This quaint suburb right in the midst of bustling Tokyo is considered a diamond in the rough. Whilst it is surrounded by towering neighbours, Kichijoji still maintains a friendly neighbourhood vibe. This may be the reason why locals regularly vote it as one of the most desirable suburbs to live in Tokyo.
Kichijoji is where you’d want to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s where you imagine taking a leisurely stroll under the afternoon sun. It’s where you’ll most likely come across couples going on romantic dates by the lakeside. It’s also got some of the best coffees in Tokyo (apparently!).
Take a break from the high-density cities and spend a day in this leafy town. We’ve curated a spectacular list of activities and foodie hotspots for you below. Read on and start building that itinerary!
The Best Things to Do in Kichijoji
Stroll Around Inokashira Park
Locals will generally refer to Inokashira Park as the symbol of Kichijoji. This expansive park is home to a picturesque pond. It’s also lined with many sakura trees which makes it a popular spot during the spring season.
Aside from strolling around the park, there are plenty of activities to participate in here. One of the most popular includes renting a giant swan boat and paddling out onto the lake with your loved one. This is probably the number one date option here!
Aside from that, you can spot people of different ages here simply enjoying the sun and foliage here. People watching, sipping on coffee, and picnics are incredibly common. Like you can see, it’s one of the best spots to see Sakura in Tokyo!
Visit the Studio Ghibli Museum
For the many Studio Ghibli fanatics out there, the Studio Ghibli Museum is a great way to admire some of Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest works. Photography is not allowed inside the museum itself, but you’ll forget all about your camera when you set eyes on the magical world inside. There is even a short film shown at the theatre of the museum that will display something you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
It’s geared more towards the younger crowd but let’s be honest, Studio Ghibli has touched the hearts of people of all ages.
- Address: 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan
- Hours: 9:30am – 4:30pm
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Have you heard of yokochos? They literally translate to alleyways off of a main street, and there are plenty of them in Japan! They’re usually filled with small yakitoris, bars and cozy restaurants.
Harmonica Yokocho is situated outside of Kichijoji Station and is quite a hidden gem. Most people will make their way to Omoide Yokocho which is in the bustling Shinjuku. For those visiting Kochijoji, Harmonica Yokocho is just as great of a yokocho experience!
Like many yokochos, it is tame and usually quiet during the day but it completely transforms at night. As the sun sets, lanterns will slowly begin to light up along the alley way, signifying the start of the day for some! Check it out at the end of this video:
This yokocho is extremely popular for after-work drinks and conversational dinners. We highly recommend that you restaurant-hop to fill your stomach, and then bar-hop for the full experience! You’ll be rubbing shoulders with salarymen as you make your way down the alleyways, and who knows, maybe you’ll make some new friends too.
- Address: 1-chōme-1 Kichijōji Honchō
- Access: Head towards the north side of Kichijoji Station.
Musashino Hachimangu Shrine
What is a visit to a Japanese city without a visit to the local shrine? The Musashino Hachimangu shrine located in Kichijoji is a particularly special one. According to the locals, this is where you would go to completely refresh yourself.
If Inokashira Park is not ‘green’ enough, a quiet stroll through this shrine should put you at peace. Unlike the city it’s situated within, this place looks and feels secluded and intimate. We recommend heading here after a full day of exploration to reflect and wind down.
- Address: 1 Chome-1-23 Kichijoji Higashicho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0002, Japan
- Access: It is a 7-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.
The Best Cafes in Kichijoji
This European-inspired cafe is one of the best spots for Instagram. It’s situated in a colonial-style building, surrounded by towering trees. With big glass windows that let in lots of sunlight, it’s simply breathtaking.
There is an extensive menu here which offers everything from jiggly Japanese souffle pancakes to perfectly cooked steaks. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with impeccably dressed families and social media influencers here!
- Address: Japan, 〒180-0004 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Honcho, 1 Chome−11−5
- Access: It is a 5-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.
- Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm
If you’re visiting Japan in summer, you absolutely cannot leave without trying kakigori first. Kakigori is essentially shaved ice dessert – but the Japanese way. Unlike its western counterpart, it’s super light and fluffy with an abundance of flavors to choose from.
