50 things to do in Tokyo along the Keio lines

Board at Shinjuku or Shibuya and shoot for the swanky western suburbs

Connecting Shinjuku and Shibuya with ever-trendy neighbourhoods like Shimokitazawa and Kichijoji and running all the way to Hachioji and Takao far out west, the Keio line is supremely convenient for exploring the more polished sides of suburban Tokyo and its hip cafés, family-friendly parks and underground gig spots.

Our guide to the best things to do along the Keio and Inokashira lines points the way to essential sights, fancy restaurants and art galleries frequented by western Tokyo's comparatively well-dressed and well-off natives, while also including somewhat scruffier spots like old-school cinemas, public bathhouses and no-frills boozers. Hop on and start exploring – or opt for a significantly less posh alternative with our guide to the Seibu lines.

1

Build your vinyl collection...

One of the most popular record shops in Shimokitazawa, Jet Set covers all genres but is especially good if you're looking for soft rock, soul, house, disco, techno and Japanese pop.
Jet Set

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Shimokitazawa
2

Perk up at 3pm...

Sweet bread and coffee at 3pm sound good? Pick up the combo at this bakery and enjoy your mid-afternoon break in the park just outside the shop. Their sandwich loaf, usually ready around noon, is also popular.
Aosan

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Sengawa
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3

Go to sento heaven...

This 'super sento' features 12 different types of baths including a whirlpool bath, rotenburo and Japan's first electric bath filled with carbonated spring water. For an extra charge, you can try out the Surga bedrock bath, which will warm you to your core.
Yukemuri no Sato

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Sengawa
4

Get lost in time...

Wander around the ramshackle street of Nonbei Yokocho ('Drunkard's Alley') where you'll find rows of tiny bars – some so small that they only fit four or five people at a time.
Nonbei Yokocho

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Shibuya
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5

Slurp soba at a temple...

This temple of the Tendai sect is the second oldest in Tokyo, and is famous particularly for its soba noodles and the authentic Edo-era atmosphere. Great for weekend strolls and sampling Japanese desserts at nearby teahouse Kitaro Chaya.
Jindaiji

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Chofu
6

Brave more unusual yakiniku...

This yakiniku eatery provides great value for adventurous carnivores. First-times should start with the tenderloin, a slightly sweet and appropriately soft delicacy, while the truly courageous can go for the 'Kori Kori Mix', a set special consisting of beef ear, throat cartilage, aorta and uterus (!).
Nikunchu

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Shimokitazawa
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7

Sample the sake of the day...

This basement pub serves great sake at great prices. If you're not sure what to order, ask for the day's special and tell them whether you prefer dry or sweet – they'll select a sake for you.
Plat Stand Moto

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Kichijoji
8

Take a public bath...

A classic sento with a Mt Fuji mural on the wall. Take a bath before dinner to ease you into an evening of relaxation. ¥460 entrance; ¥100 extra if you need to borrow a towel.
Kitazawa-yu

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Setagaya
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9

Fill up on clam-flavoured ramen...

Konjiki Hototogisu's decor leaves much to be desired, but the ramen, made with clam broth, is spot-on: choosing between the ajitama soba (soy-based) and ajitama shio soba (salt-based) can be a heart-wrenching decision.
Konjiki Hototogisu

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Hatagaya
10

Test your spice threshold...

The impressive interior and sari-wearing staff will make you feel like you're in India, and the curry maintains the spell: the spiciness scale has seven levels, from the mild 'kakusei' (awakening) and 'meisou' (contemplation), the medium 'gokuraku' (paradise) and 'tenkuu' (ether), and the very spicy 'kokuu' (emptiness).
Magic Spice

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Shimokitazawa
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11

Browse books, sip on beer...

Making browsing books a social affair, B&B lets you sip on beer, coffee and other drinks while you read. Their daily talk events have attracted a healthy following too.
B&B

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Shimokitazawa
12

Dive into a world of picture books...

Popular among those in the know, this store's focus is Japanese picture books (it stocks around 3,000) but it also features works by famous local novelists and illustrators. Check out its original pin badges and bags.
Tom's Box

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Kichijoji
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13

Be a mall rat...

Featuring more than 110 stores, this shopping centre is popular on weekends for its events, and on Wednesdays when women are offered various discouts. Easily accessible from the city centre, you'll find it a mere two-minute walk from the nearest station.
Mitsui Outlet Park

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Hachioji
14

Paddle a swan boat...

At weekends this park comes alive with street stalls, musicians and artists. Rent a swan boat and paddle around on the pond – it's especially pretty during spring when the cherry blossoms are out to play.
Inokashira Park

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Kichijoji
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15

Try Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki...

