50 Things to Do in Kichijoji, Tokyo’s Hip and Arty Neighbourhood, in 2020

  • Kichijoji is located in the west of Tokyo and is viewed as one of the trendiest parts of the capital. Most famed for its expansive Inokashira Park, the town is also an artist’s wonderland with unique arts and crafts available on every street corner. Much quieter than central Tokyo, Kichijoji is just a 15-minute train ride away from both Shibuya and Shinjuku, giving you direct access to a whole new side of Tokyo. While home to the renowned Inokashira Park and Ghibli Museum, there are plenty of other things off the beaten track to discover in this quirky district, so take a look at these must-dos!

    For more things to do in other areas, check this list out!
    Would you like to stay in Kichijoji? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

    1. Homemade Traditional Japanese Sweets and Matcha Tea


    Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets that can come in many forms but are most commonly made from mochi (餅; a sweet soft rice cake) and anko (餡子; azuki bean paste). Very different to western sweets, wagashi are surprisingly delicious and a new experience for your taste buds.

    Have a go at making your own in a local’s house for an immersive experience. Once your sweets are all ready to eat, slip next door to a traditional tea room. Tea rooms are special square rooms designed specifically for tea ceremonies. Watch the preparation of matcha green tea before being served up a nice warm cup of it for the perfect accompaniment to your wagashi.

    Booking details: Try Wagashi (Japanese confectionery) making & Matcha, Tokyo

    2. Detox in a Black Hot Spring

    Woman enjoy hot springs in Japanese onsen

    There are relaxing hot baths all over Japan but if you want to get the healing qualities to go with it, you’ll need to visit a natural hot spring – an onsen. With just a few natural hot water onsen in Tokyo, it can be hard to search out the ones that use naturally mineral-rich water. Not in Kichijoji itself, but nearby there is a black water onsen that contains minerals said to give your body a good detox, leaving your skin and your mind nice and fresh.

    It’s good to fill up on a nice healthy Japanese meal after chilling out in this retro onsen to finish off your relaxing day. Little tip – Remember to take your jewelry off before getting in the baths and don’t put your head under water!

    Booking details: Go to a Popular Hot Spring near Studio Ghibli Museum, Tokyo

    3. Try Your Hand at Japanese Flower Arranging


    Traditional Japanese flower arranging, known as ikebana in Japanese, has been around since the 7th century. Ikebana isn’t just about throwing some flowers into a vase, it’s seen as an art form and spiritual practice that focuses on reflecting the balance between humanity and nature.

    Visit an old Japanese house to learn more about the history and techniques of ikebana before being guided through the process of creating your own perfect arrangement.

    Booking details: Experience Ikebana in Tokyo!

    4. Wander Little Streets Like a Local

    Small alley located Kichijoji in Tokyo Japan.

    Located a little outside of Tokyo, Kichijoji’s main draw for tourists and Tokyoites is its beautiful Inokashira Park. However, wander the little back streets away from the park and you’ll find yourself mingling with the locals. These streets are full of cute cafes, hipster shops, and even hidden little temples.

    Booking details: Pop Round & Check Out the Best “Blind Alley” of Tokyo!

    5. Dress Up and Dance Like a Samurai

    Samurai Kichi

    Typically the samurai would perform a dance before going into battle. In Kichijoji, you can have the chance to watch a performance of the traditional samurai dance which involves moving around stealthily with a sword. After getting an insight in the style, you can then dress up and learn some samurai moves yourself!

    Booking details: 10% OFF Dress up like a samurai & enjoy samurai dance, Tokyo

    6. Join in a Homestyle Cooking Class

    Kichijoji Cooking

    Let’s not lie, one of the main things that has brought us to Japan is the irresistible food. While you’re here, you want to make the most of all the Japanese cuisine that just isn’t the same back home. Exploring all the restaurants will, of course, keep your bellies full and happy for most of your stay but how about learning a bit of Japanese cooking yourself?

