Shinjuku Superguide

Name: Shinjuku

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°41’29.39″ N 139°42’07.68″ E

Station: Shinjuku Station – JR Yamanote Line

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Don’t miss it.

Updated 6/1/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

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The name Shinjuku means New Lodgings. The area became a busy commerce center during the Edo Period and later again after World War 2. The name derives from the older area Harajuku (Sun Lodgings) to the south.

A diorama depicting Shinjuku during the World War 2 era at the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

Access

Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station is the busiest train station on earth. Over 2 million people pass through the station every day. At rush hour the place is so packed it can be hard to move or even find your way around if you’re not familiar with it.

There are both Japan Rail (JR) platforms for common lines such as the Yamanote Line, as well as various subway lines. The station acts as an interchange + transfer point for many lines in Tokyo. There are at least 8 levels in the station, many of them buried deep underground.

There are also lots of shopping areas as well as a newly renovated outside shop area and courtyard (Shinjuku Southern Terrace). The station was vastly expanded in 2009-2010 and is now several times its former size on the south end.

Area Layout

The station is shown above, lower center. On both the north and south ends there are huge clusters of shopping centers, as well as an outdoor courtyard. To the northwest is the Cocoon building, and the Tokyo Metropolitain Gov’t buildings (which has a great free observation deck). Just northeast of the Cocoon Tower is the Odayku department store (depato) complex. To the northeast are the main streets with a dizzying array of outdoor shops, restaurants, and things to do and see. At night the area comes alive with lights + sounds – a photographer’s dream. There are also countless huge electronics shops such as Bic Camera and others.

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View of Shinjuku from the outdoor platform. The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower is on the left, and Odakyu (see below) is the orange building in the center. Ikebukuro is a few stops to the north from here.

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Info map at the station on a platform.

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From Shinjuku you can take your pick of 2 more interesting areas in either direction: Ikebukuro to the north, or Shibuya to the south.

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Madness at a station platform.

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At the north entrance of the station around 35°41’31.78″ N 139°42’03.26″ E is the famous Duckman street performer.

The surface-level of the station has several areas: the main (north) area bisected by Rt. 20 running east-west (this area has the LUMINE and NewWoman modifications made in the early 2000’s. The MyLord bldg. and open terrace to the west of that, the Cocoon bldg. area to the northwest, and the Takashimaya Square area to the south. Of course there are many more areas than this – the station area is huge and takes a whole hour to circumnavigate on foot. Just to the northeast of the LUMINE area is a huge OIOI (pronounced Marui) department store complex, and just to the immediate west on Rt. 20 is a huge Don Quijote discount store. Also at the very south end of the new station redevelopment is a huge outdoor open-air sitting area + cafés (Shinjuku Southern Terrace). You can sit and watch the trains come and go beneath you. Just to the east of the Takashimaya Square complex is the huge Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – a must see. If you go to the gardens and have a few extra minutes, also pop in to Yoyogi just a few minutes’ walk to the south.

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Inside the crazy west end of the station.

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Heading down into the Metro Ginza line from the west side of the station.

Courtesy Virtual Japan.tv

The northwest terrace. The MyLord bldg. is straight ahead.

Tourist Info Offices + Currency Exchange + Coin Lockers

At the very south end of the LUMINE bldg. under the train tracks is a huge Shinjuku Tourist Information Office. If you want to pick up some brochures on things to do in the area, stop in when you first arrive.

The outdoor Tourist Info Office just under the tracks next to LUMINE.

There is another Tokyo Tourist Information Center on the 3rd floor near the south exit. There’s also a Sagawa luggage delivery service office here.

At the west exit there is the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center which has all sorts of info about sightseeing.

There also loads of currency exchanges around the info offices, but their rates may not be the best. You might be better off using a smaller exchange in places such as Akihabara, or the Sakura Exchange in Shibuya.

There’s also a large coin locker bank on the southern side of the info center shown above.

Seibu-Shinjuku Station

We should also mention that just to the north of the main Shinjuku Station a few blocks is the smaller Seibu-Shinjuku Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

Flags Building + Green Peas Pachinko

Around 35°41’23.18″ N 139°42’05.80″ E is an east exit from the station, 2 long escaltors, and a huge department store called Flags. There’s a huge GAP that’s been here for over 20 years.

The Flags Building @ the east exit.

Incredibly, right next to the Flags building is a huge, 8-story pachinko parlor called Green Peas, which even has entire floors of Vegas-style slot machines. There is also a huge Taito Game Station arcade just behind it down a side street.

Courtesy Virtual Japan.tv

Green Peas Pachinko.

Odakyu Depato

Just northwest of the station is the Odakyu Depato (department store) area. There are plenty of things to do here, and there’s a food floor on the top floor, which includes Shinjuku’s part of the latest craze in Tokyo: pancakes. Rainbow Pancake is on the food floor. There are also elevated walkways to other department stores such as Keio just across the street (Keio‘s food basement is one of the best in Tokyo).

The dept. store complex on the west side. Odakyu is the orange bldg. on the right, and just to the right of that, the KEIO dept. store. Further to the left out of view is a huge Bic Camera. The Cocoon bldg. is just behind the camera to the west. The MyLord terrace area is just beind the KEIO bldg. to the east. There are actually 2 Odakyu complexes – the east side one shown here, and the Odakyu/HALC/Bic Camera annex to the north (out of frame to the left). There is also a major bus stop area here.

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Rainbow Pancake on the top floor of Odakyu.

If you’re really into pancakes, also check out Sarabeth’s Lumine Shinjuku just inside the new LUMINE building on top of the station at street level on the north side.

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Giant pie-sized cookies in KEIO‘s food basement.

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Heading in to the east-side Odakyu complex (right). The northern Odakyu/HALC annex is shown here on the left. This photo faces north.

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Standing on the northern Odakyu/HALC annex pedestrian overpass facing east. The huge UNIQLO is on the right.

Central Streets

From the station to the east, there are 3 main streets running west-east which parallel each other a few blocks apart. These are: 1), Yasukuni-Dori 2), Shinjuku-Dori, and 3) Koshu-Kaido Dori (Rt. 20).

By far, the most popular of these is Yasukuni-Dori. Several blocks to the east Meiji-Dori intersects all 3 and runs north-south all the way to the Imperial Palace. In this central area of about 3-4 long blocks, most of the action in Shinjuku happens. The west side is interesting too, but it’s more business/gov’t-oriented. A stroll around the east-side streets at night will floor you with its colors, lights, and dizzing array of things to do.

North Exit + Studio ALTA

The northeast station exit is a popular meeting spot for young people. Just across the street is a building called Studio ALTA with its massive TV display on the outside of the building. If you slip down the small side street to the left at night, you’re in for one of Shinjuku’s nightime delights – a small concrete pedestrian-only area with lots of shops and restaurants. There is also a huge Matsumoto Kiyoshi drug store here, and the rear entrance to the huge Yamada Denki LABi electronics shop (see below). As mentioned above, this is also where the infamous Duckman performs nightly. If you head through the small concrete park, in a few blocks you’ll come to a huge Don Quijote, described next.

Studio ALTA, right. Head down the small side street ahead.

Just north of the north exit. The station entrance is ahead.

Massive Don Quijote on Yasukuni-Dori

On Yasukuni-Dori 2 blocks from the station is a huge Don Quijote discount store. If you’re strolling this street at night, it’s worth a stop in to look around. The place is huge and has multiple floors of just about anything you could want, including a grocery.

Courtesy Nippon Wandering TV

Dazzling streets of east Shinjuku at night.

Heading Further East to Shinjuku Ohdori Shopping District

As a footnote, you can walk or bike all the way east on Rt. 20 back to Yotsuya (about 6 miles) – there are a lot of interesting things to see along Rt. 20 as well as several other subway station stops at various points – most notably Shinjuku-Sanchome Station around 35°41’26.01″ N 139°42’20.84″ E, and Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station – one more stop the east. All of them pop up onto Rt. 20 at various points. The coolest thing about Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station is its little retro 1950’s-styled entrance on the street around 35°41’19.17″ N 139°42’35.28″ E. There is also a large, cheap, excellent APA Hotel just 1 block west on the same side of the street. There is also a huge Tully’s Coffee just across from Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station.

Heading east on Rt. 20 towards Yotsuya. Note the JTB building on the right. Along this route around this area there are also huge massive department stores such as Isetan, OIOI (pronounced Marui), and Takishimaya. This part of Shinjuku is known as the Shinjuku Ohdori Shopping District. There is also a huge Apple Store here. One of the best kept secrets in this area is the hobby shop on the top floor of the OIOI.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

West a few blocks from the west side of the station is the odd-looking Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower. It’s mostly offices, but there are a few interesting things on the ground floor. It’s a rather small building, so there’s not a lot to do here. But it’s worth walking to it just to have a look at the architecture.

If you head just northwest from the Cocoon, you’ll come to an iconic part of Shinjuku which includes many buildings from famous photos of Tokyo: such as Sampo Japan Building, and others. There is also a massive pedestrian walkway here which allows you to walk around several of the buildings elevated from the streets.

There is also a very nice massive concrete and green park 2 blocks to the west of Cocoon at the Sojibo Shinjuku Mitsui Building around 35°41’30.14″ N 139°41’38.23″ E.

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Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower northwest of the station. KEIO dept. store is behind the camera to the east. If you continue far enough west from here, you’ll come to the Tokyo Metropolitain Government complex which has one of the best observatories in Tokyo.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower at street level facing east.

Tokyo Metropolitain Government

If you continue west for a few blocks, you’ll next pass the Shinjuku Keio Plaza Hotel, and 2 blocks west of that, you’ll come to the Tokyo Metropolitain Government buildings. These twin buildings house the entire central government for Tokyo. There is a massive open-air concrete courtyard surrounding the buildings, and a free observation deck on the top floors – but be warned, becuase it’s free, there are usually huge lines for the observatory – even on weekdays. Plan on spending several hours in line – more if it’s peak season such as in the spring or late fall.

Electronics (Denki)

The Japanese word for electronics is Denki. There are several huge electronics stores in Shinjuku: There are 2 Yamada Denki LABi stores – one near Studio ALTA mentioned above, and one just west of the MyLord building near the station’s central exit. The one near Studio ALTA is closing soon.

There are 3 huge Bic Camera stores – one in the Odakyu Annex mentioned above, one in the huge UNIQLO store (called BicQLO) around 35°41’29.45″ N 139°42’11.45″ E, and Bic Camera Shinjuku Station East Store just southeast of the Studio ALTA location.

The other big electronics store is the huge Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku West Main Store around 35°41’23.30″ N 139°41’52.96″ E. It’s just a few blocks southeast of the Cocoon Building. There’s also lots of interesting other small shops around the Yodobashi store.

All of the electronics shops are worth a look – if for no other reason than to marvel at their scale and selection.

