Sugamo

Name: Sugamo

Kind: Town/City

Location: 35°44’31.93″ N 139°43’43.02″ E

Stations: Toei Sugamo Station, JR Sugamo Station Yamanote Line

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? For a quick look, or on the way to Itabashi.

Updated 2/16/2021

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Sugamo is a small area in Tokyo north of Tokyo Dome City and south of Itabashi on Rt. 17 (Hakusan Dori). It’s not a large area but still worth a look. The main attraction is Rikugien Gardens 2 blocks to the east (discussed below).

Access

Unfortunately there is no Metro subway stop at Sugamo Station. You’ll have to either take the JR Yamanote Line or the Toei Mita Line. The closest main area to Sugamo is Ikebukuro to the west, or Tokyo Dome City (TDC) to the south, but on foot it’s a bit of a hike. On bicycle it’s a quick ride, and there are bike lanes part of the way, but you’ll need to make a short right-turn jog on Hakusan Dori (see below) on bike or you’ll get lost and end up on Old Hakusan Dori to the east which runs away from TDC. The other nearby area is Itabashi to the north several miles from Sugamo Station. Itabashi and Ikebukuro are only 2 miles apart and walkable. You can also get to both on the Yamanote Line or Saikyo Line. If you’re on bike, the entire length of Rt. 17 is cruisable in non-rush hours. See our post on bike cruising from Itabashi all the way through Sugamo to TDC. You can also get to/from Itabashi on the Mita Line at stop I17 – Shin-Itabashi. There is also a Nishi-sugamo Station (I16) further north nearer to Itabashi than to Sugamo. At Nishi-sugamo Station you can also catch the Toden Arakawa Line Tram – better known to locals as the Sakura Tram.

Area Layout

Central Sugamo facing northeast. The station + atré complex is the white square bldg. right of center. Rt. 17 or Hakusan Dori runs north-south. A Beck’s Coffee is the tiny black bldg. next to the small concrete park in the lower right. The main outdoor covered shopping area is just off 17 in the upper center left. Just north of that on the east side of the street is the APA Hotel Sugamo Ekimae (Ekimae means “at the station”). Continuing to head north on 17 for a few miles leads to the small charming micro-town of Itabashi, which just renovated its train station in 2020. There are various other shops + food palaces around the station as shown above.

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JR Sugamo Station facing south towards TDC. APA Sugamo Ekimae is just behind the camera to the left.

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APA Sugamo Ekimae facing south. The station is just ahead 2 blocks.

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Facing south on Hakusan Dori just south of the station. TDC is straight ahead.

Features

Sugamo is not a huge area. But there’s still a fair amount to do. The atré complex over the station is worth a look, and Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street (discussed next) is a must-see. You can also stroll the outdoor shops along the streets on both sides for miles. Rikugien Gardens (discusssed below) a few miles to the east is a must-see. It’s one of the most well-known Japanese gardens in the world and in the spring + fall is spectacular. The town that Rikugien Gardens is in – Komagome – just to the northeast is also worth a quick look and isn’t too far.

Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street

Entrance to Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street which veers off to the left west of Hakusan Dori. The street is lined with charming shops, and if you follow it far enough north you’ll come to Itabashi. The entrance is just north of the APA Hotel on the left around 35°44’04.41″ N 139°44’12.70″ E.

Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street is a long narrow north-south street which parallels Hakusan Dori in Sugamo. The street is known as a hang-out spot for seniors, but it’s definitely worth a stop for everyone. The street has some very nice food shops with traditional Japanese foods of all kinds. If you keep going north until the end of Sugamo, you’ll come to the charming micro-town of Itabashi, which recently just built a brand new train station. Itabashi is just north of Ikebukuro and is a jumping off point for many other locations on the JR Saikyo Line such as Ikebukuro.

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Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street with its charming shops facing north. Well worth a stroll.

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Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street approaching Itabashi.

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Rikugien Gardens


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Approaching Rikugien Gardens, on the right. Just ahead is the small town of Komagome, just east of Sugamo.

If you head south on Hakusan Dori from the station for a few blocks, there’s a side street around 35°43’52.63″ N 139°44’29.39″ E heading east just after the MOS Burger on the left. At the end of this street about a mile down is world-famous Rikugien Gardens – one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in the country. It’s a must see. Admission is 300-400¥ or so, but it’s worth it for a couple bucks. While you’re there you can stop and check out the town – Komagome – which has its own JR station. It’s a small unremarkable town, but worth a quick walk. There’s also a very large ancient temple there with spectacular architecture. It also has its own APA HotelAPA Komagome. See our post on Komagome for more about the town. It’s worth a quick look.

