Given the task of designing the ideal middle-class town in Tokyo, one would probably come up with something close to Kichijoji. It has a very suburban and relaxing atmosphere, yet is just a 12-minute ride from Shinjuku Station—something which has meant that it consistently ranks in the top three most desirable places to live in Tokyo (and house prices are accordingly expensive).
How to Get There?
The west bound Chuo Line (Rapid) from Shinjuku gets you to Kichijoji in under 15 minutes. The Chuo Line has no less than seven different types of trains (Rapid, Commuter Rapid, Special Rapid, etc.) which stop (or don’t stop) at different stations. The Chuo Special Rapid and Commuter Special Rapid do not stop at Kichijoji so take care which train you board. If unsure ask one of the station attendants.
Harmonica Yokocho actually started out as a black market in the post-war years but has since transformed into a small network of about 100 bars and restaurants (the name comes from the fact that the narrow entrances to the yokocho look like the holes in a harmonica from the main street). An ideal place for a drink if you are visiting in the evening.
Directions. A 1-minute walk from Kichijoji Station (turn left from the North Exit). Turn left out of the ticket gates and Harmonic Yokocho will be a short walk down the road on the right. Google Maps
Inokashira Park opened to the public in 1917 and is today one of Tokyo’s most spacious parks. It contains a large pond, a plum garden, and a wooded area filled with hornbeam and oak trees. The park is also a well-known spot for viewing the cherry blossoms.
Directions. A 5-minute walk from Kichijoji Station (Park Exit). Google Maps
Ghibli is to Japan was Disney is the much of the Western world. The museum—designed by Studio Ghibli’s director, Hayao Miyazaki—is located in Inokashira Park and is a major attraction for both Japanese and visitors from abroad. See here for more details.