Yurakucho Superguide

Name: Yurakucho

Kind: Town/City

Location: 35°40’34.56″ N 139°45’40.29″ E

Stations: Yurakucho Station, JR + Yurakucho Metro Line

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

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

Updated 1/18/21

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Yurakucho is a very small tiny area in central Tokyo sandwiched in between Yurakucho Station to the west, and Ginza to the east. The area is tiny – just one major square with an array of shops, restaurants, and bldgs. around it. There’s a Bic Camera store to the northwest of the station, and just north of that, the Tokyo International Forum, which also contains = Mitsuo Aida Museum =, a calligraphy museum.

The main small central area is around 35°40’28.54″ N 139°45’43.25″ E and is to the east of Yurakucho Station. You can also cut through the station’s open passages to the west side on ground level. The Bic Camera is just to the north on the west side. Along the east side of the station at ground level is a long row of restaurants and shops. At the very north end is a Doutour coffee shop, and past it a small tunnel leading to a hidden side street lined with fabulous restaurants (see below). To the southeast end of the station on the east side is a huge LUMINE + OIOI (pronounced Marui) shopping complex. If you slip past it to the south along the tracks, you’ll come to another shopping complex called Ginza 5 Five.

To the east across the street is Ginza | Nz– another shopping complex, and beyond that to the east, the gateway to world-famous Ginza. Most of this is described below.

Tokyo Creative Travel has a very nice page about the Yurakucho area and things to do.

Access

To get to Yurakucho, hop on the Yurakucho Metro Line or Ginza Line, or the JR Yamanote Line. Yurakucho Station is just one stop south of Tokyo Station on the JR Yamanote Line. Another important point for reference is that Yurakucho is just 2 stops east of Nagatcho/Akasaka on the Yurakucho Metro Line. Nagatcho/Akasaka is well worth a look if you have time.

In the station, head for the east exit – which puts you smack in the town center facing east towards Ginza.

Area Layout

Central Tokyo facing west. The Imperial Palace is the green area above. Tokyo Station is in the center at the bottom. The Tokyo International Forum is the long small slender bldg. on the left. Yurakucho is just south (left) of that, out of frame.

Overhead view. Up is north. Yurakucho is in the center. Imperial Palace and Hibiyabori Moat is to the upper left out of view. Marunouchi is at the top out of view. Ginza and Maronnier Gate are to the lower right. The LUMINE/OIOI complex is lower center. The small central square is just above that. Upper right center is Tokyo International Forum – its long courtyard on its west side is full of great restaurants and cafés. The small bldg. just south of the pink bldg. is Tokyu Kotsu Kaikan which has the rotating Ginza Sky Lounge restaurant on top.

A small Koban (police box) with a pointed roof facing north into Ginza on the left. Yurakucho is just behind the huge LUMINE bldg. on the left. Just up the street to the right is MARRIONER GATE – the gateway to Ginza. Ginza | Nz runs up the left side of the street. Even in this huge metropolis, the streets are spotless.

LUMINE complex facing northwest. Yurkucho is just behind it. Ginza 5 Five is just below. You can pass through the 2 large bldgs. at ground level to get to Yurkucho Station.

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Facing south back towards Yurkucho Station which is down on the right. A row of shops is on the right. The large OIOI complex is on the left, and behind that, LUMINE. Left down the street out of view is Ginza | Nz. A few blocks to the east is Ginza.

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Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan in fall.

Facing back the other way (north). Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan in the round bldg. on the right. Ginza is a few blocks to the right (east). The station is just to the left and behind the camera is the OIOI/LUMINE complex. The long slender glass bldg. behind the station is the Tokyo International Forum, and lots of restaurants, shops, and cafés including a Shake Shack and Brooklyn Roasting Company. Also note the large Bic Camera on the left. If you head straight, then left, you will come to an alleyway which leads to a side street of lots of restaurants which runs behind the Bic Camera (see below). If you head straight up this street you’ll come to the small Doutour Café, and past that, the tunnel that leads to the hidden side street with restaurants. You can also cut over to the Bic Camera from here by taking the station tunnels to the left, out of view.

Head straight, then left to find the hidden side street. Also note the tiny private Izakaya (bar) on the right.

Center Square + Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan

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Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan at Christmas time.

As you exit the station to the east you’ll be in a small square. Here there are roughly 4 areas: 1) a row of restaurants on the left to the north, 2) Doutour and a tunnel north of that, 3) Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan on the east side of the squarejust to the west of Ginza | Nz, and 4) OIOI/LUMINE complex on the south. That’s it. At the base of the OIOI complex there are also a nice handful of restaurants to enjoy.

Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan was built in the 1970’s and it shows. The inside has a very 1970’s-ish retro vibe. There are lots of shops here, a post office, and a large grocery in the basement. On the roof is the Ginza Sky Lounge restaurant and bar.

