Inokashira Park1/5
Photo: Note Thanun/UnsplashInokashira Park
片口 katakuchi2/5
Photo: Time Out Tokyo
Inokashira Park3/5
Cafe Lumiere4/5
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa
Cinq5/5
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

One day in... Kichijoji

Discover the best restaurants, cafés, attractions and things to do in Tokyo's western suburb of Kichijoji

By Kaila Imada
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Tokyo’s western suburb of Kichijoji is close to the city centre (with direct trains from Shibuya and Shinjuku) and yet far enough removed for a spot of tranquility, especially at the lush Inokashira Park, known for its iconic swan boats and cherry blossoms. So don’t just come for the nearby Ghibli Museum; explore a little further and you’ll discover a cool neighbourhood peppered with stylish restaurants, cafés and boutiques to keep you browsing for hours on end.

RECOMMENDED: Read our guide on how to go out safely in Tokyo

Eat

Ichien Honten
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Ichien Honten

Bars and pubs Wineries Kichijoji

Located on the bustling shopping street Nakamichi-dori, Ichien Honten is hard to miss – there’s usually a queue outside the shop. The big draw is the jumbo pan-fried gyoza (¥500 for five) which go well with the satisfying shoyu ramen. Other dumpling options include chicken and shiso leaf gyoza, miniature one-bite gyoza and a premium pork variety. If the line looks a bit daunting, just get the gyoza and nikuman (steamed buns) to go.

Cafe Lumiere
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Cafe Lumiere

Restaurants Cafés Kichijoji

This café takes kakigori shaved ice desserts to the next level by covering them in fluffy meringue before lighting them on fire with a flaming concoction of rum. It makes for quite the show-stopping dessert, plus it tastes pretty amazing, too. Flavour combinations range from caramel and strawberries to seasonal varieties such as rum raisins and apples with fresh custard cream and mascarpone cheese.The menu here also features cakes and sandwiches.

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Peace

Restaurants Cafés Kichijoji

When just any old shaved ice won't do, make way for this eight-seat, counter-only Kichijoji café where the menu changes almost daily. Seasonal offerings are legion, while the regular varieties range from orthodox milk and strawberries to quirky creations like sake kakigori and kakigori combined with fruit jelly. Halloween and Christmas sees both the shop itself and the edibles decorated for the occasion.

Harmonica Quina

Restaurants Kichijoji

This small eatery inside Kichijoji’s Harmonica Yokocho serves up Okinawan taco rice, which fuses western and Japanese flavours. It was a popular staple for the American military forces who were stationed in Okinawa during the 80s. The dish is simple, consisting of typical taco fillings served on a heap of rice instead of inside a taco shell. Thankfully, at Harmonica Quina the toppings are more inventive than the bog-standard beef, lettuce and cheese – you can add avocado, salsa and even an omelette if you please. The menu also features Okinawa soki soba if you’re in the mood for noodles.

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Garage 50
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Garage 50

Restaurants Pizza Kichijoji

For a unique eating-out experience, bypass the generic Italian restaurants and head straight for Garage 50 in Kichijoji, where the pizzas are cooked in a retrofitted VW van. It’s hipster, sure, and you’ll be eating off paper plates while sitting on a stool in a garage, but the pizza is exceptional value at ¥600. The inside of the vehicle has been refurbished to fit a pizza oven and the owner makes each one fresh to order. You can’t go wrong with the prosciutto topped with a soft egg, or the basil mascarpone.

Katakuchi

Restaurants Japanese Kichijoji

Despite just a curtain separating it from the street, this modern-looking restaurant is surprisingly cosy. There’s a full selection of sashimi, side dishes and sake, which makes Katakuchi an ideal first port of call on your Harmonica Yokocho bar crawl. If you’re just looking for a light and quick bite, get the threepiece chef’s choice set.

Drink

Light Up Coffee
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Light Up Coffee

Restaurants Coffeeshops Kichijoji

This charming little café pours a mean cuppa with house- roasted beans, which can also be purchased at the shop. Go for the tasting set if you can’t decide – it features a flight of three different drip coffees. Other menu items include latte and Americano, made with a different espresso bean each day, as well as snacks like toast and puddings.

Chai Break

Restaurants Cafés Kichijoji

If you're looking to grab a drink on the go before heading to Inokashira Park, stop by this café for the real deal. The various tea and chai drinks on offer are rick in aromas, with their 'boiled milk tea' prepared the traditional Indian way. Here, a cup of chai has two teapots' worth of tea leaves, giving the drink a full flavour. Pair your drink with cake, baked samosas or brioche french toast. If you have a sweet tooth, go for the ginger panna cotta or kulfi.

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Kopanda

Restaurants Kichijoji

This izakaya bar offers a menu of fun and inventive dishes. We recommend the immensely addictive smoked egg and potato salad, which is served with corned beef and onion chips. Wash it down with the two drinks that share the same name as the bar, such as the Panda Beer or the Panda One Cup (sake) – they both feature cute drawings of the black-andwhite bear on the labels. If you want to make your yen go further, opt for the otsukare set (the name literally translates to ‘thank you for your hard work’): this combo offers you a choice of any drink plus a three-snack set that changes daily. 

