Take the JR Chuo Line or the Metro Namboku, or Yurakucho Line to Ichigaya Station. Interestingly, the JR platform sits right on the bank of the river.
Ichigaya is a small, non-descript town on the east side of Tokyo. Its name means Market Valley. It’s a less-well maintained area and is seen by some in Tokyo as a lower-class area. But it’s worth a look around on a nice day – and it’s close to central Tokyo.
Ichigaya is at the very west end of Yasukuni-Dori. Just to the northeast is the controversial, but very interesting Yasukuni Shrine.
Perhaps the most well-known attraction in Ichigaya is the Ichigaya Fish Center – where many Tokyoites spend weekends or holidays fishing in the center’s small ponds. It’s a popular spot for families with small children.
There is also a popular bridge in Ichigaya which has some nice cherry blossom-viewing areas in the spring.
Just at the south end of Ichigaya jammed in next to the river is Sotobori Park – a small park with a sitting area, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, and a commercial fitness gym at the south end.
Ichigaya is also home to Chuo University + Hosei University, the later of which was recently remodeled – and which is more popular with international students.
While in the area you can also drop in at Iidabashi just to the north and check it out – which is also worth a look. Also just to the south down the main street is Yotsuya – which is well worth a quick walk. Yotsuya is home to Sophia University, and is just north of the interesting Akasaka. You can also jump off from Yotsuya to the west to Shinjuku fairly easily, although it is approx. 8 miles away. You can take the subway from Yotsuya Station on the corner to Shinjuku easily.
The quickest way to the Printing Museum is to get to Korakuen Station on the Marunouchi or Namboku Line, then head west a few blocks. There is another portal to Korakuen Station a bit further to the east around 35°42’30.21″ N 139°45’14.27″ E. This portal also services Kasuga Station on the Toei Mita and Odeo Lines. But it’s a bit more of a walk (but still under a mile).
If you’re looking for a nice cheap hotel nearby, there’s a nice Dormy Inn right across the street from Kasuga Station.
The museum has an incredible display of the history of printing in Japan, all kinds of books and parchments, and other exhibits. The displays are top-notch and the entire place has an air of excellence about it.
From Korakuen Station exit to the south, walk across the elevated platform, past Tokyo Dome, down the stairs the right, then 2 blocks west, then 1 block south. From Suidobashi Station head directly west approx. 3 blocks.
There’s not a whole lot to do here, but it does have some interesting restaurants. If you have time for lunch or dinner and are in the area, pop in and check it out.
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens is only 1 of 3 remaining daimyo (feudal lord) gardens from the early Edo Period. Land was often granted to daimyo – or put under their care for the shogun or emperor. The gardens date back to the early 1600’s and you can still see many artifacts from centuries past (such as the large stone bridge).
Unlike many Japanese gardens, Korakuen has a more Chinese (Confucian) design.
Things To Do
The park has lots of walking trails, a large and a small pond, and some great views of Tokyo from various vantage points.
Komagome is a small town in northwest Tokyo in between Tokyo Dome City to the south and Itabashi to the north. It’s on the JR Yamanote Line and Tokyo Metro Namboku Line. There’s not a lot to do in the town, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Perhaps the town’s most interesting feature is Rikugien Gardens(see below). The town also has a small lively nightlife backstreet area down a hill below the station away from the main part of the town. Its sister city Sugamo is just to the west.
There is also a small bank of coin lockers inside the station for around $4 each.
Central Komagome. The station is lower center left. The hill down to the backstreet area is the red-grey-lined street to the upper right of that. The alleyway area is right center. Rt. 455 runs north-south through the town. The APA Hotel is at the upper left corner to the northwest.Rikugien Gardens is just to the lower left out of view.Up is north.
The main feature of Komagome is its mainstreet – Rt. 455 – which runs north-south through the town. At the south end of the town is Rikugien Gardens (see below). There is also a back alley area down the hill behind the station (also see below).