Oddly, the tiny square is considered one of the best trainspotting places in Tokyo. Shinkansen heading both south and north via Tokyo Station run right on the tracks overhead. If you stand in the square and wait, facing west, you’ll see them:

Yurakucho Station is straight ahead, facing west. Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan is just behind the camera to the right and OIOI/LUMINE is out of view just to the left (south). If you head west through the station tunnels and turn right, you’ll come to the Bic Camera. You can also cut down the tiny alley left next to the lighted buildings on the left to get to Ginza 5 Five.

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The west side of the station looking back east at the square on the other side. The Bic Camera is on the left. Pass through the tunnels ahead to get back to the square.

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Another view of the west side facing northeast. The 2 pass-through tunnels are on the left. Ginza Sky Lounge is the round structure on the rooftop on the other side.

Ginza | Nz

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Just to the west of the center square + station, but before crossing Rt. 405 east into Ginza proper, you’ll find Ginza | Nz – a long row of shops + restaurants which lines 405, which runs north-south. Just to the left out of view is the 1st large gateway shopping center into GinzaMARRIONER GATE. The last tall bldg. to the south in this photo is the new Tokyu Plaza Ginza which has a great open-air roof garden + lots of restaurants. The LUMINE complex is the tall bldg. in the center. Ginza Sky Lounge is the round bldg. on top, right. Ginza | Nz runs the length of the street back south to the Koban shown in a photo previously. Turning just to the right from the photo above, you’d see the street leading back to the station to the west:

The Doutor is just up this street to the right. Flipping around 180 degrees from this view is MARRIONER GATE to the east:

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MARRIONER GATE just to the east of Ginza | Nz and Yurakucho, facing east. Just east down this street is Ginza Six and many other Ginza attractions. Prepare to spend at least one full day walking around Ginza.

Ginza 5 Five

Heading south past Ginza | Nz on the right you’ll come to Ginza 5 Five – a small shopping mall. Just next to that is the new Tokyu Plaza Ginza which is a must-see:

Ginza 5 Five is on the right. Tokyu Plaza Ginza is the tall black bldg. behind it. This is facing southeast.

Tokyu Plaza Ginza

At the very south end of Yurakucho is a brand new complex called Tokyu Plaza Ginza. This complex is a must see – it has an external escaltor leading into the bldg. which has endless great restaurants. There are upscale places and a really great Hawiian burger place. Also be sure to check the cool dessert place TSUJIRIHEI-HONTEN GINZA out. But the most interesting parts of the complex are the view from the huge indoor bar + café which provide incredible nightime views out over Ginza, as well as a very large open-air rooftop garden. After stopping at Ginza 5 Five, be sure to check out Tokyu Plaza Ginza just across the street.

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Entrance to Tokyu Plaza Ginza.

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View of the Hermes Bldg. from the indoor café across the street in Tokyu Plaza Ginza.

The Hidden Restaurant Side Street

At the north end of the station, just at the north end of the Bic Camera bldg. you’ll find the Tokyo International Forum. If you pass through the small tunnel next to the Doutour and turn left (west), you’ll be on this street. You can also get to it by exiting the Bic Camera bldg. at the very north side. But instead of heading straight across the street, head down the small side street just to the right which runs the length of the Forum south to north. Along this street on the right hand side are endless great restaurants of all kinds – dozens of them all neatly packed into a row. At night in Yurakucho, this stroll is a must-see. You can’t go wrong at most of these places and they are full of people every night. The south entrance to the street is around 35°40’32.52″ N 139°45’49.21″ E.

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The south tip of the Tokyo International Forum. Instead of heading left into the Forum’s courtyard, head down the hidden side street to the right. This photo is facing north.

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The Hidden Restaurant Side Street

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Ren Ren Ren Chinese Restaurant

As you come to the north end of the Forum along the hidden side street, you’ll come to a skyscraper across the street. There is an extremely good and upscale Chinese restaurant on the ground floor in the corner called Ren Ren Ren Tokyo. One of the best restaurants in the area if you want Chinese food. Also note this restaurant is just 1 block south of Tokyo Station.

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Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum

Just 1 block to the west of Ren Ren Ren, is the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum – a huge multi-floor spectacular museum, which is a must-see in the area.

Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

Just a stone’s throw to the west 2 blocks of the station is the newly-opened Tokyo Midtown Hibiya shopping complex which has a spectacular winter illumination every year. Not to be missed.

Yurakucho is a tiny little part of Tokyo but there’s a surprising amount to do within just a few blocks. That and its close proximity to a major station on the Yurakucho Line means you can get quick access to other parts of Tokyo. Yurakucho is well worth a visit for a day or night, or if you plan on seeing Ginza too, several nights. It’s a must-see in Tokyo for any traveller.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

Another view of the square facing southeast. The station is on the right. The tall bldg. in the center is the OIOI complex. MARRIONER GATE is just one block down the side street on the left.

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Facing south towards Ginza 5 Five between the OIOI bldg. on the left and LUMINE bldg. on the right. The station is to the left.

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Looking north into Ginza.

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The area behind the Tokyo International Forum. Lots of nice restaurants on this street.

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Yurakucho Concourse – a small overpass with restaurants.

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Another view looking south towards Yurakucho Station. The OIOI is just on the left out of view.