Yodobashii Camera Shinjuku.

Kinokuniya Book Store

Just across from the BicQLO store mentioned above is a huge Kinokuniya Book Store around 35°41’30.98″ N 139°42’09.99″ E. Kinokuniya is one of the largest book chains in Japan, and this one doesn’t disappoint. If you have any extra time, be sure to pop in and look around. They also have a web store where you can order online.

Takishimaya Times Square + The Bubble Building + Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden + Cafe La Boheme

Just to the south of the station and the Southern Terrace area is the epic Takashimaya Times Square complex – a huge multi-story shopping/food/entertainment complex, TTS is a must-see in Shinjuku. There are also plenty of interesting shops in the complex’s open-air below-ground area, and the large Tokyu Hands department store (depato) on the south side. To get to TTS, go outside to the southern terrace (on the west side of the station) and head south to the large foot bridges which lead to the complex.

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Takashimaya Times Square, left, and the NTT “Bubble building”, right.

Takashimaya Times Square at night.

Just south of TTS is the NTT DoCoMo “Bubble BuildingHQ. It was nicked-named the Bubble Building because it was built during Japan’s “bubble” economy in the late 1980’s-1990’s. The building’s design was inspired by the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York.

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West of TTS is the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – a huge Japanese garden with several ponds, trees, and long walkways. Many of the paths afford excellent photo spots of various parts of Tokyo. There is also a large impressive greenhouse. Admission price is around $6 USD, but it’s worth it. Be sure to check it out.

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Entrance to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Cafe La Boheme

If you’re in the mood for a brew, just across the street to the north of the greenhouse is the excellent European-themed Cafe La Boheme at 35°41’15.14″ N 139°42’46.09″ E. If you love coffee + have the time, be sure to check it out – it’s excellent.

Shinjuku Historical Museum

If you’re willing to walk a few more miles northwest, around 35°41’23.90″ N 139°43’31.25″ E you’ll find the Shinjuku Historical Museum (see Totally Drew’s video below).

Courtesy Totally Drew

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2ZCoVSVSnQ

Samurai Museum

To the north of the station a bit (oddly in a seedy nightclub area) around 35°41’43.84″ N 139°42’12.63″ E, is the excellent Samurai Museum Shinjuku. This is one of the best samurai museums in Tokyo, and you can even buy swords and take caligraphy lessons there if you want.

Walking to Other Parts of Tokyo from Shinjuku

As mentioned, you can actually walk to other parts of Tokyo (or ride a bike) such as Yotsuya or Akasaka. Ebisu is just to the south and worth a walk. Plan on a few hours, however, and the walk east is a quite a ways. On bike it will take about 30-45 minutes.

Yoyogi is just to the south also, and Nakano just to the northwest.

Food

There are so many food options in Shinjuku it’s hard to know where to start. The options are endless. There are conbini (convenience stores) in the station and they are all good. There are many good places just outside the station, and there are huge and upscale restaurants in the area and in TTS.

The Maple Diner waffle shop near the MyLord building.

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Kinokuniya Entreé conbini near the Saikyo Line in the station.

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HOKUO the Garden also in the station.

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Watch them carbs.

Shake Shack @ Southern Terrace.

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Soup Stock Tokyo.

Courtesy Virtual Japan.tv

American Bar + Grill, TGI Friday’s jammed down some side street.

More cool places hidden down side alleys.

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Food Hall BLAST! – 2 blocks west of TTS.

Sanagi Shinjuku Food Hall

http://sanagi.tokyo/

3 Food Halls Where You Can Casually Dine in Shinjuku – Shinjuku Guide

A Happy Pancake Shinjuku @ 35°41’26.01″ N 139°42’13.58″ E.

The world-famous Omoide Yokocho Alley around 35°41’33.97″ N 139°41’58.12″ E.

Taming The Beast

Shinjuku is one of the biggest, busiest, and most overwhelming parts of Tokyo – you could easily spend several days exploring it all and not see everything. It’s a must-see part of Tokyo, so plan on spending a few days at least seeing it.

Conclusion

We can’t recommend Shinjuku enough – and you absolutely can’t miss it if you’re in Tokyo. From the station area to vast electronics stores, depatos, the TMG + Cocoon buildings, and the streets, there is more than enough to do here. Be astounded, and be amazed.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

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The fire trucks are coming up around the bend. You live, you learn. The NTT “Bubble Building” tower in the distance at dusk.

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A typical exit info sign in Shinjuku Station.

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Inside the Odakyu complex heading down into the station below.

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The Yamanote Line heading north for Ikebukuro and Omiya.

Facing the Odakyu/KEIO complex from the taxi stand @ the west side of the station.

Also @ the west side of the station.

At the LUMINE/NewWoman side of the renovations at street level.

The Odakyu Line cuts through the Shinjuku night.

Courtesy Nippon Wandering TV

One of many endless excellent restaurants on the backstreets.

There are endless things to discover on the streets of Shinjuku.

A hidden place to park your bike for free in a small underpass.

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Stumbling around Shinjuku’s streets in the dark, every once in a while the perfect photo opportunity hits you smack in the face.

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Or if you prefer – the B+W version.

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Inside Odakyu HALC. This ain’t Walmart.

LINKS

Shinjuku Station – Wikipedia

Shinjuku Station

Shōnan–Shinjuku Line – Wikipedia

Shinjuku Station Building Facilities

Seibu-Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Guide

Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center

Sightseeing Without Baggage|Sagawa

Shinjuku Shopping Guide | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

JTB USA

Shinjuku Area Overview – Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Southern Terrace – Wikipedia

southernterrace.jp

TOKYO POCKET GUIDE

Tokyo Metropolitain Government

Keio Department Store, Shinjuku

Shinjuku Mylord – Shinjuku Guide

Shinjuku Marui Honkan (OIOI)

Hotels near Shinjuku Station

5 Must-Try Restaurants in Shinjuku Mylord

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

新宿御苑 Shinjuku-Gyoen | Cafe La Boheme

Quick Guide to Shinjuku’s Department Stores

Takashimaya Square

https://trulytokyo.com/takashimaya-times-square/

https://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/takashimaya-shinjuku

https://tokyocheapo.com/place/takashimaya-times-square/

Sarabeth’s Lumine Shinjuku

Don Quijote

Don Quijote | Shopping in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Yoyogi

https://www.samuraimuseum.jp/

VIDS

The main area to the northeast. The huge Don Quijote store is shown in this thumbnail on the right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kln6afdUpH4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va5yljaIObE

Ginza Superguide

Name: Ginza

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°40’19.54″ N 139°45’50.72″ E

Station: Yurakucho Station, JR Yamanote Line, Yurakucho Station/ | Tokyo Metro Line, Ginza Station – Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Line

Worth it? A must-see.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 4/25/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

The name “Ginza” is synonymous the world over with luxury + wealth. The name itself means “Silver Mint” – because when the Tokugawa Shogunate moved Japan’s capital from Kyoto to Edo (now Tokyo) in the early 1600’s, the largest silver mint in Japan was relocated to Ginza as well. (The name Tokyo actually means “Eastern Capital“).

Ginza is an astonishing place – not just for its luxury stores, and upscale vibe, but there’s a feel to the place all its own – let’s just call it an air of positivity. It’s also centrally located on the east side of Tokyo which makes it a good jumping off point to other parts of the city. To the north is Tokyo Station and the Marunouchi area – the central finance district of Tokyo, to the west is the Imperial Palace and Hibiya, and to south is Shimbashi.

One can wander the backstreets of Ginza, especially at night, and be dazzled at every turn.

There is also a large-scale diorama of late 19th century Ginza at the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

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A typical store in Ginza.

Access

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Be sure to first read our Yurakucho Superguide as it contains all the info you need on the main station near GinzaYurakucho, and the surrounding area to the west of Ginza. There are also smaller underground stations on the Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Lines around Ginza at street level – but there is no central above-ground Ginza Station, surprisingly.

Tokyo Station is just to the north of Yurakucho and Ginza and is an easy walk in just a few minutes. Hibiya and the Imperial Palace are just to the west of the TIF and are also an easy walk. If you start early enough, you can see all 3 areas in one day – although that would be a very full day. Ginza alone can easily take 12-14 hours to fully explore and possibly a few days if you really want to see everything in-depth.

For ease of access, other than Yurakucho Station, the Ginza Metro Station is probably the best bet for most people – it also stops at many other interesting areas on the Ginza Line including Asakusa (its eastern terminus), Ueno, Kanda, Shimbashi, Toranomon, Akasaka-mitsuke, Omotesando, and Shibuya (its western terminus). It pops up onto the street in central Ginza with several different exits with the main one being around 35°40’19.54″ N 139°45’50.72″ E.

A few blocks east of the center of Ginza Crossing is Higashi-Ginza Station on the Hibiya Line (Higashi is the Japanese word for east, nishi means west).

Area Layout

Ginza lies to the southeast of Yurakucho in a roughly 5-block area. The 2 towns are right next to each other. Most of Ginza is laid out in a grid with a major central street running in both the north-south, and east-west directions. Just to the northwest of Yurakucho is the Tokyo International Forum – the elongated bldg. shown in the upper left of the photo above. Yurakucho Station is just south of that, and Ginza is the area in the lower center area of the frame. The Hibiya area is in the upper left corner.

First, Yurakucho + Hibiya

First, the Yurakucho area itself is worth a look. Adjacent to the Hibiya area, both can easily take a day to explore. Both are worth it. The north end of Yurakucho is the gateway to central Tokyo from the south – it’s well worth it to explore this area. See our Yurakucho Superguide for a comple guide to the area.

Tokyo International Forum to the North

Also a must-see is the Tokyo International Forum just to the north of Yurakucho. The TIF has a courtyard to the west with lots of cafés, restaurants, and shops. The buildings to the west are office + hotels. Definitely check the area out. North of that is Tokyo Station. The Forum also hosts the Oedo Antique Market on the 1st + 3rd weekend of every month right in the courtyard.

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Yurakucho facing east. Ginza is straight ahead, Yurakucho Station directly behind the camera. The tall square bldg. ahead is MARRIONER GATE – a large shopping complex. Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan is a small shopping center built in the 1970’s. OIOI (pronounced Marui) is a large depato (department store) on the right.

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Facing east crossing from Yurakucho into Ginza at MARRIONER GATE. Yurakucho is behind the camera.

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Ginza | Nz is between Yurakucho and MARRIONER GATE in Ginza. This photo is facing south at the MARRIONER GATE crossing. MARRIONER GATE is to the east (left).

Hibiya just to the west.

There is also Metro Hibiya Station nearby in Hibiya, shown on the left here.

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Inside the Ginza Metro Station.

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On the Metro Ginza Line.

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West side of Yurakucho Station facing east. Pass through the tunnel at the bottom of the frame to get to the east side. Ginza is on the other side of the tall building.