    A three-hour cooking class in Kichijoji will teach you some of the best home-cooked dishes. Have a go at whipping up some sushi rolls, tempura, okonomiyaki (Japanese omelette), miso soup and teriyaki chicken.

    Booking details: Experience Japanese home style cooking class in Kichijoji

    7. Learn Furoshiki Wrapping

    green tea and Furoshiki packed present

    I’m sure you’re all familiar with origami which is the artistic folding of paper into 3D objects. Now, imagine the beautiful folding of fabric and you’ve got yourself furoshiki wrapping. Furoshiki is a square piece of cloth often finished off with a beautiful Japanese design. Furoshiki cloth can be used to wrap up all sorts of objects, from books, tissues and bottles of wine.

    Learn how to wrap things in this unique and beautiful way. This is the perfect (environmentally-friendly) way of wrapping the gifts you take home.

    Booking details: 25% OFF Join a furoshiki wrapping workshop

    8. Visit Inokashira Park

    This hundred-year-old-park is one of the main attractions of Kichijoji and very popular as a “hanami” (cherry blossom viewing) spot. The river of the same name used to be the local area’ main water supply until a better system was put in place in 1898.

    This lovely green area is the perfect place for a picnic, a stroll, or to simply relax after a day of shopping.


    9. Go Shopping in Kichijoji Station

    If you’re looking for great shopping without the crowds of Harajuku and Shibuya, you don’t even have to leave the station! Kichijoji is home to a variety of shops and department stores, so if you’re there for the shopping, you may not have to go very far at all right after you arrive.


    10. Visit Kosen-ji Temple

    光専寺 #光専寺 #御朱印 #御朱印集め #お寺 #吉祥寺

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    This underrated temple is a serene slice of peace amidst the shopping frenzy. Snap some pictures of this relatively little-visited place with its immaculate architecture.


    11. Enjoy Jazz Music at Sometime

    If you’re a fan of live jazz, Sometime is unmissable for visitors to Kichijoji. This piano bar pulls in a crowd every night of the week with live performances and great food. Be sure to check it out if you’re in Kichijoji for the evening.

    Sometime website

    12. Visit the Local Cat Cafe

    Famous cat cafes in districts such as Akihabara and Shinjuku tend to get crowded really quickly, but there are also several cat cafes in Kichijoji! Pet cats and drink coffee at Calico Cat Cafe, or Temari no Ouchi, heaven for feline lovers!

    Carico Cat Cafe website *Japanese only

    13. Check Out Harmonica Yokocho

    Kichijoji’s Yokocho is a group of alleys overflowing with bars and small shops, and a great place to explore in the evening. It’s not only home to restaurants and bars, but also souvenir shops, salons, and even fortune tellers! If you have time, spend it walking around this interesting alley at night and see what adventures you come across.

    Harmonica Yokocho website *Japanese only

    14. Eat 500 Yen Pizza at Garage 50

    This cool shop is built in a garage style with a Volkswagen bus in the front that is basically the kitchen. More of a stand than a shop, it also offers take-away pizzas. All of their freshly-baked pizzas are just 500 yen, and as the restaurant is family-run, it’s pretty friendly and quirky! If you’re in the mood for pizza, definitely check this store out.

    Garage 50 Tabelog page

    15. See the Animals at Inokashira Zoo

    Most people think of Ueno when it comes to zoos in Tokyo, but there is also a small place to see animals in Kichijoji! It’s slightly different from a regular zoo because it mostly exhibits local wildlife and tropical birds, not larger and more exotic animals. It’s more like a petting zoo, where you can also hold guinea pigs and rabbits. Nearby, there is also a sculpture museum, a small library, and a botanical garden.

    Inokashira Zoo website

    16. Check Out Sunroad Shopping Street

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    Sunroad is a shopping street and arcade, perfect for families and those looking to do some souvenir shopping. It’s also good on a rainy day as most of the street is under a roof. In addition to shops, it has cafes, restaurants and even clinics!