Hotels

The obvious choice in the area, as we mentioned, is APA Sugamo Ekimae 2 blocks north of the station. Clean, upscale, and relatively cheap at $70-$80/night in off-season, it’s the best bet in Sugamo. There are others around in the area too. Check agoda.com for more choices.

North to Itabashi

Only about a mile north of Sugamo is the small charming town of Itabashi. Several rail lines including JR and the Toei Subway stop there. The JR station is on the Saikyo Line. It’s only about a mile walk north on Hakusan Dori and is worth it if you have extra time. See our full multipart post on Itabashi for more info.

Additional Photos

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The station at night facing north.

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Arriving at TDC on Hakusan Dori from the north.

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Hakusan Dori and the area around TDC actually have some nice bike lanes – if there are no delivery vehicles parked in them.

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Cruising south on Hakusan Dori facing southwest at sunset.

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Beck’s Coffee near the station. The Japanese word for coffee is coheé.

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The covered shopping street just north of the station facing north. APA Sugamo Ekimae is just ahead. You can also hang a right here to explore some of the backstreets where a good 200¥ coin-locker is located.

Courtesy @Mohejin_Japan

The covered shopping street on the west side of Hakusan Dori. Note the Toei Subway entrance on the left.

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This MOS Burger is just down Hakusan Dori on the east side. If you turn left just after this shop when heading south on Hakusan Dori, you’ll come to world-famous Rikugien Gardens on the right – and Komagome.

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The street to the east just south of the MOS Burger leads to Rikugien Gardens.

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A beautiful fall sunset in Sugamo facing west.

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The right split at Old Hakusan Dori heading south from Itabashi. Don’t miss this jump to the right side of the street or you’ll end up way off course and miss TDC.

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Waiting @ the MOS Burger on the way to Komagome. Turn left @ the next intersection for Rikugien Gardens.

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MOS Burger menu. You can actually eat fairly cheap in Japan – under 500¥ (around $5) for a good MOS Burger meal. The company prides itself on fresh ingredients. Our experiences at the chain are generally good.

They even have some fun desserts.

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There is also this small guitar school just north of the gardens.

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Heading north out of Sugamo on Hakusan Dori to Itabashi in late fall.

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The huge temple north of Komagome – eerily silent near midnight.

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The Sakura Tram near Itabashi.

LINKS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugamo_Station

https://tokyo-tokyo.com/Sugamo.htm

Sugamo Station – GaijinPot Study

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nishi-sugamo_Station

Tokyo Dome City – Part 1: Itabashi->Tokyo Dome: on Bike

Sugamo | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

Tokyo Travel: Sugamo

Sugamo Area Guide | Tokyo Cheapo

Things to Do near Sugamo Station

APA Hotel Sugamo Ekimae

Sugamo metro station – Metro Line Map

https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/teien/en/rikugien/access.html

Itabashi | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

VIDS

This vid also shows the APA Hotel towards the end.

Ootemori

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Name: Ootemori

Kind: Shopping/Mixed Use

Location: 35°41’06.13″ N 139°45’56.04″ E

Station: Tokyo Station, Otemachi Station (C11) on Metro Chiyoda Line

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Do not miss it.

Updated 10/24/2020

Just 2 blocks east of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is a fabulous mixed-used shopping/food complex called Ootemori. The complex is embedded in the Tokyo Metro’s Otemachi Station. It’s also reachable from Tokyo Station via a long labyrnth of underground tunnels, stairs, and escalators inside the station. For those not familiar with the area, the central part of Tokyo has 4 small sub-areas: Marunouchi where Tokyo Station and the financial district are, Otemachi, just to the northeast a few blocks, the Imperial Palace area just to the west, and Yurakucho just to the south. Underground, Tokyo Station and Otemachi Station are linked with vast levels of buildings, tunnels, escalators, and walkways.

Getting Here

The easiest way to Ootemori is to take the Metro Chiyoda, Hanzomon, Marunouchi, or Tozai Line and get off at Otemachi Station. You can exit above ground and walk to the building, or you can brave the long tunnels underground to get to it. You can also get here from Tokyo Station by following the underground signs to the Hanzomon Line, but that approach is quite a hike – several miles. You can also exit Tokyo Station to the street, and head northwest on surface sidewalks to reach Ootemori.

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Metro line map for 3 of the 4 lines. Otemachi Station is roughly mid-way on each line, shown here in red on each line map.