Ginza

To get to Ginza from Yurakucho cross Sotobori-Dori from any of the side streets to the east. You may want to start at either the north or south end, and criss-cross the Ginza streets in a pattern since they are laid out in a grid. The main center of GinzaGinza Crossing and its world-famous Wako Building is down about 3 blocks east at 35°40’17.12″ N 139°45’53.76″ E. If you cross at the south end of Yurakucho near the new Tokyu Plaza around 35°40’20.09″ N 139°45’49.73″ E, you will be at the Wako Bldg. in 3 blocks. A famous corner Nikon (pronounced nee-kon, not nigh-kon) camera store and the Hermes building are on this corner as you cross. 2 blocks to the east is the SEIKO Watch Museum on the left.

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The famous Wako Bldg. facing north. Yurakucho and Tokyu Plaza are off to the left out of view. So is the SEIKO Watch Museum. Sony Showcase is on the right out of view. If you turn right here and go to the Mitsukoshi building’s roof there is an open-air garden, shops, and several cafés. Matsuya Ginza, which has one of the best food basements in Tokyo is straight ahead on the right. The Ginza Apple Store is down on the left.

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Mitsukoshi‘s rooftop garden. Check it out. World-famous jeweler Mikimoto is across the street.

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Matsuya Ginza Depachika (food basement). Don’t miss it. (“Depachika” is a Japanese contraction for “Department Store Basement”).

Tokyu Plaza is well worth a stop in and of itself – it has a lot of great restuarants on the top floor + a very nice open-air rooftop garden. There is also a huge indoor café on one of the upper floors with floor-to-ceiling windows which provide a spectacular view of Ginza at night.

Across from Tokyu Plaza Ginza at night.

Inside Tokyu Plaza there is a café with soaring ceilings and this awesome view.

Tokyu Plaza Ginza entrance at night.

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The Hermes Building across from Tokyu Plaza Ginza.

Ginza Six

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About 3 blocks southeast of Matsuya Ginza around 35°40’10.59″ N 139°45’53.82″ E is the spectacular new Ginza Six complex. A multi-use mall with shops, restaurants, and other attractions, Ginza Six is worth a stop. It also features a very nice open-air terrace shown below:

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Tokyo Square Garden

Just 1 block east of the Yurakucho crossing around 35°40’34.43″ N 139°46’09.47″ E is a bright new complex called Tokyo Square Garden. If you’re in Ginza it’s a must-see. Loaded with new shops, malls, restuarants, and offices, it’s one of Ginza’s up and coming addresses. There is also a WeWork co-working space inside. Check it out.

Food

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Food options are endless in Ginza, and much of the fare is ultra-luxury high end restuarants + confectionary stores. There are also wineries, delicacy shops, and even upscale ramen places. Great Sushi places abound. You may want to do some web research before you go to determine which places you want to eat at since there are so many it’s impossible to catalog them all here. There are plenty of good places in Yurakucho as well including the Miami Café, OIOI and LUMINE food floors, and the Matsuya Ginza food basement, which is one of the best in Tokyo. Many of the large depato have great food on their upper floors, which is a common trend in modern Tokyo.

If you explore the backstreets you will find plenty of smaller ramen and other food shops – authentic local Japanese cuisine.

Ginza Sky Lounge

On top of Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan is the Ginza Sky Lounge restaurant – a laid back understated restaurant with a great view overlooking Ginza.

Kit-Kat Chocolatory

2 blocks east of Yurakucho around 35°40’20.59″ N 139°46’03.08″ E is the deluxe Kit-Kat Chocolatory. For some reason Kit-Kat is deemed a western luxury delicacy all over Japan – not the commodity candy bar it is considered in US supermarkets. There are endless flavors + styles of Kit-Kat in Japan, unlike in the west. If you like chocolate, this shop is a must-see in Ginza. There is also a new monster Kit-Kat store over in Shinjuku across the city. You can buy some of the Japan-themed Kit-Kats online over at yummy bazaar.

Le Chocolate De H Ginza

Also be sure to check out Le Chocolate De H Ginza.

Last But Not Least – Don Quijote Ginza

Just on the border of Ginza on the west side and Shiodome on the east, there is this little Don Quijote 100¥ shop (known to locals simply as Donki). Like most Don Quijotes in Tokyo, they have a wide variety of goods packed into tiny aisles. They also have cheap snacks + cheap coffee. You can get a non-perishable 1 liter bottle of UCC Coffee for $.88 cents. Oddly, this Don Quijote has a wide variety of cheap but good bicycles for sale out front. They even have one made by GM’s Hummer brand. Definitely worth a stop.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Cheap culinary snack delights await you @ Don Quijote Ginza.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Kabukiza Theatre

Around 35°40’09.81″ N 139°46’03.64″ E, about a block or 2 east of Ginza Crossing is the Kabukiza Theater – one of Japan’s largest, and oldest Kabuki theaters. Kabuki is an ancient form of morality play and has survived to the modern day. There is also a tiny Japanese garden on the theater’s rooftop. Well worth a stop to check out some of traditional Japan. If you want quick, direct access to the theater by subway, take the Metro Hibiya Line to Higash-Ginza Station and exit to the street.

https://www.kabukiweb.net/theatres/kabukiza/

Conclusion

Well that’s it for now. There are endless things to do in Ginza and you can easily spend a few days here. It’s an absolute must-see if you’re in Tokyo.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

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Facing south on Sotobori-Dori – crossing into Ginza on the left from Yurakucho on the right. Tokyu Plaza Ginza is the tall black building in the distance. The shopping complex on the right is called Ginza | Nz.

Under Yurakucho Station.

Facing north on Sotobori Dori. Turning right here leads into Ginza. Yurakucho is on the left.

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Another view of Hermes across from Tokyu Plaza Ginza.

Ginza Sony Park + Design Museum Box

Near the Hermes Bldg. shown above is the interesting Ginza Sony Park. There’s a cool little underground museum called Design Museum Box down a staircase at street level right next to the Hermes Bldg. Worth a quick look.

Head down this starwell for the Design Museum Box.

Matsuya Ginza Depato

Just down the street from the Wako Bldg. is the great Matsuya Ginza department store. The food basement (Depachika) is really awesome and has lots of nice gifts + stuff to eat.

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Entrance to Matsuya Ginza.

Another view of the Tokyu Plaza entrance.

At the Wako Bldg (right) facing south.

On a Ginza street at dusk. The Oslo Coffee shop is just on the left.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Endless adventures await you on the backstreets of Ginza.

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Another view of Matsuya Ginza.

LINKS

Yurakucho Station/ | Tokyo Metro Line

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

Yūrakuchō Station – Wikipedia

Yurakucho Station | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide

Yurakucho Station, Chiyoda, Japan Tourist Information

Ginza Station

Higashi Ginza Station, Hibiya Line

GINZA OFFICIAL

Yurakucho : Best Things to Do in 2021

Yurakucho Superguide

SEIKO Museum Ginza

https://www.ginzasonypark.jp/e/

Shinkansen @ Yūrakuchō Station near Ginza

Hibiya – Tokyo’s Elegant Walk

Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo International Forum – Wikipedia

Wako Building

Matsuya Ginza

https://ginza6.tokyo/

Tokyu Plaza Ginza has a rooftop co-working space – and it’s free

Ginza Japanese Cuisine on the App Store

Kit-Kat Chocolatory

A Must-Visit Hidden Gem in Ginza: The Showa Retro Café Ginza

Cafe Paulista in Ginza: Japan’s oldest existing kissaten is model for coffee shops across the country

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=kit+kat+chocolatory&hvadid=78683806185431&hvbmt=bb&hvdev=c&hvqmt=p&tag=mh0b-20&ref=pd_sl_8impajdfw8_b

kabuki-za.co.jp

VIDS

Yurakucho Station is one of the best Shinkansen-spotting places in Tokyo. Ginza is directly behind the camera to the east.

This video shows other views of the area around Yurakucho Station. Bic Camera and Tokyo International Forum are shown behind the tracks in this thumbnail.

Ikebukuro Superguide

Name: Ikebukuro

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°44’05.39″ N 139°42’27.83″ E

Station: JR Ikebukuro Station, Seibu Ikebukuro Line, Marunouchi Line, Yurakucho Line, Fukutoshin Line

Worth it? A must-see.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 4/10/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Ikebukuro is a hip quirky hang out spot in central western Tokyo. Smaller than Shibuya or Shinjuku, it’s often overlooked by tourists. Ikebukuro has a small-town fun vibe, yet still feels cosmopolitain enough to be exciting. There is more than plenty to do. In fact, you could spend a few days in Ikebukuro and barely scratch the surface. Around every corner and down every side street is something surprising and interesting. The fact that it’s not overcrowded the way other major areas of Tokyo are only adds to it charm.

Access

To get to Ikebukuro you have several options: the JR Yamanote or Saikyo Lines, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, or Marunouchi Line, Yurakucho Line, or Fukutoshin Line on the Tokyo Metro.

You can also walk or bike to Ikebukuro from Shinjuku to the south, or from Itabashi to the north. The walk from Itabashi is just over 1 mile.

You can also walk from Meijiro Station 1 stop south on the Yamanote Line along a quiet charming side street which runs north-south along the train tracks.

JR Ikebukuro Station

The main station is located in the 1st floor + basement of the PARCO depato (department store) in the main station. The Metro lines also exit this station. Just to the south in the SEIBU depato is the Seibu Ikebukuro Line Station. All of them are centrally located in Ikebukuro and are very convenient. There are also several street-level station portals on sidewalks all over the town as shown here:

Courtesy Totally Drew

One of many street-level station entrances.

Courtesy Totally Drew

On the JR Ikebukuro platform, you can purchase a Suica IC card for fares from these machines.

Area Layout

Ikebukuro is centrally laid out with an east, west, north, and south side. The stations are on the main thoroughfare running north-south through the town. The station in the photo above is in the center, the main street is just to the right running north-south, West Gate Park is to the left, center. At the very top center is a huge waste recycling plant with its telltale tall cracking tower. To the east are a dizzying array of side streets with endless shops + restaurants. Just to the east of that out of frame is the Sunshine City complex and 2 Ikebukuro parks (Minami-Ikebukuro Park).

View from the WTC building in west Tokyo facing west: Ikebukuro is the small city in the distance on the right, Shinjuku several miles to the south is on the left in the distance. Just behind Shinjuku, barely visible is Mt. Fuji.

West Side

The town is roughly divided into east, west, and north ends. The south end holds a few interesting spots, but as soon as you leave the main area east of the station, it’s mostly residential. You can get from the east side to the west and vice versa by passing directly through the center of JR Ikebukuro Station.