    Sunroad website *Japanese only

    17. Relax at Media Cafe Popeye

    Ever heard of Japanese manga cafes? If you find that you’d like to relax without leaving Kichijoji, bad weather spoils your plans, or you missed the last train, a manga cafe, also sometimes called an internet cafe, is a perfect place to sit, use the internet, read, and enjoy a beverage. Media Cafe Popeye is one of those cafes, offering private booths and shared areas for you to use the internet and take a time out. It’s open 24 hours a day.

    Media Cafe Popeye website *Japanese only

    18. Visit Gesso-ji Temple

    Bon odori at Gesso-ji Temple #gessoji #temple #bonodori #bondance #tokyo #japan

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    This small temple was founded in 1663 and is located right next to Sunroad. It’s a great place to find a little tranquility among the crowd. It gets really beautiful in the springtime with the blooming cherry blossoms and there are also gravestones and statues to see along the road leading to this holy building. The bon odori, or dancing festival, also takes place here every summer.

    Gesso-ji Temple website *Japanese only

    19. Drink Delicious Local Beer at Craft Beer Market

    Those looking to relax with some local craft beer are in luck! At Craft Beer Market, you can try beer from a menu that is always changing, as well as some tasty food items such as dumplings, mabo-dofu, sausages, and chicken. This hip bar has an informal and friendly vibe, so be sure to make a stop here.

    Craft Beer Market website *Japanese only

    20. Browse Guitars at Sound Crew

    Are you a guitarist or interested in learning to play a musical instrument? Sound Crew in Kichijoji has an impressive collection of guitars, keyboards, saxophones, and music CDs, every musician’s dream! It might even be a good place to grab a few music-related accessories as souvenirs.

    Sound Crew website *Japanese only

    21. See the Bridge That Inspired “Spirited Away”

    If you’ve seen Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, you may remember that Chihiro crosses a river to reach the spirit world. The river and bridge that inspired this magic moment of the movie are said to be here in Kichijoji, so be sure to check it out while you are in Inokashira Park.

    Inokashira Park website *Japanese only

    22. Shop for Gadgets

    #ヨドバシカメラ #ヨドバシカメラ博多

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    Tokyo is known for its futuristic gadgets, and Kichijoji is no exception when it comes to great stores to check out computer accessories, household items, video games, and more. Be sure to visit the area’s Yodobashi Camera and Yamada Denki, both of which have a good selection of electronic goods that’ll keep gadget lovers entertained!

    23. Visit the Studio Ghibli Museum

    Fans of Studio Ghibli can’t miss this! Just past Inokashira Park is the Studio Ghibli Museum where you can see models from the movies, browse for merchandise, and eat themed food. The museum is small, but lovely. One thing you need be aware of – tickets must be bought months in advance as the museum is insanely popular.

    Studio Ghibli website

    24. Go Souvenir Shopping

    Grabbing souvenirs is an important part of your trip, and Kichijoji has a lot of cool souvenirs that you’ll love. They can be found in shopping streets such as Sunroad and the small streets leading to Inokashira park. Yuzawaya Department Store also has a good selection of souvenirs.

    25. Catch a Movie

    It’s easy enough to see a movie in Japan if you don’t speak Japanese. As long as the movie was originally in English, just ask for a projection with “jimaku” (subtitles).

    Catching a movie is a great idea if your plans were spoiled by rain or you’d like to sit down and relax for a while. Going to the cinema in Japan is quite exciting because, you can buy beer, chicken, and even curry to eat while you watch the film. In Kichijoji, there are several cinemas including Kichijoji Toa Kogyo, Baus Theater, and the Kichijoji Plaza.

    26. Visit the Locations of the Seven Lucky Gods

    If you’re a temple and shrine enthusiast, then why not visit the six temples and seven shrines around Kichijoji to pray for good luck to each of the gods? You can take your own personal board with you to collect a stamp at every stop and see some beautiful Japanese architecture. Check out the link below for an itinerary!