Shop

Cinq
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Cinq

Shopping Lifestyle Kichijoji

If well-designed homeware is what you’re after, make a beeline for this zakka lifestyle store. Cinq carries all sorts of tableware and kitchen gear, plus fashionable clothing such as socks and knitwear. It even has its own brand of merchandise which includes metal coffee and tea canisters, cloth aprons and umbrellas. With items sourced from around Europe and Japan, the shop is perfect for a spot of interior inspiration.

Majerca
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Majerca

Shopping Kichijoji

This minimalist outlet only stocks what it calls ‘welfare’ items, or products designed and made by people with disabilities. The items in store, sourced from all around Japan, each have their own charm. Browse through artisanal ceramics and jewellery, children’s toys, hand-woven belts, camera straps and more besides. Many of the products come with a description of their provenance and the artisans who created them.

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White Atelier by Converse ホワイトアトリエ バイ コンバース 吉祥寺店
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

White Atelier by Converse Kichijoji

Shopping Kichijoji

A classic pair of Converse is a fashion staple, but did you know you can also personalise your own kicks with the brand? Enter this Converse store, where you can deck out a pair with various designs and patterns created by popular artists, as well as add on personal touches such as charms and coloured laces – all from ¥9,000 (price includes the shoes). The process is straightforward. First, try on a sample pair to determine your size and pick either an all-white high- or low-top All Star, which is exclusive to the White Atelier.

四歩 Sippo
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Sippo

Restaurants Kichijoji

Looking like an outlet store, the expansive Sippo will delight bargain hunters with its wide range of reasonably priced goods. The selection may seem random but everything is either made in Japan or features Japanese aesthetics. There’s homeware, fashion, jewellery, accessories, gourmet food items and even antique furnishings. Some of the best deals can be found just outside the entrance, where the shelves stock pre-loved tableware, crockery and pottery items with prices as low as ¥100.

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Markus Kichijoji | Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Markus

Shopping Kichijoji

Situated just off of the popular Nakamichi-dori shopping street, Markus is home to a fine array of Japanese objects of desire sourced from all across the country. The shop owner personally picks out everything in the shop and goes around the country to visit various craftspeople to learn about their unique products. You’ll see that items are categorised by area and artisan, with small descriptions accompanying each and every one.

Tea Market Gclef

Shopping Specialist food and drink Kichijoji

This Kichijoji tea specialist has been a neighbourhood fixture since 1996, keeping locals well caffeinated with leaves and packaged tea from countries like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and China. Sampling is allowed, and you're sure to have fun comparing the many seasonal varieties. If your Japanese is up to par, try prodding the staff for further details about the leaves' characteristics, brewing techniques and anything else you've always wanted to know about tea but never had the chance to ask.

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Sneaker Shop Skit Tokyo Kichijoji

Shopping Shoes Kichijoji

Rows of colourful, wrapped-up shoes line the walls at this Kichijoji store that offers an exhaustive range of sneakers from the likes of Adidas, Puma, Nike, Admiral, Reebok and Onitsuka Tiger. They deal in everything from the latest models to 'dead stock' while also carrying limited-edition versions – enough to pique the interest of even the most discerning sneakerhead. The store’s Twitter timeline is a must-check, with daily updates on new arrivals. Skit mainly stocks products on a pair-by-pair basis, so if you see something you like in your size, best make a quick decision.

Outbound

Shopping Kichijoji

Outbound is the sister store of popular lifestyle shop Roundabout in Yoyogi-Uehara, which showcases a beautiful selection of items collected from all around Japan. With gorgeous cloths, carved furniture, woven baskets and fine jewellery to explore, browsing through this ‘select shop’ is always a peaceful and soothing experience. Outbound also hosts exhibitions from time to time; check its website for updates.

To do

Inokashira Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Kichijoji

Located just 15 minutes from the centre of Tokyo, this Kichijoji park has more than enough to occupy you for an afternoon, including a zoo, a pond with quirky rental boats, and playground facilities to keep the little ones happy. The south side is home to the Studio Ghibli museum – a must-visit for anime fans – and at weekends the park comes alive with street traders, musicians and artists. In late March and early April it fills with people enjoying hanami (cherry-blossom viewing), and it’s worth making the trip to join them.

Uplink Kichijoji

Cinemas Independent Kichijoji

For some relaxing-yet-edifying downtime, head to the trendy Uplink theatre in the basement of Parco Kichijoji. It offers a range of documentaries, independent and art films. Spend some time exploring Uplink before your show, as the space also features an art gallery plus a gift shop with a range of film merchandise. The snacks here go beyond your standard popcorn and soda: settle in with craft beer and cola, house-made ginger ale, hot dogs, cookies and cakes. Check its website for the film schedule.

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Hiro Workshop

Things to do Classes and workshops Kichijoji

This small, charming Kichijoji workshop offers classes in making small leather goods and brass or silver jewellery to people of varying experience levels. There’s really no set formula here, and the friendly owner will help you craft anything you’re itching to make. If you’re just visiting, you can choose from the ready-made items or have the owner customise something for you on the spot. Cool brass bracelets perfect for stacking and layering are available, as well as a variety of rings, like one made from a brass nail.

Explore another 'hood

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One day in... Nakameguro

Things to do

A top cherry blossom viewing spot thanks to the sakura-lined Meguro River, this trendy neighbourhood rewards exploration at any time of year

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