Okonomiyaki is very popular in Shimokitazawa, but Hiroki takes top spot with its Hiroshima-style dishes, skilled chefs and perfect portions. The Hiroshima Oyster Negi Ponzu and the seafood teppanyaki are also highly recommended.
Hiroki

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Shimokitazawa
16

Stroll through the Wisteria tunnel...

Visit this garden in May to see the exquisite purple 'Wisteria tunnel', and from February to March when 500 plum trees are ablaze with blooms. You can also spot Mt Tsukuba and from certain positions on clear days you'll be able to see Mt Fuji in the distance.
Keio Mogusaen

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Tama area
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17

Climb Tokyo's most famous mountain...

Recommended

Just 50 minutes from Shinjuku, Mt Takao is an oasis of greenery, boasting 1,500 varieties of native flora and plenty of interesting bird species. Must-see sights include Yakuo-in Temple and speciality foods include tengu-yaki, tengu hot dogs and tororo soba.
Mt Takao

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Takaosan
18

Cosy up with hipster goods...

From coffee beans to oxford sneakers to quirky cacti, this store gathers the kind of hipster items that make life more comfortable and, well, hip. Take a breather and sip a cuppa at their in-store coffee stand.
Black Brick

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Kichijoji
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19

Catch a cool flick...

An always excellent film lineup sees this small theatre attracting both occasional moviegoers and diehard fans. On the first day of every month, as well as every Tuesday, tickets go for just ¥1,000.
Shimotakaido Cinema

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Shimo-Takaido
20

Devour hot, juicy dumplings...

Chinese food lovers shouldn't miss eating lunch here. Order Gyoza rice, which comes with both pan-fried and boiled dumplings on rice, plus a side dish, for just ¥690.
Dandadan Sakaba

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Chofu
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21

Fish by the hour...

Choose from five ponds for a morning of carp fishing, then stop by the restaurant for a cold brew and snacks afterwards. The ¥700 per hour fishing fee includes rod and bait.
Musashino-en Fishing Pond

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Eifukucho
22

Sweeten up with traditional treats...

Making this shop's seasonal sweets even sweeter is how pretty they are to look at. Try their signature Kogane Dango as well as their basic treats Mitarashi and Kurogoma-wasanbon.
Furuya Koganean

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Hatagaya
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23

Eat a sweet fish...

Taikoubou is one of Tokyo's leading makers of taiyaki – a crispy fish-shaped waffle filled with sweet azuki bean paste. You can also choose white bean paste or custard fillings, or the Buono taiyaki (pictured), which is filled with lasagne and sausage.
Taikoubou

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Chofu
24

Meet a guitar-making legend...

Professional musos flock to this store to buy instruments produced by Japan's most individualist guitar maker, Yoshinori Hanamura. As the shop sign says, 'Window shopping welcome'.
Hanamura Gakki

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Meidaimae
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25

Check out the Darkness Festival...

Said to have been founded in the year 111, this Shinto shrine is one of Tokyo's five major shrines and known for its annual springtime Kurayami Matsuri (Darkness Festival) – the highlight is at 6pm on May 5 when eight portable shrines move in time with fireworks.
Okunitama Shrine

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Fuchu
26

Dig into fancy vegan falafel...

Kuumba du Falafel's sandwiches are superb, crammed with so many ingredients that they're almost impossible to eat without making a mess. The store's interior is prety fancy, too.
Kuumba du Falafel

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Shinsen
27

Munch eel next to an apricot tree...

Enjoy freshwater eel over rice in a pretty courtyard featuring a Japanese apricot tree, which is especially beautiful in early spring. If you prefer private dining, there are six rooms to choose from.
Takenoya

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Chofu
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28

Bring back bowling...

This popular bowling alley near Sasazuka Station does more than enough to keep your inner Lebowski happy, perks including a VIP room with karaoke, a café serving burgers and booze, and occasional DJ parties. Available to rent for private parties.
Sasazuka Bowl

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Sasazuka
29

Visit a cat café...

If you're visiting the Hello Kitty-themed Sanrio Puroland, stop in at this nearby cat café and enjoy a cup of coffee in the company of some furry felines. ¥800/hour on weekdays; ¥1,300/hour on weekends.
Cat Cafe Tamaneko

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Tama-Center
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30

Fire up your Thai tastebuds...

Choose from 100-plus Thai dishes, all elegantly blending fragrant herbs and spices with a fiery heat. The name of the restaurant comes from the traditional celadon ceramics of Thailand, which are used here to complement the food.
Celadon

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Hatagaya
31

Combine tea with tea dessert...

Sample some of the finest Japanese tea created by a tea master trained in Kyoto. Pair it with a tea-flavoured dessert such as the Matcha Shiratama Anmitsu Parfait.
Chasen

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Eifukucho
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32

Be a train driver for a day...