West Gate Park

At the West Gate Exit is a popular meeting spot called West Gate Park. The area was also the title of a popular dorama (drama) TV series in Japan. Also in West Gate Park just to the north of the west gate is a JR Tourist Information Office – which has English-speaking staff. You can also reserve bus tours in the office.

West Gate Park is a large area to the west of the station. There are all sorts of restaurants, cafés, shops, and other attractions. About a block further east are a Bic Camera annex and a block beyond that a OIOI (pronounced Marui) depato. In the OIOI is a very nice Seria 100¥ shop.

OIOI (Marui).

Global Ring + Esola

Just to the south of West Gate Park is a new outdoor performing art center called Global Ring. It was finished in 2020. There is also a café here. Further south is the Metropolitain Theater. 1 block south of that is a very nice MOS Burger.

Also in West Gate Park is a street entrance to the oddly named underground shopping mall Hope Center.

To the north of West Gate Park are endless backstreets. If you head northeast in this direction, you come to a small tunnel north of the station which heads to the east side of the town.

Also on the west side, a few blocks north of the OIOI is the world-famous Sakura Hostel – which although spartan is known for its dirt cheap prices, and fairly clean atmosphere. If you want to stay cheap in Ikebukuro, this is your spot. Sakura Hostel is also known for its huge outdoor seating area for guests. You don’t get much in the way of ammenities – most beds are mere bunks in shared rooms, but for the incredibly cheap price, it’s worth it.

Ikebukuro is also home to some of the largest electronics shops in Tokyo – including Bic Camera, Yamada Denki, and Sofmap.

Just south of West Gate Park is a shopping area called Esola. Check out the Coffee Roasters Laboratory on the ground floor. There’s also another Metro entrance here. Just beyond Esola is the LUMINE complex and MOS Burger.

Here are a few photos from the west side:

Ikebukuro West Gate Park. The JR East Travel Service Center is straight ahead.

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JR East Travel Service Center

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Just south of West Gate Park facing north. Turn left at the next street for OIOI City and the Sakura Hostel. Flip 45 degrees left from this image and you will see Global Ring on your left:

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Facing west, the Metropolitan Theater is the bldg. with the sloped roof straight ahead. The 2nd Bic Camera Annex is the bldg. on the far right. Global Ring is on the far left. Global Ring was built on the real former Ikebukuro West Gate Park – an area which previously had a large fountain. Now the entire area has been replaced by Global Ring.

Facing southeast from the Global Ring area. The Esola complex is straight ahead. The MOS Burger is 2 blocks to the right.

Just beyond Global Ring is the Esola complex (left) and LUMINE (right). LUMINE + TOBU complexes have excellent food courts on their top floors. Don’t miss ’em. LUMINE was formerly called Metropolitain Plaza.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Inside the station.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

On the JR Saikyo Line platform behind the PARCO depato.

OIOI City west of the station facing west. Turn right here for the Sakua Hostel.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Seria in OIOI City.

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The west Bic Camera Annex a block east of OIOI City.

East SideEndless Shopping + Restaurants + Sunshine City

The east side of the station is considerably more interesting. Not only is there a main street which runs north to south which has a myriad of shops, cafés, and resturants on it, but there’s an entire area east of that that is really interesting (Sunshine60 Street).

There’s PARCO + SEIBU depatos, and Bic Camera and other denki (electronics) shops on the north end of the street, but the south end of the street also has lots of coffee shops + restaurants.

Sunshine City

To the far east of Sunshine60 Street is a huge skyscraper and complex called Sunshine City. The area’s big attraction is Sunshine 60 – which until recently was one of the tallest skyscrapers in Japan. It has a top-floor observatory not to be missed. There is also a western Mailboxes Etc. CMRA on one of the top floors if you need to get a local mailbox or mail anything to the west.

Hidden away in the basement of Sunshine City is a vast mult-floor shopping mall. You can spend hours in here – and it’s so huge it’s easy to get lost. There is also another entrance to the mall on the east end of the major side street next to the the Tokyu Hands store.

As a historical footnote many locals believe Sunshine 60 to be haunted because after World War 2, the Japanese imperial army general Tojo was executed there. Several Japanese have committed suicide by jumping from its roof. There is also a very nice small park next to the area where you can kick back and chill. Sunshine City is around 35°43’45.15″ N 139°43’05.09″ E.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to Sunshine City.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Street view from Sunshine City‘s 60th floor.

Entrance to Sunshine City Annex on Sunshine60 Street.

To get to Sunshine60 Street, head south from JR Ikebukuro Staiton, turn left (east) at 35°43’48.45″ N 139°42’46.56″ E 2 blocks down, follow the sidewalk as it winds east, then cross at the Milky Way Café and head straight. Make note of this sidewalk and the small alley off it to the left for later below

This puts you right into Sunshine60 Street – the main shopping street. As you come to the end, turn right, then left again for Sunshine City. There is also an entrance to the underground mall part of Sunshine City about a block before the final right turn. You can’t miss it – it has a huge sign on the front of the bldg. next to the Tokyu Hands depato also on the right.

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Main street in east Ikebukuro. Meiji-Dori runs north-south. The JR Ikebukuro Station is up on the left. The white bldg. with the red sign on the left is Bic Camera. Just to the southeast is Yamada Denki (LABi). SEIBU + PARCO depatos are on the far left of the frame above the stations. The street to the left of Bic Camera leads to dozens of other interesting side streets on the north side of town.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

A closer view of the PARCO bldg. on the east side. The JR station entrance is at the bottom of the bldg.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There’s also a Becker’s burger place just at the east exit of the station.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

SEIBU Ikebukuro Station just south of the JR entrance above.

If you head down this street just across from the JR east station exit, you will discover a wealth of interesting small side streets.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to Sunshine60 Street @ the Milky Way Café, right. At the end of this street turn right for Sunshine City.

New South Ikebukuro Park

Around 35°43’41.35″ N 139°43’17.74″ E – just east of Sunshine City is brand new South Ikebukuro Park. Completed in 2020, this stunning new park offers a huge green lawn, a café on the north end, and a large bike parking lot to the south. It’s just 1 block east of Sunshine City so if you’re in the area, check it out:

Courtesy tkviper
Courtesy Nippon Wandering TV

The underground bike park just to the south of South Ikebukuro Park.

Ikebukuro Shopping Plaza (ISP)

In the basement of the station and under the east side of the streets is a small mall called Ikebukuro Shopping Plaza (ISP). There are portals to ISP in the station just before the east exit, as well as one on the sidewalk outside the station and in the middle of the crosswalk facing east. Most of ISP is underground.

Q plaza

About 1/2 way down the main side street to the east is another new complex called Q plaza. Well worth a stop. Lots of good cafés, and a CAPCOM store + café on the 4th floor. The sides streets all around this area are charming to explore and worth a walk. Plan on spending a whole day in the area.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Food

There are endless food options around Ikebukuro. 2 really awesome places are Darcy’s Beer + Burger and Coffee Valley. Darcy’s has a triple-decker hamburger that is out of this world for $12. Not to be missed. We did a review of both places above. There are also no less than three Mr. Donut places around town – 2 on the West Gate Park side, and 1 older one tucked away on a backstreet on the east side. Not particularly healthy, but delicious. There are also endless ramen and yakiniku (steak) places, and of course, the aforementioned MOS Burger. There’s also a Tully’s Coffee in Q plaza as well as a nice café called Peace and Lamb.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Food Courts

Japan’s food courts are a throwback to 1950’s-style dining. There are some on the top floors of depatos such as TOBU + SEIBU, and there are other standalone bldgs. which are all restaurants top to bottom. There’s no lack of good dining in Ikebukuro. In particular the food court in TOBU Ikebukuro is awesome – there’s a really great Hawaiian burger place, and lots of other restuarants. PARCO also has a food court + rooftop beer garden. Of course there are endless ramen and yakiniku (steak) places everywhere. As well as fast food.

TOBU also has a basement Depachika (short for “depato basement”) – a huge food floor below ground level which is especially good. Here you can get everything from seafood, to packaged gift food, to deserts. If you’re in Ikebukuro definitely check out the food basement in TOBU.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Food court on top floor of TOBU on the west side.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Don’t worry – walking 15 miles/day sightseeing in Tokyo and you’ll burn it all off.

Pancakes – The New Tokyo Craze

A new food craze has hit Tokyo – pancake shops. They’re everywhere. In Ikebukuro there are several good ones but the 2 best are A Happy Pancake and

Around 35°43’48.11″ N 139°42’46.90″ E at the small side street mentioned above, turn left (north) into a small alley and a few stores down you’ll come to A Happy Pancake. This small underground shop has great food. Careful going down the stairs to the basement: they’re steep and there’s no handrail.

In the SEIBU depato a few blocks to the west is Rainbow Pancake – also a must-visit. Both are excellent, and worth the trip. All-in-all we would rate AHP best, but it’s up to you to decide on taste. There is also another AHP in Omotosando.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

If it’s pancakes you want, Tokyo’s got ’em. Lots of ’em.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There are lots of other pancake places all over Tokyo. Get ready to eat.

Micro Food Stalls

All over Tokyo in stations + in other places you’ll see these tiny little food places everywhere. Most stations have them, and Ikebukuro Station is no different.

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The Japanese love contractions and in this case “Press Butter Sand” means “Pressed Butter Sandwich”.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Food Trucks

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There are also lots of tiny micro food trucks in Tokyo – such as this crepe truck in Ikebukuro.

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

On the east-side backstreets is this great Italian restaurant – Palermo.

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

Just next to the oldest of the Mr. Donuts – on the east side – is a small concrete park with lots of food. One of the best places among them is the Saikyou Butter Coffee Shop.

North Side

On the north side the streets are a little less lively but interesting nonetheless. To the northeast just a few blocks is a small concrete park surrounded by restaurants and a large performing arts theather – Brilla Hall. This entire area is being renovated as of 2021. There are endless small side streets in the north end worth exploring. There are in fact, 2 more major north-south streets in the north area full of shops. Both entrances are around 35°43’54.13″ N 139°42’34.12″ E.

More Discount Stores: Don Quijotes + CAN ⭑ DO

Aside from Seria, there are several other discount stores in Ikebukuro. There are 2 Don Quijotes: 1 just northwest of the station, and another just east of the east exit right across the street. There is also a CAN ⭑ DO discount store just south down the street on the east side. Both Don Quijote + CAN ⭑ DO have some good cheap food selections + snacks.

The Don Quijote just to the northwest of the station.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The east-side Don Quijote across from the station is huge. The food basement is quite good.

Meiji-Dori to Itabashi

You can also walk north on Ikebukuro’s main street on the west side – Meiji-Dori a few miles north to the small town of Itabashi.