    The Seven Lucky Gods Tour

    27. Sing Karaoke

    Ever wanted to try karaoke, one of Japan’s most loved pastimes? In karaoke booths, you can rent a room just for yourself and your group, and there are plenty of songs to try including Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese. There are also songs in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and other languages.

    Be sure to try it while you’re in Japan! Karaoke is cheapest during daytime, but there are also sets that include alcoholic drinks if you want to make a night of it. Karaoke buildings in Kichijoji include Karaoke Ban Ban, Big Echo, and Karaoke Room Uta Hiroba.

    28. Visit the Kichijoji Art Museum

    For a pleasant look at art in a gallery, visit the Kichijoji Art Museum. Here, you’ll see photographs and paintings collected from various artists and interesting sculptures, and there are interactive activities available, too, such as workshops. This is perfect if you’re in the mood for a quiet walk around a gallery admiring beautiful artworks.

    Kichijoji Art Museum website *Japanese only

    29. Visit the Gran Bagus Cyber Cafe

    Considered to be one of the best internet cafes in Tokyo, Gran Bagus Cyber Cafe does not only offer internet usage and manga comics, but also party rooms, luxury karaoke, darts, billiards, and simulation golf! You can have fun for hours in this place!

    Gran Bagus Cyber Cafe website *Japanese only

    30. Shop Until You Drop at Parco Department Store

    Gadgets and souvenirs are good, but is there anywhere in Kichijoji to get clothes and shoes? The answer is yes! This great district is home to some department stores, including shops mentioned earlier in Kichijoji Station and additional ones such as Parco. Shopaholics will never get bored in Kichijoji, a great place to shop without the crowds of central Tokyo.

    Parco website

    31. Visit Renjo-ji Temple

    This small yet charming temple is a great place to reflect away from the busy streets. There are several events throughout the year which take place here, including very good new year celebrations. You can walk the grounds here and admire the various Buddhist statues and traditional architecture.


    32. Buy a Cheese Tart from Cheese Craft Works Kichijoji

    If you fancy a snack or a treat, why not try amazing cheese tarts at this popular shack? People flock here to try the amazingly fresh, tasty, and creamy cheese tarts on offer here.

    Website *Japanese only

    33. Enjoy Authentic Thai Dishes at Pepa Cafe

    This cafe is actually a restaurant too. Located ideally in the middle of the gorgeous Inokashira Park and surrounded by lake views, you can come here (don’t be put off by the line of people at peak times. It moves quickly and is worth the wait!) and savor Pad Thai, seafood, and wonderful South-Asian-style coffee. The lunchtime set deals are particularly good value.


    34. Find Bargain Books at Book Off

    Book Off is an institution in Japan. They have branches everywhere, and this branch in Kichijoji is less crowded than the ones in central Tokyo, and houses a great selection of English books at discount price. Alongside these, you can find DVD’s, comics, CD’s, video games, and other random gadgets from time to time!


    35. Eat Italiano at Cafe Rigoletto

    This Italian restaurant is very authentic and popular for its generous portions and great pizza. If you want a bargain, try and get there for their lunch time sets which are a brilliant price and high-quality dishes. There is also a very tempting wine selection!

    Website *Japanese only

    36. Find International Products at This Huge Kaldi Store

    Kaldi Coffee Farm has many stores in Japan. However, this one in the basement of the Coppice department store in Kichijoji is massive. It covers most of the basement floor and has a very impressive selection of international products from the U.S, South America, Europe, Africa, and other areas of Asia. If you have been looking for a particular international product but can’t seem to find it, I would highly recommend giving this store a try!

    Website *Japanese only

    37. Get a Strike at Tokyo Bowling Center

    Located within the Dai-ichi Hotel close to Kichijoji Station, this modern and fun bowling center has 18 lanes, a snack bar, and friendly staff to assist you. On a rainy day, why not escape the rain and have some bowling fun with friends?

