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The remarkable concentration of noodle eateries in Suginami Ward’s Ogikubo has led to the area being labeled ‘ramen town’, and this suburb on the Chuo line really does host some of the city’s top ramen joints. Some of them have roots that go as far back as the early 1950s, when Tokyo was still rising from the ashes of the war and the demand for cheap eats led to the emergence of Chinese-style joints serving simple dishes like chuka soba noodles. However, Ogikubo also used to be known as a literary town, with many aspiring writers living there and sometimes staying at the famed Seikou inn.
On the other hand, the area around Nishi-Ogikubo (west Ogikubo) Station was known as a wealthy residential neighbourhood before the counterculture movements of the 1960s swept over the area. These two aspects come together in today’s Nishiogi, which is a curious combination of quaint antique shops, rowdy live houses, scruffy cafés and upscale apartment buildings. This guide, written on the basis of suggestions from our readers, takes you on a tour of both sides of Ogikubo and leads you to some of the more or less hidden spots loved by locals and visitors alike.