Another hidden side street full of restaurants.

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Under the tracks.

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The Bic Camera @ night.

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Christmas illuminations at dusk in Dec. facing back south towards the OIOI + the entrance to Yurakucho Station, which is down on the right. The small row of restaurants is on the right. The Doutor and small tunnel are just to the right behind the camera.

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One of many interesting streets in Ginza.

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View from the Forum facing back south. Bic Camera is straight ahead, the station is to the left.

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800 Degrees in the Forum courtyard.

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Brooklyn Roasting Company also in the Forum courtyard. The place for coffee in Yurakucho.

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LINKS

Yurakucho @ Wikipedia

Yūrakuchō Station – Wikipedia

Yurakucho Line

Ginza 5 @ Tripadvisor

Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan

shakeshack.com/location/tokyo-japan-tokyo-international-forum/

Yurakucho Marui

Ginza 5 Five

MARRONNIER GATE Guide

Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

Tokyu Plaza Ginza

= Mitsuo Aida Museum =

https://mimt.jp/english/

Ginza

https://www.franks-bbc.com/

VIDS

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

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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).

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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:

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

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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A spectacular night view in Otemachi.

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A Doutour Café on the northwest side.

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Street outside Oté Center Plaza bldg., Otemachi.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Otemachi Park Bldg.

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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.

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©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Info desk inside Tokyo Station.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Another view of Oazo.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

A huge coin locker bank inside Tokyo Station.

VIDS

Tokyo Pancake Superguide

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

A pancake craze has hit Tokyo.

There are awesome pancake shops all over the city. Many of them are quite good – must visits. Some of these places are pretty crazy – offering stacks of 8-12 pancakes with scoops of ice cream, chocolate, honey, fruit, eggs, and whipped cream.

In the battle for king of the Tokyo pancake houses, there are two top contenders: Flipper’s and A Happy Pancake. Both are out of this world. Flipper’s seems to be the obvious winner – with a huge place in Harajuku (shown below), and one in Shibuya as well. There are others. A Happy Pancake also has one in Harajuku, as well as a slightly smaller one in Ikebukuro. (There are 5 A Happy Pancake‘s total – Omotosando, Shibuya, Ginza, Ikebukuro, Kichijoji).

See our post on A Happy Pancake Ikebukuro for a full review.

There is also a Flipper’s in S. Korea + a new one in New York City now. Flipper’s also has a small stand shop at Newoman @ Shinjuku Station.

After those 2 reigning kings, next on the list are j.s. Pancake Café (several all over Tokyo), and Rainbow Pancake in Ikebukuro.

Other’s include Bank’s Cafe Shibuya, bill’s Omotosando, and gram Harajuku (see below). All are excellent.

Flipper’s Harajuku/Omotosando. There is also one in Ebisu/Daikanyama. Expect a line most times. It’s that good.

Gomaya Kuki Harajuku

Another popular pancake shop in Harajuku is Gomaya Kuki. This shop is world-famous for its pancakes served with ice-cream and sesame + matcha parfait. Along with Flipper’s a must try if you are in Harajuku. If you plan to hit both shops at the same time, you may want to walk 15 miles or so first sightseeing so you’ll be really hungry.

gram Harajuku

gram Harajuku is a smaller out-of-the-way pancake shop in Harajuku. A very nice shop with seating for about 30, they serve fluffy pancakes with fruit and syrup. Very nice. There are, in fact, several of them all over Tokyo and Japan as well as overseas. See their website for a complete list.

NOA Coffee Harajuku

NOA Coffee in Harajuku has a nice selection of waffles which are well worth a try. The cafe is just inside Takeshita St. on the right as you enter the street. Take the JR Yamanote Line or Chiyoda Line on Fukutoshin Line on the Tokyo Metro to the Meiji-jingumae <Harajuku> Station and exit to the north to find the entrance to Takeshita St.

Cafe Plant’s Odakyu @ Shinjuku Station

In the Odakyu department store (i.e. depato) next to Shinjuku Station there’s a cafe called Cafe Plant’s which serves great pancakes. Worth a look. To get here, get off at JR Shinjuku Station and head up to Odakyu on the northwest side.

Clover Ebisu

Also in Ebisu is Clover’s – a definite must-see. Northwest of Ebisu Station, Clover’s has a wide menu with lots of luxurious choices. You can’t go wrong here – but come ready to eat. And we mean eat.

R.L. Waffle Café @ Tokyo Station

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

At the east side of Tokyo Station is the R.L. Waffle Café – well worth a visit. The blackberry ice cream variant shown above is out of this world. Head out the Yaesu Central Exit, head south along the sidewalk, and it’s the last shop on the right. There is also one in Akihabara. They even have matcha waffles.

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

Head south along the Yaesu (east) side of Tokyo Station. Both R.L. Waffle Café and Volputas are down on the right.

