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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©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

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

Cheese Meets Meat

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Name: Cheese Meets Meat

Kind: Restaurant

Location: 35°42’00.14″ N 139°45’10.76″ E

Station: Suidobashi Station or Korakuen Station

Phone: 050-5597-3769 (+81-50-5597-3769)

Free WiFi: Unknown

Worth it? Absolutely.

Our Rating: ★★★★★

Last updated 8/23/2020

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

In western Tokyo, just south of Tokyo Dome City, there’s an upscale little restuarant called Cheese Meets Meat. The original one is in Yokohama.

This quaint little restaurant is superb – a must see if you are in Tokyo.

The menu is quite good – most are traditional dishes but heaped with all kinds of extra cheese. Prices are a bit on the high side – around $30-$40 per person, but well worth it. The quality is excellent.

They also feature delivery.

To get here take the JR Chuo Line or the Toei Mita Line and get off at Suidobashi Station. Exit the northwest exit, go around the corner, and head south down the street. Cheese Meets Meat is down about 2.5 blocks on the right.

You can download a complete train map here.

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Exit here (north/west exit), turn left out of the station, left again at the corner and head south.

You’ll pass several side streets – there’s a cheap 200¥ coin locker on one if you need one, and Cheese Meets Meat is on down a bit on your right.

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You’ll pass this coin locker on your left.

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Pass this side street.

From Tokyo Dome City

If you are coming from Tokyo Dome City (TDC), head out the south exit on the west side of the complex, cross the little bridge there, and head south on the street straight ahead. Cheese Meets Meat is down just 2 blocks to the south.

To get to TDC, take either the Marunouchi or Namboku Metro subway line, and head up into the TDC complex (the Metro station is across the street from TDC). Cross through the LaQua complex (towards the stadium), head to the right down the stairs beyond the stadium, through a small covered area where First Cabin is, across another small foot bridge, and down the stairs + cross the street. Make a dog-leg left down the street towards Cheese Meets Meat.

Cross through the LaQua area shown here (the other direction – this is facing north).

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Go past Tokyo Dome Stadium to the left in this photo...

Courtesy Tokyo Drew

And down the stairs + through the small covered area on the right.

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The covered area from the reverse angle. There’s a bowling alley and First Cabin.

Exit the covered area….

And head down this ramp.

Immediately on your right you’ll pass this Koban (police box).

Looking back north towards Suidobashi Station. Cheese Meets Meat is on the left. Tokyo Dome City is at the end of the street straight ahead.

A Shortcut From Suidobashi Station

There’s actually a quicker shortcut to Cheese Meets Meat from Suidobashi Station: if you exit the station from the east exit and loop around the long side of the station to the south, you’ll come to the trestle shown on the right above. If you turn hard left here, it will take you down a short diagonal side street which will end right across from Cheese Meets Meat. Don’t head down the tiny street straight ahead, but instead make the hard left down the larger side street shown on the left above. This photo is looking southwest.

Additional Photos

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Namboku Line Korakuen Station (N11) – it’s in the basement across from TDC.

Marunouchi Line Korakuen Station (M22)

JR Suidobashi Station east exit – take the north/west exit instead. Take the east exit here + turn right at the street shown ahead for the shortcut mentioned above. Note the nice brand new renovation paint job on the overhead tracks.

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Head south down the street for Cheese Meets Meat on the right.

Enjoy!

LINKS

https://cheese-meets-meat-yokohama.com/

https://r.gnavi.co.jp/4z5fs7zm0000/

https://restaurant.ikyu.com/108595/

https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1310/A131003/13234784/

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/stations/e891.html

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

https://www.kotsu.metro.tokyo.jp/eng/services/subway/stations/suidobashi.html

http://japan.apike.ca/japan_tokyo_suidobashi.html

https://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/

https://www.jrailpass.com/blog/chuo-sobu-line

VIDS