Hotels

There are plenty of good hotels in Ikebukuro which won’t break the bank. We recommend checking agoda.com for rates. One of the best, of course, is the APA hotel, which is very clean + upscale but under $70/night in most cases. It is however a bit further to the northwest but can be easily walked from in a few blocks. There is the aforementioned Sakura Hostel, which is great if you’re on a budget. There is also the Hotel Metropolitan – which is upscale and very good, but much more expensive at around $130/night. There is also Sunshine City Prince Hotel.

For Cat Lovers It’s Nekobukuro

The weird cat obsession that is gripping Japan can be found at several cat cafés all over the city, but in Ikebukuro the place for cats is Nekobukuro Cat’s House (ねこぶくろ) – a petting zoo for cats located on the eighth floor of the Ikebukuro Tokyu Hands store. If you’re into cats check out their site at https://nekobukuro.com/ Tokyu Hands is just at the end of the east side street in the small Sunshine City building across from Victoria’s Sports around 35°43’48.45″ N 139°43’00.02″ E.

Victoria’s Sports across the street from Sunshine City.

Conclusion

Ikebukuro is one of Tokyo’s most exciting areas and is a thrill to visit. A must-see. There’s so much to do here plan on spending a couple of days. There are endless places to eat + things to do, yet the area is not so huge that’s it’s overwhelming like some other parts of Tokyo.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

Facing north just outside the east JR station exit.

Night view from West Gate Park facing south. Global Ring is in the center.

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LUMINE complex.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Inside LUMINE complex.

At the north end of West Gate Park is this side street. If you turn right here, then left, you’ll find the entrance to the small tunnel which leads to the east side of the station:

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Turn right at the tunnel entrance a few yards ahead to get to the east side.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

As you exit the tunnel on the east side, you’ll see the PARCO building shown here. If you turn south from here, you’ll see the main larger PARCO bldg. and just beyond that, the east entrance to JR Ikebukuro Station.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Northeast side at night. Yamada Denki is the tall bldg. on the right.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

An early morning West Gate Park tourist breakfast: some ham, a few croissants, a conbini (convenience store) hot dog, a BOSS Coffee and a pint of milk. Rice-fed cows’ milk in Japan tastes like a bowl of Rice Chex cereal, unlike milk in the west. Contrary to popular perception in the west, you can eat pretty cheap in Japan, although it’s not optimally healthy.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

View of Shinjuku from the roof of Sunshine City. Just beyond, barely visible in the distance is the Landmark Tower in Yokohama 40 miles to the southwest.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Inside Sunshine 60’s observatory – which affords spectacular views of Tokyo in all directions. Looking out the window shown here to the right provides a great view of Tokyo Sky Tree.

An epic panorama facing west. On the far right is Ikebukuro to the north, the tallest bldg. of which is Sunshine 60, and Shinjuku on the far left to the south. If you look closely, the farthest left bldg. on the main skyline is the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building (Yoyogi is just south of Shinjuku). The large white object in the right center is Tokyo Dome to the east. You can walk to all 3 areas, but the distance from one to another is quite a hike and would take a couple of hours.

Tokyo Sky Tree lies 16 miles to the east near the Sumida River.

Phone map of Ikebukuro. The station is in the center.

Facing northeast. The station is out of view to the left (west). Turn right at the bottom of the photo for the main side street with shops. A Happy Pancake is just down a tiny alley next to the brown bldg. on the right side of the frame. The first Bic Camera Annex is just to the left of the alley. Yamada Denki is the large white bldg. on the far left of the frame. If you head down the side street to the right of the next bldg. you’ll find Coffee Valley. The older Mr. Donut is also down here. The small green-roofed object in the lower left corner is the entrance to the undergorund Ikebukuro Shopping Park (ISP).

The end of the side street on the east side. Head right (south) here to get to Sunshine City.

Another view of the Milky Way Café, left, facing south. Turn left here for Sunshine City and the main side street. Heading straight ahead to the south eventually brings you to Shinjuku.

YA view of the Milky Way Café.

Just left of the Mily Way Café facing north.

Tokyu Hands entrance just next to the Sunshine City Annex.

The ISP street entrance just east of the JR station.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to another side street in Ikebukuro which runs north-south.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to Yamada Denki, on the east side. The small yellow boxes are Gatchapon dispensers – which sell very popular small toys.

A large NAMCO arcade.

Another view of Q plaza.

Hidin’ on the backstreets.

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

Looking back west from the east end of the long side street. The station is straight ahead. The entrance to Tokyu Hands and Sunshine City is on the left.

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

If you turn left (south) at the previous photo you’ll come upon K-BOOKS book + game stores. Sunshine 60‘s main complex is down a few blocks on the left. If you head further down, across the street from Sunshine 60 on the corner, you’ll find a great cheap coin locker on the corner:

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

LINKS

http://www.city.toshima.lg.jp/340/shisetsu/koen/029.html

JR Ikebukuro Station

Seibu Ikebukuro Line

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/customer_support/service_center_ikebukuro.html

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html

JR Sightseeing Map

Google Map

https://mapcarta.com/16069282

https://livejapan.com/en/in-tokyo/in-pref-tokyo/in-ikebukuro/article-a0000723/

https://www.jrailpass.com/blog/ikebukuro-station

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

JR Yamanote Line for Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa, Tokyo, Akihabara, Ueno & Ikebukuro

SEIBU Ikebukuro Station guide map

Ikebukuro Station | Tokyo Creative Travel

Essential Tokyo: The Complete Guide to Ikebukuro Station

Ikebukuro Station: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Cracking This 3D Maze

Narita to Ikebukuro: The Best Transport Options | Tokyo Cheapo

Coin Lockers at Ikebukuro Station

Ikebukuro Station Area Guide: Top 15 Spots When You Escape the Station’s Maze! | LIVE JAPAN travel guide

Awesome Things to Do In Japan: Most Popular Spots in Ikebukuro! (January 2020 Ranking) | LIVE JAPAN travel guide

https://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-city-guides/japan-stations/ikebukuro-station

Ikebukuro | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

Ikebukuro | A funky, high-energy northern Tokyo neighborhood built to entertain

Tokyo Travel: Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro Guide @ The Best Japan

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3038.html

Shops / Services | Sunshine City

Sunshine 60 Tower – The Skyscraper Center

Sunshine 60: Tokyo’s Haunted Skyscraper – Japan Talk

Coffee Valley Ikebukuro

Coffee Valley

COFFEE VALLEY – Tokyo [Good Coffee]

Esola Complex Ikebukuro

LUMINE Ikebukuro Food Court

Q plaza Ikebukuro

Darcy’s Beer + Burger Ikebukuro

A Happy Pancake – Ikebukuro Edition

Rainbow Pancake

Japan’s Massive Depato Food Courts

Press Butter Sand – Ikebukuro Station

http://www.web-isp.co.jp.e.qf.hp.transer.com/

Ikebukuro West Gate Park (TV series) – Wikipedia

VIDS

This vid by View Japan gives a great lay of the land in Ikebukuro.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKnX1HSvnwo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKnX1HSvnwo

Nagatcho/Akasaka Superguide

Name: Nagatcho + Akasaka

Kind: Town/City

Location: 35°40’33.86″ N 139°44’36.21″ E

Stations: Nagatcho, Tameike-sanno Station, Akasaka-mitsuke Station, Yurakucho, Hanzomon, Namboku, Ginza Lines

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? A must-see, and as a gateway to Akasaka.

Updated 2/2/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Nagatcho is a small area where the central gov’t in Japan is located. The Federal Diet Bldg. is here, as are assembly offices, and a the Prime Minister’s Office. Most activity in the area is centered around government work, but there is still a lot to see and do here.

Nagatcho is also the eastern gateway to a much more interesting area: Akasaka. We won’t go into Akasaka too much here, but we’ll touch on how to get there and a few interesting tidbits.

Access

Being where the central gov’t is located, there are a lot of ways into Nagatcho: you can take one of the Subway Metro lines listed above, you can cycle, or you can walk. Nagatcho is just to the west of the Imperial Palace + Diet Bldg. and there is a nice sidewalk which runs the length of the palace’s moat (Chidorigafuchi) on the western side (known as the Hanzomon area (due to Hanzomon Gate which dates back centuries and protects the western side of the palace).

Subway lines include Yurakucho, Hanzomon, Namboku, and Ginza Lines. There are lots of station portals at the street level scattered all over the area, but the 3 most important ones are the Akasaka-mitsuke Station on Sotobori Dori around 35°40’34.24″ N 139°44’17.11″ E , Nagatacho Station (just up the street to the north), and the Tameike-sanno Station portal on a side street just behind the Prime Minister’s office. For Tameike-sanno Station, take only the Ginza or Namboku Lines. 2 other notable street-level portals are in the Sanno Park Tower, and in the basement of the Bic Camera store just to the northwest.

In short if you want to see the Diet area, hit the Tameike-sanno Station exit and walk up the street, if you want to see Sotoboto Dori Ave, the Bic Camera, or Akasaka, hit the Akasaka-mitsuke Station exits, or if you want to get to the north side go for any of the north Nagatacho Station exits. Also of particular note is Tokyo Garden Terrace to the north around 35°40’46.30″ N 139°44’13.85″ E, just west down the street from one of the Nagatacho Station exits. Around Christmas/New Year’s Tokyo Garden Terrace is a must-see (we’ll discuss this more below).

Nagatcho + Akasaka sit to the north of Toranomon, east of Roppongi, west of Imperial Palace, and south of Yotsuya.

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Underground in a Nagatcho Station exit. Some subway stations in Japan have a decidedly Soviet feel to them.

An Akasaka-mitsuke Station portal on Sotoboto Dori, just west of the Diet Bldg.

Tameike-sanno Station portal, left. The Prime Minister’s Office can just barely be seen above the trees.

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Tameike-sanno Station portal in the basement of the fabulous Capitol Hotel Tokyu.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Prime Minister’s Office viewed from Sotoboto Dori Ave. facing northeast.

Area Layout

Tameike-Sannō Station, and Prime Minister’s office, lower center. To the left out of frame is Akasaka and Sotoboto Dori Ave. the tall bldg. on the left is the Capitol Hotel Tokyu. On the far right are 3 Federal assembly offices. The smaller bldg. in the center is the APA Pride Hotel. This view is facing north. To the lower left out of frame is Sanno Park Tower. Akasaka-mitsuke Station is also out of frame just to the upper left corner.

Nagatcho is a fairly small area. There’s the central gov’t/Diet area, a small area north of that with various gov’t bldgs. and museums, a smaller area east just across from the Imperial Palace, and the area south of the central gov’t which rolls into Akasaka. Not much else, but the area is still interesting. A stroll or bike ride around the central area is interesting, and in the fall spectacular. There are also smaller various shrines (See below), historical points of interest and other things to do. When you’re done exploring the central gov’t area, head north to see Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho (also see below), and then southwest to see Akasaka and all it has to offer.