Volputas @ Tokyo Station

Also at Tokyo Station – on the outdoor east floor just above R.L. Waffe Café is Volputas Pancake Dessert Café. Serving mostly stacks of pancakes with heaping piles of fruit, it’s well worth a stop. Prices are fairly reaonable. Expect to pay 1200¥ ($12-17). They also have smaller plain stacks for around $8.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Sarabeth’s @ Tokyo Station

At the opposite end of Tokyo Station on the east side is Sarabeth’s. It’s just to the north of the massive Daimaru department store and south of the $400/night Shangri-La Hotel. The menu is excellent, but be prepared to spend a bit more – up to $30/person. Well worth it, however, once in a while.

The massive Daimaru food palace at the northeast end of Tokyo Station. Sarabeth’s is just out of frame to the right. Daimaru also has an awesome depachika (food basement).

KYOBASHI SEMBIKIYA fruit parlor @ Daimaru

On the 3rd floor of the Daimaru food palace next to Tokyo Station is the KYOBASHI SEMBIKIYA fruit parlor. While mostly fruits and sundaes, they also have waffles. Worth a look.

CAFE EIKOKUYA @ Daimaru

Also @ Daimaru on the 7th floor is the CAFE EIKOKUYA.

Rainbow Pancake Ikebukuro

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Rainbow Pancake in a mall in Ikebukuro. Well worth a stop. There is also one in Shibuya. To get to Rainbow Pancake, get to Ikebukuro Station, enter the SEIBU department store from inside the station, or the street, and head up to the top floor. There is also one in Omotosando.

Leis’ Hawaiian Pancake + Coffee Ueno

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Just across from Ueno Station to the west is Leis’ Hawaiian Pancake + Coffee – a must-see. It’s on the 2nd floor of the Marui Bldg. (OIOI). As a footnote, there is also a Seria 100¥ store and a Ueno Tourist Info office in this bldg. also.

Kirby Cafe @ Tokyo Sky Tree

Courtesy Tokyo Drew

In the small town of Oshiagé is Tokyo Sky Tree and on the upper deck in the “East Yard” of the Solamachi complex is the Kirby Café. This shop sells delightful themed pancakes and is well worth a stop.

j.s. Pancake Café Nakano

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Over in Nakano west of Shinjuku is the j.s. Pancake Café – a bit out of the way, but huge + well worth it. There are 12 of these all over Japan.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

MOKUOLA Dexee Diner, Ikebukuro LUMINE

On the top floor of the LUMINE department store in Ikebukuro is a great pancake place called Mokuola Dexee Diner. They also have great hamburgers. You can get a variety of pancake plates for around $8-$10. The chcolate ones are fabulous. Other options include fruit, whipped cream, and matcha.

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LUMINE Ikebukuro just south of the station on the West Gate Park side. Head to the top floor.

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Head up to the Specialty Dining Floor.

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MOKUOLA Dexee Diner Get ready for some unbelievable pancake plates.

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They also have souffle + ice cream desserts.

Milky Way Café Ikebukuro

On the other (east) side of Ikebukuro Station to the southwest is the Milky Way Café. It’s on the 1st floor in the bldg. shown below just across from a major intersection. While Milky Way is mostly an ice cream parlour, they also have pancakes.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Milky Way, Ikebukuro.

Shibuya

In Shibuya are Micasadeco & Cafe and Burn Side Café. Both are excellent. Micasadeco are known for their big stack of Ricotta chese pancakes served with whipped cream. Burn Side Cafe has a wide menu with chocolate pancakes, fruit, and pancakes served with ice cream. Come hungry.

Benitsuru (formerly “Flamingo Café”)

In Shibuya is a great new cafe called Benitsuru (Pink Crane). Formerly known as Flamingo Café, the place has been remodeled + updated. Reservations are required. You need to go to the shop, make a reservation + deposit 2000¥ ($20) for a reservation. Seating is limited. They serve a huge stack of fluffy pancakes with egss and bacon. Not to be missed. Paolo From Tokyo has a video about the place (see below). There is also a Benitsuru in Ueno.

Also in Shibuya is the Jimmy Monkey Café. Serving pancakes + light French Toast, they also serve ice cream, burgers, and coffee. Worth looking in.

IVY PLACE

Also in Shibuya is Ivy Place, with a nice upscale atmosphere, and plenty of seating. You can see their menu here.

Milk

Milk “Craft Cream” is a small shop specializing in fluffy pancakes and pastries in Shibuya. Worth a look.

Cafe Asan, Ueno

In Ueno, in Tokyo’s northeast is Cafe Asan. It’s in a little art space called 2K540 hidden under the freeway north of Akihabara Station. Well worth a trip on foot – it’s only a mile or so. They are closed Tuesdays. Cafe Asan has unusal hammock-style seating which makes it more interesting, if not a little unusual for a restaurant. Still worth a look. They have giant fluffy pancakes and souffles with heaping servings of fruit + a mountain of whipped cream. 2k540 is roughly located at 35°42’10.66″ N 139°46’25.45″ E.