Rt. 455 – the central road through Komagome facing south. The station is just down on the left.The APA Hotel is just to the right, out of frame.
The central street through Komagome: Rt. 455.
The center of town facing south on Rt. 455. There’s a large conbini (convenience store) across from the station on the right.
Good cafés abound in Komagome. Be sure to check out the Niki Bakery + Cafe a few blocks south on Rt. 455 on the left.
Facing west south of the station on Rt. 455 leads to the crosswalk shown below. Just to the left on the corner across the street is the entrance to Rikugien Gardens – a must see. Admission is 300¥-400¥ but well worth it. The gardens are huge and you can spend all day there looking at the lake and all the plants and trees. Also note the “31” (Baskin Robbins) just to the right. For some reason the Japanese call Baskin Robbins“31” – all because the 31 is more prominent on signage – and most likely because more Japanese know the western decimal numeral system than know full English.
Crossing to Rikugien Gardenson the left (out of view). As a footnote, if you head west down the side street shown here, after a few blocks you come to Komagome’s sister city, Sugamo. See our full post on Sugamo for more info.
If you’re willing to walk about a mile further north on Rt. 455 and back, around 35°44’34.58″ N 139°44’45.66″ E there are also the Kyū-Furukawa Gardens and an old museum called Otani Museum – both are worth a look for a little bit more of a hike. A mile further north beyond that on 455 is Oji Station, which is also on the Metro Namboku Line. Also in Oji is Ōji Jinja Shrine.
Komagome Ginza – The Hidden Nightlife Alley
Just down a hill to the left of the station entrance is a hidden backstreet area called Komagome Ginza which comes alive at night with restuarants, shops, bars, and pachinko parlors. To get there, head down the street shown below just left of the station. At the bottom take the first right on a tiny side street. The alley area is just on the left. You can also get to it by traversing down to the bottom level of the station from inside and exit on the left (north entrance). The alleys are well-lit at night with white LED lights and make for a fascinating evening stroll. There are plenty of good restuarants. There is also a huge free bike parking lot just at the lower exit to the station.
Head down this hill and turn right at the bottom for the hidden alley area.
Heading down the hill.At the bottom, turn right for a tiny side street leading to:
Komagome Ginza – the nightlife area entrance and front of the Three Seven pachninko parlor.
A stroll through the nightlife area next to the Three Seven pachninko parlor.
One of many great restaurants on the backstreet alley area.
There are several good low-cost hotels in the area. The obvious choice is the APA Komagome a few blocks north of the station. During off-season you can get a nice room for around $60-$70/night. APA hotels are spotless, affordable, conveniently located, quiet (they have soundproof windows), and easy. They usually make your trip much easier. APA has a chain of these hotels all over Japan.
APA Komagome lobby.
Typical APA hotel room – very small, but clean, usually with a small desk, and large TV. Most also have a micro-refrigerator as well.
About 1.5 miles south on 455 from Komagome Station is another station on the Namboku Line called Hon-Komagome Station (N13) around 35°43’29.15″ N 139°45’14.06″ E. You can also walk the entire distance on 455 south. Sandwiched in between this walk and Sugamo to the west is the world HQ of Pioneer Corporation around 35°43’44.71″ N 139°44’50.29″ E (just south of Rikugien Gardens in fact).
Also just to the west of the station a few blocks is Toyo University (incredibly, in a rare Tokyo oddity, there is a gigantic COCO’s restaurant right across the street from the university at 35°43’25.99″ N 139°45’07.10″ E).
Just north of Hon-Komagome Station is Josenji Temple around 35°43’32.86″ N 139°45’11.26″ E – it’s fairly small without a large grounds but might be worth a look if you’re walking.
Well that’s it for now – enjoy a walk or ride around Komagome. It’s a nice little day trip and worth a look.
Another view of the front of the station.
The large bike lot at the bottom of the station.
The lower rear entrance to the station down the hill.
North up Rt. 455 is this large wooden temple with interesting architecture. Worth a stop.