If you want to see the Diet area, pop up out of Tameike-sanno Station which puts you just west of it. Akasaka proper is just 2 blocks west. Both the Prime Minister’s Office and Official Residence are on this street. Turn left (east) up a side street for the Diet bldg. One can spend hours just strolling up and down streets in the area.

Parliamentary Museum

A must-see area is just out front of the Diet to the west. There are 3 major attractions here: Kensei Memorial Park, a small historical park to the north of that, and further north, the Parliamentary Museum. Kensei Memorial Park has a very nice garden worth a stroll. The main road between the Diet and the palace is Uchibori Dori and is popular with joggers and walkers. In fact, you can circumnavigate the palace 360 degrees around over into Otemachi, Hibiya, and back. The entire distance is spectacular and one of the best walks in Tokyo.

Kasumigaseki

Just to the southeast of Kensei Memorial Park is Kasumigaseki, where more gov’t bldgs. are located – including the HQ for the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is also a Metro station at Kasumigaseki.

Hibiya Park

Just south of Kasumigaseki is the must-see Hibiya Park. This lush well-kept park is huge with lots to see + do. Not bad for just 1 more block’s walk. Definitely hit it. There is also a very nice German Christmas Market held here every December.

Sanno Park Tower + NTT DoCoMo HQ

Just to the south of Tameike-sanno Station 2 blocks on the corner of Sotoboto Dori Ave. is a giant skyscraper called Sanno Park Tower. There’s lots to do here. The basement has all kinds of shops + a convenience store. Sanno Park Tower is also home to Japan’s mobile phone company NTT DoCoMo. There are also cafés in the bldg. Just for kicks, you can have a brief thrill riding the massive gleaming glass corporate elevators from the lobby to the top floor. But be warned all floors including the top floor have lots of security guards, and you will not be admitted for any reason without a badge officially obtained in advance. Still, the elevator ride itself is a thrill – the huge glass elevators fly upward at incredible speed, while you watch the ground drop out from under you and their inner workings of cables + huge flywheels spin as you look on. And then in the blink of an eye you’ve been flung 50 stories skyward. Fun – if just for a few moments.

日本 Sanno Park Tower

The massive glass elevators inside Sanno Park Tower – as close as you can get to an amusement park ride inside Corporate Japan.

There are a few photos of the inside of the bldg. over at Mitsubishi Estate.

Sanno Park Tower, left looking northeast on Sotobori Dori Ave. Tameike-sanno Station is just up this side street on the right. The Prime Minister’s Office is also just up this street to the right. Capitol Hotel Tokyu and APA Pride hotels are also up this street to the left. Just behind the small red van is a small round glass portal with an elevator inside which takes you down to shop level.

Turning right (north) at the intersection of Sotoboto Dori shoots you up to the Bic Camera, past Akasaka-mitsuke Station, and up to Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho, which we discuss next.

Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho

If you exit the Nagatcho Sta exit around 35°40’44.55″ N 139°44’25.63″ E and head just a few blocks west downhill, you’ll come to a major intersection on Sotoboto Dori with a river + Benkei Bridge and a huge office bldg. just to the north. One of the area’s best hidden gems is at the base of this bldg: Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho. The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho is an ultra-deluxe ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ hotel.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Christmas lights display @ Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho

Also behind Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho is Akasaka Prince Classic House – a vintage wedding + meeting hall.

Hotels

Hotel choices in the area are endless. The aforementioned Capitol Hotel Tokyu is luxury beyond belief, but it will cost you $400+/night. Clearly the best value in the area is the APA Pride Hotel – which is is very deluxe + clean and in an off-peak time will cost you only around $70/night – unimagineable in the west. It’s right next to Capitol Hotel Tokyu. A definite winner. Hotel Monterey Hanzomon is also very nice, but a bit more expensive + little further north.

If you’re looking for a good capsule, lots of them abound in the area, but a really nice one is First Cabin Akasaka just to the west. There are lots of other hostel + capsule type hotels in the area.

The really cool hotel area is on the hidden small side street just behind the Bic Camera to the north. There are endless hotels here including Centurion Hotel, Granbell Hotel Akasaka, and Kitano Hotel Tokyo. The entrance to this hidden side street is around 35°40’35.15″ N 139°44’12.46″ E. Just across the street from that to the west is the Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel – a huge hotel right at the north end of Akasaka. This is also a mixed-use development with lots of restaurants + shops and a mall. There is also a Metro subway portal just at the entrance to the hidden side street.

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Inside our little room @ APA Pride Hotel – which included this small desk. Don’t mind all the food + loot – we had just made a massive cheap food haul from Don Quijote Ginza when this photo was taken. Incredibly, this room was only $70/night.

APA Pride room. Small but very nice, clean, and somewhat upscale.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Capitol Hotel Tokyu lobby.

Co-working Spaces

The area has lots of great co-working spaces at reasonable rates – most notably a very nice Regus space at Akasaka K Tower.

Just next to the Nagatcho Sta exit around 35°40’44.55″ N 139°44’25.63″ E is a great PMO shared office space. In fact it’s right next to the station exit.

Another very nice cowork space is GRID Nagatcho, which incredibly, is in the same block as PMO..

Hie Shrine

Smack behind the APA Pride Hotel to the west up on a big hill is Hie Shrine. You can exit the rear of APA Pride + climb the steps to reach the top. On the other side is a massive granite staircase which leads down to Sotoboto Dori Ave. and into Akasaka. The view from the top of the stairs allows you to look to the west, over a massive white Tori Gate, and into Akasaka. From here you can also see the TBS Broadcasting HQ a block away.

View from Hie Shrine facing west into Akasaka. Sotobori Dori Ave. is below. Straight ahead is Akasaka. The bldg. with the round section on top is the TBS HQ. There is also a small Japan Post Office just ahead on the left. On the 1st floor of the orange bldg. is a very nice FamilyMart conbini (convenience store). 1 block ahead on the right is a Tully’s Coffee, and beyond that Akasaka SACAS + Akasaka Biz Tower (shown in vids below). Since Akasaka is just a stone’s throw from Nagatcho, it’s a must-see in the area. Also down this street just on the right is a huge First Cabin Akasaka capsule hotel. There are all kinds of restaurants and shops on this street + backstreets to the right.

First Cabin Akasaka

Sanno Matsuri

Sanno Matsuri is a traditional Japanese festival held every other year which starts at Hie Shrine and ends later in the afternoon. If you’re in the area when it happens (usually in summer), it’s worth a look.

Dive Into Akasaka

To the west beyond Nagatcho is Akasaka proper. There are 2 main areas to see here: the Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower area (and the Biz Tower Attrium mall next to it), and the myriad hidden side streets just to the northeast of that. There are some fabulous photos of the area over at Konnichiwa | My excellent Japanese adventure. JNTO also has a great page in English describing the area. The Akasaka SACAS area consists of: Akasaka SACAS, Biz Tower, Biz Tower Attrium, a Merto entrance, and several shops/restuarants across the street. There is also a concert hall called BLITZ to the north of Biz Tower Attrium. In the winter BLITZ has an outdoor ice-skating rink. The TBS broadcasting HQ is also in the area. BLITZ is owned + operated by TBS. A Tully’s is also located across the street:

Tully’s across the street from Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower facing north. Nagatcho is to the right (east). The large First Cabin Akasaka hotel is the white bldg. on the right. The hidden side street area is just behind this block. 2 blocks down on the right is the large FamilyMart, and there are all sorts of other great restaurants + shops on this street to the right. Don’t be afraid to wander down side streets to find unexpected enjoyment.

Akasaka’s Hidden Gem: The Hidden Side Street

Starting at around 35°40’37.79″ N 139°44’13.16″ E to the north, and running north-south is a long hidden side street behind the Bic Camera bldg. At night, this street is actually the livliest street in the area and is a must-see. At night this street comes alive with light, sound, smells, restaurants, shops, clubs, and bars. You can spend an entire evening here and not even scratch the surface. In addition there are several smaller adjacent side streets to explore. If you go to Nagatcho/Akasaka, absolutely do not miss this street. Photos are shown in the Additional Photos section below.

Biz Tower lobby.

Okamura Chair Museum

One last little bit of madness: just north of Akasaka-mitsuke Station is the Okamura Chair Museum. This place is a museum for office chairs + car seats. Turns out this company has been making OTT office chairs for decades in Japan and also supplying Japan’s major auto manufacturers with auto seats for decades also. A crazy quick stop if you’re in the area. Just walk in off the street. The company is still in business and some of their office furniture is absolutely amazing. “muffle creates the right balance. For both concentration and collaboration space

If you head up west from the Akasaka SACAS corner where the Tully’s coffee is, you’ll find the street extends west with more interesting shops + restuarants. Finally at the end you’ll come to a tunnel which leads out of the area:

Conclusion + Footnotes

Well, that’s it for now. Nagatcho/Akasuka is one of the most exciting up-and-coming areas in Tokyo – a must see. As another footnote, just to the south is also the very nice Toranomon area – it’s close enough most people could walk to it. It’s definitely worth a trip. See our 2-part post on Toranomon.

Baton-wielding Police

You’ll also see lots of baton-wielding police in the area (shown in the 1st image at the top of this page), due to the critical nature of the central gov’t. If you’re behaving however, and not causing any trouble, they will generally leave you alone. If you get too rowdy, especially inside gov’t bldgs., they may very well arrest you + throw you in prison. And you do not want to ever end up in a Japanese prison because in Japan, guilt is assumed. It’s not the same as the US. If you do end up in one, a forced confession is likely (even if you are innocent), and if you are a foreigner, you will mostly likely serve some time, and then be deported and banned from ever entering the country again. If the police do approach you and ask to see your passport or alien registration card, be ready to provide it in an instant. By law, foreigners are required to carry their passport/registration card on them at all times, so be prepared. Don’t risk a prison term in Japan due to sheer neglect or bad behavior. It’s just not worth it. Always remember you’re a guest in someone else’s country. Respect them.

One more note about the Nagatcho/Akasaka area is because it’s the national central gov’t area, nearly everything in the area except the hidden side street shuts down early at night. So be prepared to not have access to certain things after around 9 PM. Trains however, continue to operate until 11-12 PM.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

Overall master view. North is to the top. To the upper right is Imperial Palace, with the Diet + offices center right, left into central Nagatcho, then south + left into Akasaka. Notable buildings are the TBS HQ in the far lower left corner, Akasaka Biz Tower to the upper-right of that, Sanno Park Tower is the huge bldg. lower right center, and the large grey bldg. is Tokyu Garden Terrace just left of center at the top of the frame. If you continue along the major road shown at the top of the photo up to the northwest, you’ll pass the Imperial State House (which offers tours normally), and then into Yotsuya. If you turn left (west) at the main Yotsuya intersection, after a long way you’ll reach Shinjuku. Hibiya is just out of frame to the lower right. The small square bldg. with the blue square on the roof to the right of Sanno Park Tower is the Official Prime Minister’s Residence. APA Pride and Capitol Hotel Tokyu are hidden from view behind Sanno Park Tower. Just to the upper-left of Sanno Park Tower is Hie Shrine. Sotobori Dori Ave. is the main road running north-south. Just out of view to the southeast is Toranomon, and beyond that to the south Shimbashi. To the left out of frame about a mile is Roppongi.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Looking back north at the Diet Bldg. approaching from Toranomon to the south.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Bic Camera on Sotobori Dori. (In Japan it’s pronounced “Bee-ka Ca-mé-da” by locals).