Ginza

A small shop on a side street in Ginza, Yukinoshita is well worth a stop. Featuring smaller, refined plates of fluffy pancakes + french toast, it’s worth a look.

bill’s Ginza

Also in Ginza is the great bill’s – a must-see. They have a nice modern environment, and a wide menu with lots to chose from. They also serve a variety of wine + coffee. There’s a review of bill’s @ the Pancake Club Blog.

eggs n’ things Ginza

eggs n. things “Breakfast from Hawaii” in Ginza is also worth a look – with a Hawaiian theme it’s an enjoyable experience. They serve big plates of pancakes with heaping piles of whipped cream + fruit. They also serve burgers and a variety of drinks. Worth a stop. There’s also a review over @ the Pancake Club Blog in Japanese only.

French Toast Factory, Akihabara

In Yodobashii Akihabara, on the food floor, you’ll find the French Toast Factory. Well worth a visit for the light yet thick French Toast served here. To get there, take a train to JR Akihabara Station, and exit northeast.

Flying Scotsman, Akihabara (フライング・スコッツマン 秋葉原)

Just to the northwest of the Akihabara UDX Bldg. down a little side street is Flying Scotsman pancake shop. It’s a small shop with limited seating but is well worth the trip. To get there exit the JR Akihabara Station Electric Town (North) Exit and head northwest up the next side street north to the west of the UDX Bldg. It’s down a side street on the left roughly around 35°41’59.81″ N 139°46’19.92″ E.

Café Hudson @ Shinjuku Mylord

In the Shinjuku Mylord bldg. next to Shinjuku Station is Café Hudson – a nice indoor pancake and coffee shop. There is lots of seating and a vast menu of variety to chose from. And it’s really easy to get to – take a JR or subway line to Shinjuku Station, and exit the new remodeled north entrance and head west. The Mylord bldg. is just at the west end of the station. You can also get to it from the Southern Terrace. The cafe is smoke-free, but note they don’t have free WiFi. Still worth a look however – a very nice place to eat. It’s on the 9th floor.

French Toast LONCAFE Meguro

French Toast LONCAFE in Meguro is a small shop that serves great French Toast and champaign. There is a shop in Meguro and one in Shinjuku as well. Both worth a look.

Butter Pancake @ PARCO Kinshicho

In the town of Kinshicho in the PARCO department store is a nice pancake shop called simply Butter which serves stacks of a dozen pancakes with fruit, whipped cream, and other goodies:

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

Rakeru @ OIOI Kinshicho

Also in the OIOI bldg. is Rakeru. While not particularly high-end, this quaint western-style restaurant serves a variety of pancake plates with fruit, ice cream, whipped cream, and other toppings. Prices range from $6-$18. Not a bad little shop.

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

Pinnochio Itabashi

Just north of Ikebukuro in the small town of Itabashi is the Pinnochio Coffee Shop. This shop is well-known in the area for its great pancakes. To get there, walk northwest of Ikebukuro on the Central Circular Route, on the west side of the street, and hang a left around 35°44’41.50″ N 139°42’28.77″ E down a side street. To get to Central Circular Route from Ikebukuro Station, you’ll have to wander northwest on side streets for .65 miles. The east way is to get onto Rt. 315 west + head northwest, then turn right. The entire walk from the station is only a few miles and isn’t that hard.

Rt. 315 NW out of Ikebukuro heading towards Pinnochio. Take a right at the next major intersection to get to the Central Circular Route.

The massive Central Circular Route in Itabashi. Hang a left here.

Pinnochio Coffee Shop, Itabashi.

Roppongi

Incredibly, the Snoopy Museum of Tokyo also has a Snoopy Pancake Breakfast – if you’re in Roppongi, be sure to check it out.

egg Café Kokubunji

About 14 miles to the west of central Tokyo is egg Café Kokubunji. While their menu selection is a bit limited, their pancake meals are out of sight + are well worth a trip if you have time. It’s located on a little side street at 35°42’08.60″ N 139°28’51.85″ E.

Chaka @ Kita-Sensju Station

In the far north part of Tokyo, near Kita-Sensju Station is Chaka, a small pancake shop which serves fluffy pancakes + fruit as well as bacon + eggs pancakes. To get here take the Hibiya or Chiyoda Metro Subway line to Kita-Sensju Station. Chaka is near the station on Kyu Nikko Kaido St. Chaka requires a reservation from their site.

3 Stars Pancake Kawasaki

To the southwest of Tokyo in Kawasaki is 3 Stars Pancake. A bit of a hike just for a pancake shop but if you’re in the area, worth a stop.

VERY FANCY loves ANNTEANA Daikanyama

A very slick shop in Daikanyama is VERY FANCY loves ANNTEANA. Just south of Shinjuku on a little side street in a small residential neighboorhood, this shop is worth a stop. They also have a cookbook and special Halloween Menu.

〒064-0808 北海道札幌市中央区南8条西3-1-4 HOTEL RELIEF 札幌すすきの 1F
TEL : 011-520-6560
BREAKFAST 07:00-10:00
CAFE TIME 11:00-19:00(L.O.18:30)
不定休

Denny’s

Oddly, unlike their counterparts in the US, most Denny’s in Japan are lacking in the breakfast area. Most Japan Denny’s are more lunch-oriented. They do have breakfast, but they are much less impressive + generally smaller than in the US – for pancakes in Japan, really not worth it.