Gather the whole family to visit this theme park based on Keio's real-life railway. View retired train cars, ride a miniature train, and step into a simulator to pretend you're a conductor or train driver.
Keio Rail-Land

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Tama area
33

Trek for sushi...

It's a little far from Tokyo's centre, but this restaurant's skilled sushi chef makes the trip worth it. Besides sushi, they serve delicious seasonal fish and an outstanding green onion roll seasoned with chilli peppers and miso.
Sushi-dokoro Koiso

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Tama
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34

Share a sherry with locals...

A small standing bar with space for just 10 people, Mitaka Bar is the go-to place for those looking to enjoy a glass of wine or sherry, paired with delicious veggie dishes.
Mitaka Bar

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Mitaka
35

Taste an unusual ramen broth...

This ramen shop is set apart from the rest by its distinct broth made from dried sardines. If you're not sure which dish to go for, the standard ramen is a good place to start.
Hirotomi

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Hachioji
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36

Step out of your food comfort zone...

If you're not too familiar with offal, the menu here might read like a veterinary school textbook. All we're going to say is be brave and try the Tan-Sashi (sliced raw pig tongue) and Motsu Nikomi (pig tripe stew).
Motsuyaki-dokoro Ishii

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Chofu
37

Snack and shop...

Found out west in Chofu, this shop, gallery and café offers three 'goods': good prints (paper and textiles), good crafts (handmade homewares) and good food (cutesy groceries).
Tegamisha 2nd Story

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Chofu
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38

Admire Mingei...

This museum was founded by Soetsu Yanagi in 1936 and has a wide variety of mingei (folk crafts) from Japan and other countries. The building itself is beautiful to behold and the museum shop stocks wonderful modern craft works from all over Japan.
Japan Folk Crafts Museum

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Komaba-Todaimae
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40

Splurge on quality fish dishes...

Perfect for special occasions, this restaurant offers unbeatable fish cuisine. Budget for around ¥10,000-¥15,000 for dinner with drinks or reserve the 'omakase' course (¥7,000) and let the chef decide what you'll be having.
Kirakutei

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Suginami
41

Bet on horses...

Horse racing is big betting business in Tokyo, but even if you aren't into that side of things, a day at the races makes for some unique entertainment. This world-class racecourse also boasts parks and restaurants, and it's great for dates and family outings.
Tokyo Racecourse

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Fuchu
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42

Immerse yourself in some literary history...

Setagaya is renowned for being home to many literary figures and artists in the past, including Roka Tokutomi. This museum pays homage to them, holding exhibitions covering a variety of themes and genres.
Setagaya Literary Museum

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Roka-Koen
43

Lunch at a popular film location...

Having served as a setting for several film and TV dramas, Kikuyoshi Shokudo's walls are adorned with autographs of famous actors. They offer a reasonable set lunch including chicken cutlets and fried horse mackerel.
Kikuyoshi Shokudo

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Fuchu
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44

Experience Okinawa in Tokyo...

Fron Daitabashi Station, cross the Koshu-kaido and you'll come across 'Okinawa Town', a market featuring food and goods from Okinawa. There are plenty of restaurants and cosy, retro-style shops in the mix too – best time to visit is at night.
Okinawa Town

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Suginami
45

Mingle with locals...

Located near Kichijoji's landmark, Inokashira Park, this restaurant is a great spot for mixing with locals. Make sure you order their speciality, yakitori, which only costs ¥80 per chicken skewer.
Iseya

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Kichijoji
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46

Wander through an alley...

First built as a flea market, this collection of alleys is now best known for its many small but excellent restaurants serving everything from Chinese dumplings to oden and pasta. Also great for night-time bar hopping.
Harmonica Yokocho

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Kichijoji
47

Shop for secondhand fashion...

The owner of this Shimokitazawa secondhand clothing store takes great care in selecting each item, usually sourcing pieces from the US, so you're bound to find something unique.
Film

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Shimokitazawa
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48

Induldge in masterful soba...

Loved by locals, this soba joint also attracts faraway visitors and offers one special meal that combines all their dishes into one. Call beforehand to reserve the 'soba-kaiseki', and prepare to spend the entire evening slurping.
Soba Korin

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Takaido
49

Treat your ears (and your wallet)...

Audio aficionados will appreciate the top-grade sound system, while laymen will relish the reasonably priced drinks and friendly volume levels at this shiny DJ bar, which regularly hosts veterans like Nori and Toshiyuki Goto.
DJ Bar Bridge

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Shibuya
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50

See koalas, lions and monkeys...

It'll take you a full day to make your way through this zoo's different sections: Asian, African, Australian and Insectarium. The main attractions include koalas, lions in a ‘safari’ setting and, above all, a huge insectarium with butterflies, beetles and other creepy-crawlies.
Tama Zoo

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Tama area

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