.belleVie shopping complex, including Bic Camera. A subway portal is just down the stairs to the right. If you pass straight through to the other side, you’ll be on the hidden side street. Make a left. You’ll come out near the entrance to the hidden side street just down on the right here:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to the hidden side street facing south. At night this street comes alive with restaurants, shops, clubs, and hotels. The .belleVie shopping complex is the large bldg. on the left. This street is probably the #1 attraction to see in the Nagatcho/Akasaka area at night. If you walk this street a few blocks and turn right, you’ll come to the Akasaka SACAS area. 90 degrees to the left out of view is the Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Between Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel and the entrance to the hidden side street is this plaque which details how all the local areas got their names. English is included at the bottom. Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel is the bldg. in the background.

Turn to your left 180 degrees from the entrance to the hidden side street, and you’ll see Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho (the tall bldg.) just to your left only 2 blocks away. Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel is the large white bldg. on the right. There’s another portal to Akasaka-mitsuke Station shown in the center. The plaque shown in the previous photo is just out of view to the right.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Nagatacho Station on the Hanzomon Line platform (which is color-coded purple).

TBS HQ. BLITZ is just behind it.

Heading west up the street across from Hie Shrine, which leads to the next corner shown in the next photo below. You can also hang a right here before the corner at the brick alley to get to the hidden side street heading north.

The view on the corner with the Tully’s facing west. Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower are just ahead as shown in the photo below:

Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower. A Metro portal is the small box on the right next to the lighted signs. Biz Tower is on the right, and beyond the lights on the left is the Biz Tower Atrium complex – and beyond that, BLITZ. You can also head right here down the street the Tully’s is on instead for more discovery:

There is a restaurant/bar just to the right called SMT. If you continue down the street north of that you’ll see:

There is also another small APA Hotel on this street as well. The hidden side street runs one block parallel to the right (east).

Looking back east from the Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower area towards the Tully’s. There are more streets to the right (south) to explore as well.

Another view of Biz Tower Atrium.

The BLITZ complex.

The view of west Nagatcho facing north from the pedestrian bridge next to the entrance to the hidden side street. Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho is at the base of the tall bldg. on the right. A Nagatcho Station Metro entrance is just up the hill to the east (right).

Looking back south 180 degrees from the photo above. The hidden side street is just to the right of the small black bldg. right of center. A Metro portal is just in front of that. The main gov’t area is off to the left a few blocks, Sotobori Dori is the street on the left with the cars on it.

Centurion Hotel on the hidden side street.

The hidden side street heading south – a must see. Itamae Sushi on the right is very popular. Down on the left a bit is a good jazz club.

Palaceside bldg. back in Otemachi on the east side. Turn right here for Tokyo Dome City and Ueno.

Additional Photos

The station exit at the small Metro portal in Nagatcho on the north side. Very Soviet-feeling.

Facing west from the north end of Akasaka. If you take this road northwest you’ll pass the Imperial Statehouse and come to Yotsuya. If you turn left @ Yotsuya, it will take you to Shinjuku several miles down. if you turn right here, you’ll see:

Also in Yotsuya is Sophia University.

LINKS

Tameike-Sannō Station

Tameike-sanno Station

Tameike-Sannō Station – Minato, Tokyo – Japan Travel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tameike-Sann%C5%8D_Station

Nagatacho – Tokyo Travel Guide

Nagatacho | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide

Tameike Sanno

Sanno Park Tower – Wikipedia

Akasaka, Tokyo – Wikipedia

Akasaka-mitsuke Station

Akasaka-mitsuke Station Map – Minato, Tokyo – Mapcarta

Akasaka Mitsuke

Akasaka Guide | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide

Akasaka Tameike Tower

National Diet Tour | Things to do in Nagatacho

TOKYO GARDEN TERRACE

Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho | Things to do in Kioicho

https://akasakaprince.com/en/

Parlimentary Museum of Japan

Hibiya Park

Hie Shrine – Wikipedia

Nagatacho, Ark Hills and the Hie Shrine

https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1737/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1066443-d12074421-Reviews-Benkei_Bridge-Chiyoda_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

hanzomon gate Archives – JAPAN THIS!

All Eyes On Akasaka

https://www.mai-b.co.jp/index-en.html

Hotels

APA Pride

Hotel New Otani Landscape Garden: an oasis of peace in Akasaka – and it’s free!

The B Tokyo Akasaka-Mitsuke – Guest Reservations

https://akasaka.tokyu-plaza.com/en/

TOKYU PLAZA TOTSUKA

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

https://en.japantravel.com/tokyo/the-capitol-hotel-tokyu-nagatacho/36416

Hotel Monterey Hanzomon

https://www.granbellhotel.jp/en/akasaka/

https://akasaka.tokyu-plaza.com/en/

New Sanno Hotel

Food

Tully’s Coffee Akasaka

THE PUBLIC RED AKASAKA

Office

https://www.regus.com/en-us/japan/tokyo/akasaka-k-tower-3932

PMO

GRID Nagatcho

https://www.okamura.com/en_mea/products/categories/seating/

Gov

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet

PM’s Office of Japan (@JPN_PMO)

MOFA

Film

https://archive.org/details/GhostStoryOfYotsuya

VIDS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxCctnEoH-g

Ōtemachi Superguide

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Name: Ōtemachi

Kind: Town/City

Location: 35°41’14.86″ N 139°45’52.56″ E

Station: Otemachi Station on Toyko Metro Subway: Marunouchi, Tozai, Chiyoda, or Hanzomon Lines (M18, T09, C11, Z08, respectively).

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Absolutely do not miss it.

Updated 12/29/2020

Don’t miss our other post on one of the best sub-sections of Otemachi: Ootomori.

Also be sure to check out the Tokyo 4K YouTube channel which has a lot of good vids around the Otemachi area.

Access

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Take the Marunouchi, Hanzomon, Tozai, or Ginza lines to Otémachi Station, or those lines or the JR Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station. If you exit Tokyo Station, head northwest on surface streets, or through Tokyo Station‘s vast underground walking tunnels to get to Otemachi Station, then head up to surface streets.

To get to Otémachi, take one of the lines listed above, and exit Otémachi Station. If you’d like a slightly longer way with more of a walk through central Tokyo, exit @ Tokyo Station, and head northwest on surface streets or through the vast underground network of tunnels under Tokyo Station which lead to Otémachi Station. If you do chose Tokyo Station there is a huge map of the entire area just next to the JR East Baggage Service office in the northwest corner at the Marunouchi side northwest exit

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com
©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

JR East Baggage Service office in Tokyo Station. The large area map is on the right.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Northwest corner of Tokyo Station at the Marunouchi side northwest exit. JR Baggage Service office is just to the left, JTB tourism office just to the right, out of view. To walk to Otémachi from here, head left and out of the station, then head northwest on sidewalks.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Just outside the northwest Marunouchi side exit. Head left (west) + north from here to reach Otemachi.

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One of the long underground walkways connecting Tokyo Station + Otemachi Station. Incredibly, there are actually miles of these tunnels all over the Marunouchi/Otemachi area. In fact, they run all the way to the south to Yurakucho Station. Many of them connect in the basements of skyscrapers and other stations. It’s possible to traverse the entire area underground.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Hibiya-Dori runs north-south and connects Hibiya to the south with Otemachi to the north. This walk is one of the most spectacular in Tokyo and passes right in front of the Imperial Palace. A must-see.

Area layout

Otemachi‘s layout is shown on the map below in white. Marunouchi is just to the east (right), and Hibiya to the south. The big green area on the left is the Imperial Palace. Just to the northeast is Kanda and Ueno. Tokyo Station is the big area in the lower right corner to the southeast. Out of view to the northwest is Tokyo Dome City.

Central Tokyo. North is up. Clockwise from left: Imperial Palace + Gardens, Otemachi (highlighted in white), Marunouchi, Tokyo Station (lower right). Just to the south of Tokyo Station is Yurakucho. Just to the east of that is Ginza.

Otemachi is in the heart of the financial district and has endless huge office bldgs packed with Japanese workers.

Otemachi Station street entrance/exit – facing west from the Marunouchi side.

Area Street Maps

In addition to the huge area maps in Tokyo Station, there are many area maps just outside Otemachi Station on the street level. Most are in both Japanese + English, so if you’re lost, a quick glance at one of these can help.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Tokyo central area map near Oazo, facing south. Otemachi is the blue area at the bottom of the map (north).

History

Otemachi derives its name from Ōtemon (“Great Hand Gate”), and was a critical area in the early Edo Period after Japan’s capital was moved from Kyoto to the Tokyo area.

Today the area houses dozens of critical Japanese companies including Japan Post HQ, Marubeni, Development Bank of Japan, Mizuo, Mitsui, Nisso (Nippon Soda) and The Nikkei newspaper.

MARUNOUCHI AREA GUIDE

At marunouchi.com there is a great free area guide which includes most things in Otemachi as well. Well worth checking out.

Otemon Guide + Otemachi One

Also be sure to check out the Otemon Guide – Chock full of good stuff to do in Otemachi. Shops, restaurants, displays, and museums. Definitely worth a look.

The top attraction in the area is called Otemachi One – a huge complex in the ground + basement levels of The Otemachi Tower. Also in this area with a little walking is Ootomori – which connects to Otemachi Station. Otemachi One is in the block to the east of Otemachi Station. Otemachi One has fabulous shops, restaurants, and museums to check out. A must-see.

The Otemachi One block is just one block to the east of the Imperial Palace – just across the street from the small north Imperial Palace Gardens.

Towards the end of each year, Otemachi One has a nice lighted display called OTEMACHI ONE WINTER FOREST

There is also a massive conference center called Otemachi Mitsui Conference in Otemachi Tower.

https://otemachi-one.com/floorguide/

https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/the-otemachi-tower

1-chōme-2-1 Ōtemachi 1-chōme-2-1 Ōtemachi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0004

Directly connected to Otemachi Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Marunouchi Line, Hanzomon Line, Tozai Line, and Toei Subway Mita Line
5-minute walk from Takebashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line
14-minute walk from JR Tokyo Station(from the Marunouchi Central Gate)
12-minute walk from JR Kanda Station(from the South Exit)

Otemachi 1st Square + Coworking Spaces

In the block just to the south of the Otemachi One block is a complex called Otemachi 1st Square. There’s a nice large park + several good restaurants in the area – as well as a sidewalk entrance to Otemachi Station.