Walk It Off

Don’t worry about gaining weight when you pig out on pancakes in Tokyo. You’ll most likely walk 10-15 miles a day as a tourist when there so you won’t gain weight. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see tiny Japanese women in pancake palaces in Tokyo wolfing down huge plates of pancakes with ice cream. The daily walking routine in Tokyo means most of the calories are burned off in less than a day. Which means you can enjoy eating even more.

Conclusion

Well, that’s it for now. We’ve only scratched the surface here. There are many more pancake shops in Tokyo worth checking out. We’ll keep this page updated if we come across any new cool pancake houses in Tokyo.

Finally, for the most insane comprehensive OTT catalog of pancake places in Tokyo check out the TCS Pancake Club website. This unbelievable site has a review of literally 1000’s of Tokyo pancake shops. It’s so comprehensive it’s hard to imagine how the 2 ladies who run it found the time to compile the list (with photos and descriptions in Japanese only, unfortunately – they’ve been at it for 10 years). Quite an impressive list.

Enjoy!

LINKS

http://blog.livedoor.com/10th/history/tcspancake

Happy Pancake Ikebukuro

https://www.rl-waffle.co.jp/en/

Rainbow Pancake Shinjuku

http://cafeasan.jp/

Café Asan Ueno

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/240/index.html

gram café Harajuku

NOA Coffee Harajuku

https://www.gram-inc.com/

https://billsjapan.com/jp

Burn Side St Cafe Shibuya

Ivy Place Shibuya

https://kirbycafe.jp/

http://tacchans.blog.jp/archives/83433992.html

Flying Scottsman Akihabara/Okachimachi

https://www.bankscafe.jp/menu

https://www.odakyu-sc.com/shinjuku-mylord/shop/list/?id=960

Pinokio, Itabashi

https://www.eggg.jp/cafe_kbj_about.html

http://www.french-toast-factory.jp/

https://monkeycafe.jp/main/cafe/index.html

http://japanshopping.org/archives/shop/34

https://veryfancy.me/daikanyama

Best fluffy pancakes in Tokyo

https://snoopymuseum.tokyo/s/smt/page/english?ima=0000

Best Places To Try The Famous Japanese Fluffy Pancakes In Tokyo!

Steamed bun pancakes are this year’s must-try sweet

Tokyo’s Best Fluffy Pancakes

5 Cafes with the Fluffiest Japanese Pancakes in Tokyo

https://www.tsunagujapan.com/12-best-pancakes-in-tokyo/

Where to Eat Fluffy Japanese Pancakes in Tokyo

Japanese Chain Flipper’s Pillowy Pancakes Delight

Why Is Tokyo Crazy About Pancakes?!

https://www.insider.com/fluffy-japanese-pancakes-new-york-worth-wait-2019-10

https://www.japan-experience.com/to-know/chopsticks-at-the-ready/japanese-pancakes

https://cafegeekjpn.blogspot.com/2016/12/jingumae-rainbow-pancake.html

https://japantoday.com/category/features/food/pancake-cafe-from-fukuoka-comes-to-tokyo

https://gurunavi.com/en/g135126/rst/?ngt=TT11010bb51005ac1e4ae6a0EnpUUWcEUMgS_9L054xGTD

https://gigazine.net/gsc_news/en/20201015-komeda-shironoir-kumamoto-mont-blanc/

https://favy-jp.com/topics/2525

https://bit.ly/3lSeZeJ

https://bit.ly/3jSpXPw

http://rakeru.jp/

https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/restaurants/pinocchio

https://sharing-kyoto.com/Blog/b_pancakes-in-kyoto

my Cafe & Foodie Journey in Japan

5 Best Pancakes in Akihabara

Encyclopedia of Pancakes: Tokyo Edition

http://tacchans.blog.jp/ (Japanese Only)

https://www.seria-group.com/shop/detail.html?code=000002195

VIDS

Return to Itabashi: An 18-year journey PART 1

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

By Staff

Name: Itabashi

Kind: Town

Location: 35°44’45.85″ N 139°43’03.77″ E

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Yep.

Updated 6/28/2020

Page may take a while to load due to photos.

Also see Part 2, Part 3.

My return to the first small town I stayed at in Japan 18 years ago – Itabashi in northwest Tokyo.

The name Itabashi literally means plankbridge.

Itabashi is part of a larger northwestern area of Tokyo called Toshima City.

In 2001, on my first trip to Japan, right off the airplane, I landed in the charming small town of Itabashi. I was excited. Everything in Japan was new to me then, and I was thrilled to be there.

Purely by accident I discovered a great Japanese hotel chain APA Hotels, which has a hotel in Itabashi, right next to the JR Itabashi train station. APA stands for “Always Pleasant Amenities” and they mean it. APA’s are usually cheap, very clean + have soundproof windows. The APA Itabashi hotel off season is an low $65/night – which is what you would pay for a Motel 6 in the US, but APAs are much much better.