At Kooriya Place, you have some pretty elite options. They include strawberry and cheese or even pumpkin and black sesame! Don’t be alarmed by the size. You will definitely want one for each person!
- Address: Japan, 〒180-0003 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Minamicho, 1 Chome−9−9
- Access: It is a 3-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.
- Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm
The Original PANCAKE HOUSE
If you haven’t had Japanese pancakes before, you’re missing out! These souffle concoctions taste like what dreams are made of.
They’re super light and fluffy and always aesthetically pleasing. Their bestseller is topped with bananas, berries and maple syrup, but you can choose other toppings as well. Other items to check out here include their famous Dutch baby pancakes which are concave pancakes baked in the oven.
- Address: Japan, 〒180-8552 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Minamicho, 1 Chome−7−1
- Access: It is a 1-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.
- Hours: Mon-Fri: 10:30am-8:00pm, Sat-Sun: 9:00am-8:00pm
Blue Sky Coffee
This adorable cafe is located in the heart of Inokashira Park. It was originally an old house that was renovated into the charming little coffee kiosk that it is today. It’s surrounded by tall trees and beautiful foliage. The theme of nature is evident throughout the cafe with leafy archways and lots of sunlight.
In winter, hot wine is on the menu, and in summer, coffee is always hot off the roaster. It’s the perfect coffee shop to grab a pick-me-up, rest under the shade of the trees, and breath in the refreshing smell of nature.
- Address: Japan, 〒181-0001 Tokyo, Mitaka, Inokashira, 4 Chome−1−1
- Access: It is a 10-minute walk from Kochijoji Station.
- Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm (Closed Wednesdays)
The Best Restaurant in Kichijoji
Chinchintei is home to abura soba aka soup-less ramen. If you haven’t heard of this classic Tokyo dish before, you are missing out! Imaging springy noodles topped with fresh simple ingredients such as spring onion, char-shu pork slices, bamboo, and an onsen egg. At Chinchintei, this dish will be absolutely soaked in meat-infused oil for that extra umami.
It’s like ramen but without the boiling soup that comes with it. If you’ve found that you get quite bloated after a bowl of classic ramen, this is an excellent alternative. It looks quite basic on the outside but this place is an institution. There are generally lines of locals and curious tourists here. Expect to wait a little while for this bowl of paradise – it’s absolutely worth it!
- Address: 5 Chome-17-21 Sakai, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0022, Japan
- Access: It is a 14-minute walk from Musashisakai Station.
- Hours: 11:00am – 4:00pm (Closed Sundays)
If you’re planning to visit Harmonica Yokocho, head to Tetchan for the first bite! This hole in the wall is tucked deep inside the maze of restaurants and bars. It’s a favourite amongst the locals as well as tourists for its delicious classic recipes and funky interiors
Don’t forget to give some of the drinks on the menu and go! They mix the classics with new-era and you’ll be surprised just how strong their pours are!
- Address: Japan, 〒180-0004 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Honcho, 1 Chome−1−2
- Access: It is a 1-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.
- Hours: 3:00pm – 11:00pm
Kichijoji Steak House Satou
If anyone knows how to do steak properly, it would be the Japanese. The Kichijoji Steak House Satou is a testament to this statement. The delicious aroma of garlic and beef will fill the air even before you step foot into this restaurant. Here, expect to savour delicious Matsusaka wagyu meals which can begin from 4,000 yen. They absolutely pack it on here!
Another reason why they’re so popular is because of the menchikatsu (fried patties) they sell from their ground floor deli. There’s always a line of people waiting here, and for good reason. To make the most of it, we recommend trying the fried patties first before heading inside for the real deal.
- Address: Japan, 〒180-0004 Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Honcho, 1 Chome−1−8
- Access: It is a 2-minute walk from the station.
- Hours: 11:00am – 2:30pm, 5:00pm – 8:00pm
On the surface, Kichijoji may look like just another Japanese city. If you look closer, you will see that there are many gems within this stunning area of Tokyo that is begging to be explored. Wind up at the museum and wind down at the park.
Grab a coffee in between paddling boats and exploring shrines. Have souffle for breakfast, snack on fried patties in between meals, smash a bowl of soup-less ramen for lunch, and settle down for some epic wagyu for dinner. At Kichijoji, you can have it all!