In the Otemachi 1st Square office bldg. there is a great shared office space by Regus which has some very nice decked-out office spaces starting at around $600-$799/mo per person. Very reasonable considering this is central Tokyo. Check ’em out. There is also a LIFORK coworking space here.

Also in Otemachi 1st Square is the NTT R&D HQ

https://www.emporis.com/buildings/104988/otemachi-1st-square-east-tower-tokyo-japan

Ote Center Building

Also of interest is Ote Center Bldg. – mainly for a few really great restaurants in the area. Ote Center Bldg. is in the south-east corner of the Otemachi main block.

TOKYO SANKEI BUILDING

Also in the same block – on the fast east side is the TOKYO SANKEI BUILDING – there are a few nice restaurants on the ground floor. Outside is the world-famous “red tube” artwork:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

https://www.sankeibldg.co.jp/tsb/location_eng.html

The Hidden Gem Courtyard

Just to the west of the Sankei Bldg., around 35°41’16.23″ N 139°45’54.45″ E is a nice little hidden gem of a courtyard sandwiched in between 2 office buildings. Lots of great restaurants, cafés + shops. Definitely worth a stop.

Wadakura Fountain Park

Just 2 blocks to the southwest of the Otemachi area and 1 block west of Oazo around 35°41’00.02″ N 139°45’39.55″ E is a great concrete urban park called Wadakura Fountain Park. It’s near the Hibiya area and across from the Imperial Palace. Well worth a quick stop or walk. Just on the north side of the park is the fabulous Palace Hotel Tokyo (if you can swing the $500/night cost).

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Palace Hotel Tokyo, right, and entrance to north Imperial Palace Gardens, left. This is facing north. Otemachi is on the right up the street. Wadakura Fountain Park is just on the right behind the red trees.

Just to the south end of the park is a small pedestrian walkway (Gyoko-dori) which runs west-east with a straight view of Tokyo Station. Gyoko-dori is best known for its spectacular fall view of Ginko trees, which turn a brilliant yellow around mid-late Oct. Like this:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Looking east towards Tokyo Station. Gyoko-dori is out of view to the left.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Looking west towards Imperial Palace from Tokyo Station. Gyoko-dori is the walkway with streetlamps on the right.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Looking northeast from Tokyo Station. Gyoko-dori is out of frame to the left. Marunouchi is the area with the tall bldgs. to the east of the station.

Marunouchi Shuttle

There is also a free shuttle called the Marunouchi Shuttle which runs in a loop between many of the larger office bldgs. including a few in Otemachi. A quick way to see the area for free. The shuttle also has an app for Android and iOS, but it’s in Japanese only. The above page also has a PDF map of the area.

Coin Lockers

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

If you don’t want to lug your heavy bags around the area, you can drop + lock them in any one of the many paid coin lockers around the area. The inside of Tokyo Station has huge banks of these, and you can usually find one available. Cost is anywhere from $4-$8. Most of them take electronic Suica prepaid rail cards for payment. Storage time is usually 16-24 hours.

Marunouchi Oazo

Just at the edge of Otemachi to Marunouchi to the west, is a small complex called Marunouchi Oazo. It’s mostly offices, but also has a shopping and a dining floor. Well worth a look. It’s located at 35°41’00.61″ N 139°45’58.92″ E.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Northwest to Takebashi Station

If you head northwest on Rt. 403/401 past the Imperial Palace and loop around to the west, you’ll come to the northwest part of Otemachi. This area is just north of the north entrance to the Imperial Palace. You can also get here by taking a Metro subway to Takebashi Station on the Tozai Line.

Just across from the Imperial Palace is the Palaceside Bldg. – an older office bldg. but still worth a look. The ground-floor lobby has lots of shops and restaurants + a post office. The building also houses some coworking spaces. There is also a Tully’s on the north side of the bldg.

https://www.mai-b.co.jp/index-en.html

Rt. 301 North to Tokyo Dome City

If you head north on Rt. 301/Haukusan Dori from the Palaceside Bldg., a few miles up you will find Tokyo Dome City. See our other post on the area. Keep in mind from TDC, it’s only a few quick miles east to Ueno. In the 2nd block along this route there is also a very large nice museum on the left hand side of the street.

9 Hours Otemachi

If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay in Otemachi, 2 blocks to the northwest of the Palaceside Bldg, is 9 Hours Otemachi. Can we recommend it? Well it depends – if you’re a light sleeper, not really. As with most other 9 Hours capsule hotels, the tubes you sleep in are made of plastic. It’s common to get stuck in these places with lots of snoring Japanese salarymen who will keep you awake all night. If on the other hand, you’re a heavy sleeper and nothing bothers you, then it may work. This particular 9 Hours has nice showers, and a nice common lobby with a small desk and charge ports, but the common locker rooms are a bit cramped and the minuscule lockers they provide are hard to deal with. At this hotel, for us at least, we also experienced rude, immature staff – very young teens from China staff the place – nothing like the legendary Japanese hospitality you’ve come to expect. Even by Tokyo capsule standards it left a lot to be desired. So, if you’re rough ‘n ready, 9 Hours Otemachi might work for you, else think twice. 9 Hours is located around 35°41’31.39″ N 139°45’39.14″ E down a tiny side street.

9 Hours Otemachi: entrance, capsules, showers:

9 Hours Otemachi is just down this side street on the right. This is facing west. There is also a big 7-11 on the corner.

Northwest to Jimbocho + glitch Coffee

If you head just to the northwest of the main street the 9 Hours is off of, you’ll come to Jimbocho – Tokyo’s famous used book area. Just to the northeast of that is WATERRAS, Ochanomizu, and lots of sports and music shops. You can walk from Jimbocho to Ochanomizu by walking along Yasukuni Dori to the east, then north on Rt. 405 for a few blocks. WATERRAS is just a few blocks north on your left (west) side of the street. 1 block northwest of that is Ochanomizu Station. Ochanomizu is known for its guitar shops. There are also a lot of ski/snowboard shops in the area.

Along the street north from the 9 Hours, around 35°41’37.44″ N 139°45’40.64″ E, on the right-hand side just before Yasukuni-Dori, is a hip little café called glitch Coffee. This place has some really high-end pour over coffee + Espresso, and lots of seating with a big window. Worth a stop. When we stayed @ the 9 Hours, they had a free breakfast ticket for glitch Coffee. The shop also serves lots of scones + pastries. The bldg. is a little hole in the wall, and the only sign is the small painted name in English on the front window.

Address:1F 3-16 Kanda Nishikicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0054 VIEW MAP 東京都千代田区神田錦町3-16 香村ビル1F
Website:http://glitchcoffee.com/
Hours:  Weekdays 7:30-20:00
Weekends 9:00-19:00

Near the WATERRAS complex, there is also a very nice big Olympic Grocery.

Food

Your food options in Otemachi/Marunouchi are endless. Aside from the ultra-deluxe restaurants in Otemachi One and the big hotels, you can stop in a café for a quick bite, or a local noodle shop. Many of the upscale hotels in the area have spectacular fabulous restaurants, though they will cost you.

Cappuccetto Rosso café in northwest Otémachi.

Conclusion + Footnotes

There’s a lot to do in Otemachi and it can serve as a jumping off point to lots of other interesting parts of Tokyo – it’s just north of Tokyo Station, just west of Marunouchi (from which you can jump to the northeast to Nihonbashii and its fabulous hotels + restaurants), it’s just a few miles south of Tokyo Dome City and just southeast of Akihabara. Also keep in mind just down Hibiya Dori to the south from Otemachi is the fabulous Hibiya area. It’s even close enough to walk to for most people. So, in summary, you can see everything Otemachi has to offer + get to lots of other interesting destinations quickly at the same time.

Plan on spending a 1/2 or whole day in Otemachi + surrounding area – especially if you want to see the Tokyo Station + Marunouchi areas at the same time.

Enjoy!

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LINKS

Rail:

Metro

Metro Otemachi Station

Tokyo Metro Subway Map

All Hanzomon Line Posts

Guides

Ootemori

OTEMON GUIDE

marunouchi.com

http://marunouchi.mec.co.jp/smt/en/

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/marunouchi-shuttle/id687729554

Places:

OTEMACHI ONE

Otemachi One

https://otemachi-one.com/en/

Marunouchi Oazo

Top 10 Picks for Tokyo Winter Illuminations

Otemachi Tower

Wadakura Fountain Park

Tokyo Station and Wadakura Fountain Park: ILLUMINATION AT ITS FINEST

Wadakura Fountain Park | japanistry.com

Wadakura Fountain Park, Tokyo @ Garden Visit

Wadakura Fountain Park – 和田倉噴水公園 | Tokyobling’s Blog

Wadakura Fountain Park – 2020 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go – Tripadvisor

https://www.google.com/maps/search/?api=1&query=Wadakura%20Fountain%20Park%203-1%20Kokyogaien%20Chiyoda%20Tokyo%20100-0002%20Japan

PALACESIDE BUILDING

https://officee.jp/en/catalog/Palace+Side+Building/17456/

https://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens/wadakura_fountain_park

https://en.palacehoteltokyo.com/

http://coffeecollection.tokyo/2018autumn/shops/glitch.html

Walking The Path To Glitch Coffee In Jimbocho

Taira no Masakado

9 Hours Otemachi

https://ninehours.co.jp/otemachi/?lang=en

Coworking

Regus Otemachi

LIFORK Otemachi

Spaces

A closer look at Tokyo’s coworking spaces

Maps

http://marunouchi.mec.co.jp/smt/en/map/

Help Desks

Information counters are located on the first floors of both Marunouchi Building and Shin-Marunouchi Building. Please feel free to pay them a visit if you have any problems.

11:00-21:00 until 20:00 on Sundays and national holidays.

Tourist Information Center, JNTO(TIC, JNTO)

Providing information on tourism throughout Japan at customer counters.

9:00-17:00 03-3201-3331

Rail

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

Additional Photos

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com
©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Turning east (left) off Hibiya Dori. Otemachi is to the left.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

A spectacular night view in Otemachi.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

A Doutour Café on the northwest side.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Street outside Oté Center Plaza bldg., Otemachi.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Otemachi Park Bldg.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Northwest side of Otemachi, facing east. Just to the right 2 blocks is the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Dori. Just to the left a few blocks is 9 Hours Otemachi. As a small footnote, the small tan bldg. in the center is currently a shared working space. Just behind the camera is a very nice Tully’s Coffee. If you go left here for several miles, you’ll come to Tokyo Dome City.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

2 more views at station street-level exits.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com
©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Info desk inside Tokyo Station.

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Another view of Oazo.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

A huge coin locker bank inside Tokyo Station.

VIDS