The rooms have a fridge, HDTV, power, charging sockets, and nice bathrooms. Well worth the $. There’s also a nice cafe, vending machine, and ice machine (which the Japanese call Ice Engines).

In 2019, I returned to Itabashi, 18 years after my initial sojurn, and stayed just 3 doors down from the room I stayed in during 2001.

This post is a memory of that journey, and about my new adventure in Itabashi in 2019.

The 2001 Photos + Trip

In 2001 digital cameras were still a new thing. All the photos in this section were taken on an Apple QuickTake 200 – which at the time was a hot camera. By today’s standards these are postage-stamp resolution, but they provide a good comparison with the 2019 trip.

In 2001 I hopped a flight from California to Tokyo. The city was overwhelming as was the 16-hour flight. Upon landing I took the NEX from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station, changed trains to the JR Chuo Line, changed again at Shinjuku Station, and took the Saikyo Line up to Itabashi. I will never forget the momemt I stepped off the train and onto the street below the station – the subdued feeling of calmness and relative silence for a city this large.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Overflying the Chiba peninsula into Narita, Summer 2001.

I headed straight to the hotel – APA Itabashi. I was amazed at the cleanliness + quality of both the city + hotel.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Original JR Itabashi Station – where I first stepped onto the street in Japan for the first time, now replaced.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

City center square – just across from the station. This area and the station have been renovated in 2019 for the 2020 Summer Games. Note this view for later.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

APA Hotel just to the west of the station. There is a small pedestrian tunnel on the right which leads to the other city square up to the north of the station.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Just to the east of APA Hotel. The small police box or Koban is the small white bldg. on the right. The small brown bldg. on the left has been torn down and replaced with a big new remodelled station in 2019. People in Japan don’t steal bikes and amazingly, all of these parked bikes were unlocked. Note this view for later below.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The Koban from the front. The old station is just to the right, and the city square is just behind the camera. APA Hotel is to the left.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

One block south of the hotel. The yellow + red sign is the Daily Yamazaki – a 7-11 type convenience store chain in Japan. In Japan these stores are known as Conbini.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Diagonally from the Daily Yamazaki was this vending machine corner – still the same today.

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APA Itabashi hotel lobby with cafe in 2001. Still the same today.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

APA Itabashi room view in 2001 looking west. Today the small white apato bldg. has been torn down and replaced with a massive condo development which blocks nearly the entire view. The platform for JR Itabashi Station is just below, but the hotel has soundproof windows. Note this view for later, below.

©2001-2020 tenmintokyo.com

APA Itabashi room. The rooms are tiny, but quite good, and very clean. They even have a tiny desk. Note the old-style CRT-type TV from 2001. In all APAs in Japan, these have now been replaced with HDTV’s.

The 2019 Photos + Trip

So in 2019 I began to make plans to return to Japan for an extended tour. I immediately began to think of returning to Itabashi as my 1st stop – just for fun – to see if it had changed. So I booked the same hotel for 2 weeks. This time I played the flight smart and stayed overnight in the Pacific Northwest in the US – which cuts the flight time down from 16 hours to a mere 10 – and makes it much easier. If you live in Vancouver you can do the same – although flight time will be 12 instead of 10 hours. 10 hours is doable. 16 is murder.

Upon landing at Narita and staying over in a local hotel for 2 nights to adjust to the time change, I once again booked a NEX train and shot right into Tokyo. I had not been back in 18 years.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Touching down at Narita, 2019.

Tokyo Station had changed and was now much more massive – by an order of several magnitudes. On top of that, all the train stations in Tokyo were being remodeled that fall in preparation for the 2020 Summer Games. I struggled my 3 bags through the station and its labyrinth tunnels to get the Chuo Line once again to Shinjuku.

Once in Shinjuku (whose station was also completely torn up), I bought a Suica prepaid IC card and headed for the Saikyo Line platform. After a few minutes’ wait, I boarded and rode the line back north – just as I had done 18 years earlier. Just as I had remembered, it was only a short hop.

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The train stopped at Itabashi, brakes squealing, the doors opened, and I once again stepped off onto the platform. Time rewound decades as I vividly recalled my first step into Japan nearly 20 years earlier.

To my amazement, with the exception of a large white bldg. to the east of the station, nothing had changed. Nothing. The station + platform were almost unchanged. The back of the hotel, which faces the station was as if I had never left. I saw the long oval windows of the hotel restaurant where I had eaten my first breakfast in Japan the day after arriving the first time in 2001. Memories of that trip came flooding back – the unique smell of Japan, the low quiet rumble of this city of 30 million people, the cleanliness, the sky, the trains.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Return to Itabashi – as if by time machine – 18 years later.

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I headed to the stairs – which had been replaced by a new escalator. It was here I learned the stations were being remodeled for the Olympics. Inside, the station had completely changed. Modern marble walls, new restrooms, a new conbini inside the station which had not existed before.

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The newly remodeled JR Itabashi Station.

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The new Itabashi Station was finally completed in June 2020 – including a new row of shops on the right side.

