west) of that around the corner is a shopping complex called Ramla.
Ramla complex, left. The station is just around the corner to the left. If you head up this street (west) for about 1/4 mile, then turn right, you’ll come to Kagurazaka. There is also a Metro subway entrance for Iidabashi Station there. A few blocks down on the left is the Canal Café.
A reverse view of the station – looking back north. The station and Ramla are on the left.
There is a massive long walkway system with stairs on each corner of the intersection. You’ll have to climb the stairs and then walk along the walkway to get to the other side.
The massive pedestrian elevated walkway.
Get ready to climb some stairs.
On the walkway, facing east. Tokyo Dome Hotel is just barely visible in the upper left side of the photo.
If you cross to the northwest corner of the walkway, then down to the street, you’ll be on a street running northwest (the next street to the north of the street Ramala is on), you’ll find some good restaurants and shops. There’s a nice Tully’s Coffee right on the corner, ramen and soba noodle shops, pizza, and a nice Italian place across the street called Spiga. A few more blocks up the street on the left is a Doutour café which has some good cheap food like lettuce hot dogs for a few bucks. There is also a Denny’s in the area.
Facing west. Station is to the southwest.
Plenty of local places to eat.
There is the aforementioned Tokyo Dome Hotel to the east in the area, a nice FLEXStay Inn to the northwest a bit (up Shin-Mejiro Dori), and a nice APA Hotel to the south on Mejiro Dori. All are worth it. Tokyo Dome Hotel tends to run roughly around $100/night, the other two around $65-80, depending on season + demand. There are various other hotels in the area.
Walk to Imperial Palace + Marunouchi
Once you’ve had your fun in Iidabashi, you can stroll for a few miles south on Mejiro Dori and after crossing Rt. 302, it will turn into Sotobori Dori. Continue south here for about 1/2 mile until you hit Hakusan Dori and then turn right, then 1 block and turn left. Continue south a bit more, and you’ll come to the Imperial Palace (south on Rt. 301).
Head south on Sotobori Dori for 1 block, turn right onto Hakusan Dori shown here, cross over the river, then make the next left for the Imperial Palace.
Japan has some crazy candy. You can usually find it cheap. The best places to shop for cheap candy are in Welcia drug stores, Don Quijote discount stores (see below) and ordinary conbini such as Family Mart, Lawson, or 7-11.
Meiji chocolates. Meiji in general is a well-respected brand in Japan.
Strawberry Milk Candy.
Gumdrops (Gamudoroppu in Japanese).
Happy barf Licorice.
Japanese equivalent of Slim Jims – pepperoni-flavored beef/pork sticks.
One of the best places to buy cheap snacks + candy in Japan is the discount store Don Quijote. Look for the crazed penguin outside. There are lots of them all over Tokyo, the one shown above is in Itabashi. There is also one near Tokyo Dome City, Ginza (shown below), and in Ikebukuro.
Don Quijote Ginza (located at 35°40’01.63″ N 139°45’43.15″ E). It’s actually located just southwest of Ginza on the edge of Shiodome. One of the best Don Quijotes in Tokyo for snacks hands down.This one also happens to sell lots of good bicycles cheap outside on the right side.You can even get a GM/Hummer bike here for around $300.
More snacks in Don Quijote Ginza.Around $1.00 – $1.25 USD.
The Forum was completed in 1997 and is spectacular.
Inside there are elevated walkways, a huge cavernous interior and a few restaurants on the lower level. The Forum’s main tourist attraction is its architecture which is designed to look like a large ship and is ultra-modern.
Outside the Forum are all sorts of great restaurants, shops, and other activities. At the South end of the Forum is a large Bic Camera, and Yurakucho Station – the gateway into Ginza which is just to the east.
To get to the Forum you can either get the JR line to Tokyo Station, exit the west (Maronuchi) side and walk south on the sidewalk, or you can get off at Yurakucho Station and then head north under the train tracks, then west and 1 block north to the Forum. Both are very easy to get to and are accessibile.
Entrance to Tokyo Underground Concourse. You can actually walk underground here all the way to Tokyo Station to the north. Behind it is a Le Meré Poulard – a very upscale French restaurant. The original one is in France and also has a hotel in it. Thanks to Tokyo Drew for this tip.
There is plenty more to do in the area – don’t be afraid to wander around.
If you then head east (left) at Yurakucho Station, you’ll come into a small area at the east exit of the station filled with department stores, such as OIOI (pronounced Marui). This is Yurakucho. To get to Ginza, head directly east for 2 blocks. The two areas are right next to each other.