The complex + station is a vast 6-level labyrinth that overwhelms any first-time traveler to the area. It will take several trips through the complex before you become thoroughly familiar with all its intricacies. All 4 Metro lines are on different levels. The Marunouchi platform was recently renovated for the 2020 Olympic Games. There are over 100 exits in the station.

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Entering Ootemori complex underground from Tokyo Station. Ootemori features spectacular soaring ceilings, and food/shopping galore. Do not miss it.

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One of many long underground passages from Tokyo Station to Otemachi Station.

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Otemachi Station street-level entry/exit. There are several such exits at street level around the Otemachi area.

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Ootemori is housed in the B1 level of this bldg. in central Tokyo. But the complex and station levels span miles below the surface streets.

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The Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station at night, facing northeast. Otemachi is to the northwest (left) of this photo. There are vast underground tunnels connecting the two areas beneath the station. To the south (right) is Yurakucho, and beyond that, Ginza to the east.

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Ootemori is beneath this bldg. in Otemachi.

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Inside one of many soaring office bldgs. in Otemachi.

Otemachi 1st Square

Just 1 block back to the west from Ootemori is Otemachi 1st Square – another large mixed use complex filled with great shopping + food. There is also a small outdoor park between the two bldgs. If you’re at Ootemori, it’s worth a stop too. Around Halloween time there’s a huge outdoor Halloween festival @ Otemachi 1st Square, so if you’re in the area around that time, be sure to stop by.

Marunouchi OAZO

1 block diagonally to the southeast of Ootemori is another nice mixed use complex called Marunouchi OAZO. It’s also worth a look, although there’s not as much to do @ Marunouchi OAZO as at the other 2 complexes. Marunouchi OAZO is mostly a mixed use corporate office park so the focus is more on work, but there are some things here worth a quick look.

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Marunouchi OAZO complex. There are interesting shops on the 1st floor and a restaurant level on the top floor. There’s also a hotel here.

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Otemachi One

2 blocks to the northeast of Ootemori is the new Otemachi One mixed-use complex which is a great new attraction in the Maronuchi area. Built in 2017, this new complex is definitely worth a stop. The new complex features a new 2-block park + water park for visitors to relax around, a Four Seasons Hotel, and a host of other shops, cafés, and amenities.

You can spend hours or even days wandering around the subterranean levels in Ootemori exploring all it has to offer. Dozens of great restaurants, cafés, and shops abound.

Additional Photos

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Newly renovated Marunouchi Line platform. This level is one of many connected together inside Otemachi Station and, if you walk far enough, all the way to Tokyo Station.

Massive Metro lines map inside Tokyo Station.

One of many Otemachi Sta. Metro street entrances in Otemachi – this one right next to Sapia Tower.

Well, that’s it for now. Ootemori is definitely worth a look/trip. It’s easy to get to on the Metro lines and can keep you interested for an entire day or night.

Enjoy!

LINKS

http://www.ootemori.jp/index.php

https://www.marunouchi-hotel.co.jp/

https://www.tokyometro.jp/lang_en/station/line_chiyoda/index.html

https://www.tokyometro.jp/lang_en/station/otemachi/index.html

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g14129477-d7711565-Reviews-Ootemori-Otemachi_Chiyoda_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

http://www.1st.co.jp/

Tokyo Station City

marunouchi.com

https://otemachi-one.com

http://www.otemon.net/index_g

Ootemori on YouTube

VIDS

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Ootemori

Stores stock PlayStation home decor

“Since Paladone is UK-based, it meant PlayStation devotees in Japan were out of luck. But then a saving throw came in the form of Japanese company MSY, who struck a deal with Paladone in order to sell their wares to Japan directly. Only a select few of Paladeon’s PlayStation and Minecraft products will be available through Japanese retailers, but the available stock is so fun, quirky, and relatively affordable that we recommend grabbing a pre-order before they officially release on October 30″.

Japan’s 100¥ Shops

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In the US there’s Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and $.99 store.

Japan has its own dollar, or 100¥ stores too.

Top among these are Seria, Don Quiojte (aka “Donki”), Daiso, and Can☆Do.

There are tons of both Don Quiojte and Daiso all over, including in Shibuya, across from Tokyo Dome City, and in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku. There is also a tiny Daiso Annex on Takeshita St. in Harajuku.

Seria

Among all of these, by far, the best is Seria. Elegant, always spotless, and upscale, Seria offers high quality goods at amazing prices. Most, but not all items are 100¥. There is a huge Seria in Shinjuku, and on in the OIOI (“Marui”) department store in Ikebukuro just 2 blocks west of the West Gate Park Exit at Ikebukuro Station. There is also one in the OIOI bldg. in Ueno. Don’t miss Seria, it’s well worth it.