South/East side of the new station. Entrance is on the left. Note the nice new pavement. In almost 20 years this is about the only thing that has changed in Itabashi.

I slapped my Suica card on the turnstile’s IC reader with a beep, and passed through. I went up the new exit ramp, around the corner of the new station, and onto the same street where I first set foot 18 years ago.

Nothing had changed.

The same small white police Koban, the same small town square + fountain, the shops + apartments, the same street.

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First step out of Itabashi Station in 2019 – except for the large new station bldg. on the left, nothing had changed. The same Koban is visible up on the right. The pedestrian tunnel entrance is visible on the left.

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The pedestrian tunnel leading to the north side of the station, bike parking, and the west city square.

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Itabashi city square today – just outside the station.

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Dental office directly across from the hotel. Except for a freshly painted railing, and new sidewalk pavement, nothing had changed.

I walked to the right 1 block and there was the hotel – exactly as I had left it a long time ago. The same dentist office right across the street, the same small Italian restaurant where I had first eaten pizza in Japan in 2001. The Daily Yamakazi conbini right across from it. Surely, I said to myself, the same vending machines can’t still be on the corner – where I had tasted my first Japanese soft drink – Pocari Sweat in 2001. I walked down the street – and there it was – the same vending machine corner. As if by time machine, I was back in Tokyo, after all this time, at the exact same spot I remembered from long ago. And everything was exactly the same.

With the exception of the new station bldg, Itabashi had been trapped in a time warp.

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I headed into the hotel on the right. Same bike parking lot, same sign, same street. Once again, memories came flooding back. The large brass frame on the front door’s circular sliding glass doors, floor tiles, and 200¥ coin lockers – all the same. I headed up the ramped lobby, past the small coffee bar I remembered, and to the front desk. Not one thing in the lobby had changed. Even the same painting on the stairs leading up to the restaurant.

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APA hotel today – even the bike parking fence is the same – in fact, it hasn’t even been painted.

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

I checked in. The staff were polite as usual. I got my room key, and dragged my bags toward the elevator. Past the Hoshizaki Ice Engine I had used 18 years before.

Into the elevator.

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©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

To my amazement, the hotel staff placed me in a room exactly 3 doors down from the very first room I had stayed in 18 years earlier. I didn’t request it – somehow it just turned out that way. Same floor, same wallpaper, same hotel – even the same side of the hall. Just 3 doors down.

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4th floor in the hotel.

Just for fun, I walked to the end of the hall and to the door of the room I had stayed in during 2001. I looked out the same fire escape window at the first skyline view I had ever had of Tokyo. I just stood for a minute thinking in silence – 18 years – amazed that I was even here again, in the same spot.

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My original room in 2001.

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Looking south towards Ikebukuro. The groaning city in the gathering dark.

I went back down the hall to my room, unlocked the door and stepped inside. Everything here too, was just as I remembered it – except the view was now blocked by a huge new condo development. I opened the window and looked out into the humid late summer air. That familiar smell – the smell of Japan. The station platform below was just as I left it too.

Back in Japan for the first time in 18 years.

What a thrill.

In Part 2 I describe more about the town, the other side of the station, and things to do + see. Enjoy!

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©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

LINKS

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

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/destinations/northern-tokyo/itabashi/

https://www.city.toshima.lg.jp/index.html

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298184-i861-k13068457-Haneda_Airport_to_Itabashi_Station-Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

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

https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Itabashi_Station

https://memim.com/itabashi-station.html

https://www.wikizero.com/en/Itabashi_Station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shin-itabashi_Station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimo-Itabashi_Station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naka-Itabashi_Station

Tobu Kami-Itabashi Station

Restaurants near Itabashi Station

Things to Do near Itabashi Station

https://ariyabar.com/

APA Hotel Itabashi-Ekimae

Hotels near Itabashi on Agoda

https://ariyaroom.com/takinogawa/indexenglish.html

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

https://www.thejapanguy.com/using-your-suica-card-and-pasmo-card/

https://www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/about/howto/howto.html

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/04/01/national/railways-get-jump-on-solving-ic-card-dexterity-barrier

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.mediavrog.ic_card_expensetracker&hl=en

https://www.kingjim.co.jp/news/release/detail/_id_15442/

https://japan-magazine.jnto.go.jp/en/trivia_201103_insight.html

https://timelapsetokyo.com/2016/04/18/accelerated-ticket-gate-3-million-people-use-in-a-day/

Additional Photos

My original Apple QuickTake 200 camera from 2000. A ghost from the past.

Original west side of Itabashi Station – now completely replaced by a new taller station bldg.

Original east side entrance of Itabashi Station – now completely replaced.

VIDS

Main center square outside JR Itabashi Station, early fall.

Shopping street northwest of Itabashi center square.

JR Sakiyo Line train crossing, east of JR Itabashi Station.

JR Itabashi Station at night. JR Saikyo Line headed south to Ikebukuro.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8b3Vkww4N0

Akabane is 2 more stops to the north on the Saikyo Line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukK1WQFhewg