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Seria in OIOI Ikebukuro.

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OIOI Ikebukuro located @ 35°43’52.69″ N 139°42’27.52″ E

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Seria in Ueno is in this OIOI bldg. just to the southwest of Ueno Station.

Looking north in Ueno. The OIOI bldg. is just on the left, Ueno Station to the right.

Daiso

A step down from Seria, but still very good is DAISO. You can find a wide variety of items in DAISO, although their kitchen section isn’t quite as good as Seria‘s. There’s a bunch all over Japan (see links below). There’s a small one in Takeshita St. in Harajuku shown below. Most DAISO‘s are worth a stop. They also have an online store.

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Entrance to Takeshita St. in Harajuku. DAISO Annex is just down on the left.

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DAISO Annex on Takeshita St. in Harajuku.

Don Quijote

Don Quijote is perhaps Japan’s craziest 100¥ shop chain. While most of them feature a nice selection of products, and some good food deals, the stores are madhouses – tightly packed aisles of products, shelves stuffed to the ceilings with every imaginable kind of good, signs + sales everywhere. Don’t get us wrong – Don Quijotes are great. But be ready for craziness. Don Quijote also just recently opened an online store that ships overseas. They also have a good snack selection as well as candy and low-cost bottled coffee.

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Turn right (west) at this street at the south end of Ueno and you’ll find a Don Quijote on the left.

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Don Quijote just across the street from Tokyo Dome City.

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$.99 packaged coffee (cohee to Japanese) in the Ginza Don Quijote.

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Nice selection of snacks @ Ginza Don Quijote.

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You can also find good deals on appliances such as this $20.00 Press Sand Maker.

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The Ginza Don Quijote – between the border of Ginza and Shiodome. The Ginza one is open 24 hours – perfect for a midnight snack run or late-night coffee.

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They also sell some nice bikes rather inexpensively.

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The Itabashi Don Quijote.

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Inside Don Quijote, it’s a madhouse of stuff.

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The Don Quijote in Nakano across from Sunplaza.

Can☆Do

Can☆Do is another chain of 100¥ stores in Japan. A little more like Seria, many are clean with a nice selection of quality products. Some of the Can☆Do‘s are more food-oriented and like grocery stores. There are 1000s of them all over Japan and are worth a stop.

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A Can☆Do in north Itabashi. Most Can☆Do‘s also have a nice grocery section.

Lawson 100¥ Shops


Conbini chain Lawson also has a few 100¥ shops around Tokyo. They also have some grocery and food items for 100¥ or around 100¥. These are great shops worth a visit and a source of cheap food in Tokyo.

Other Shops

There are other small 100¥ chains around Japan such as simply 100 Stores and others.

Well that’s it for Japan’s 100¥ shops. Enjoy your shopping!

LINKS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100-yen_shop

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2077.html

https://jw-webmagazine.com/all-the-high-quality-brands-of-100-yen-shops-in-japan-b6d19cb4e067/

https://guidable.co/shopping-service/comparing-the-five-100yen-shops-in-japan/

https://www.packist.com/journal/post/208/seria-tokyo-a-100-yen-shop-thatas-even-better-than-daiso

https://tokyocheapo.com/shopping-2/seria-the-classiest-100-yen-shop-in-tokyo/

https://www.tofugu.com/travel/seria-100-yen-shop/

https://jpninfo.com/tag/seria

https://www.seria-group.com/corporate/en/

https://cando-web.co.jp/e/store.html

https://soranews24.com/2018/10/05/a-visit-to-the-largest-daiso-100-yen-shop-in-all-japan%e3%80%90photos%e3%80%91/

https://soranews24.com/2020/08/27/how-to-make-an-awesome-japanese-summer-dessert-using-only-things-you-can-buy-at-daiso%e3%80%90sorakitchen%e3%80%91/

https://soranews24.com/2014/12/23/we-love-daiso-but-sometimes-the-weird-products-just-amuse-us/

https://livejapan.com/en/article-a0000096/

https://www.afar.com/places/seria-100-yen-shop-shinjuku

Seria Shinjuku

https://www.donki.com/en/

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=Ikebukuro+Station

https://www.intheluggage.com/japan-tokyo-ikebukuro-sightseeing-landmarks-parks–ikebukuro-west-gate-park.html

https://www.sunplaza.jp/en/

VIDS