    Dai-ichi Hotel Website

    38. Enjoy Crepes at Cafe Du Lievre

    This hidden gem is a crepe cafe nestled within Inokashira Park. It looks like a greenhouse from the outside, but inside is a cute and cozy cafe, serving sweet crepes and filled galettes. This place is not to be missed if you are in the mood for a totally relaxing and indulgent brunch or lunch!

    Website *Japanese only

    39. Try Award-winning Beef at Steak House Satou

    If you are in the main shopping area in Kichijoji, you will likely notice a long line of people waiting at this famed steak house. People will wait for a long time to get their hands on the famous ‘menchi katsu’, deep-fried meat and potato patties. The place also has an upstairs steak restaurant where you can dine on wagyu beef for a very reasonable price!

    Website *Japanese only

    40. Ride Swan Boats on Inokashira Pond

    On a sunny day, a perfect thing to do is head over to Inokashira Park and take a ride on the large pond in a swan boat! You can rent them out, which is easy to do at a ticket machine, and pedal yourself around the lake where you can people-watch or just admire the wonderful surroundings!

    Website *Automatic Translation available

    41. Browse Art at the Niji Gallery

    The modern and trendy Niji Gallery features fascinating exhibitions from young local artists. It is spacious, and also has an impressive array of gifts and unique crafts to browse.

    Website *Japanese only

    42. Meet Feline Friends at Cat Cafe Temari No Ouchi

    There are many cat cafe’s in Tokyo, but this one is particularly charming. The interiors are magical, complete tunnels and places for cats to play and run. You can sit and pet the cats, or pay a little extra to feed them treats.

    Website *Japanese only

    43. Find Gifts at Tokotoko General Store

    This wonderful store is part of the Cat Cafe (mentioned above), and has a fascinating collection of unique gifts and souvenir ideas. You can find very cute cards, craft items, and toys here, and the staff are friendly and welcoming.

    Website *Japanese only

    44. Workout and Swim at Megalos

    This one is probably more convenient for locals, but sometimes even visitors want to get some exercise in. This fitness center is very well maintained with excellent facilities. It has a decent-sized swimming pool, a sauna, good workout facilities, and a personal training service. This is the place to be if you want to have a decent workout in a very clean, relaxing environment.

    Website *Japanese only

    45. Enjoy Food and Drinks at Rooftop Butcher Chicago

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    This charming bar and restaurant is located just a couple of minutes’ walk from Kichijoji Station (Park Exit), and promises great food and a wide variety of drinks. In the summer and warmer months, you can enjoy their outside terrace area and loom down at the busy streets below.


    46. Wake Up with Light Up Coffee

    Light Up Coffee is a popular tiny and cute coffee store which serves freshly brewed coffee, and also stocks coffee beans and equipment for making your own coffee at home. The coffee-crazy owners are friendly and informative and hold various workshops and events throughout the year!

    Website *Japanese only

    47. Enjoy a Spooky Night at Yurei

    This fantastic spooky-themed izakaya is complete with even their staff in scary costumes, darkly lit rooms, scary dishes such as ‘Eyeball soup’, and scary stories being told throughout the night. Definitely an unusual night out.

    Website *Japanese only

    48. Enjoy Coffee and Park Views at Blue Sky Coffee

    Blue Sky Coffee is an absolute hidden gem. It is a small coffee stand which sits in Inokashira Park and serves great cups of coffee, cocoa, tea, and cappuccino for very affordable prices. It is the ideal place to grab a coffee and enjoy the beauty of the park and pond.


    49. Find Unique Stationery at 36 Sublo

    Illustrators and writers will absolutely love this funky stationery shop. Here you can find original and unique stationery items such as paper, stamps, and cards.

    Website *Japanese only

    50. Be in Vegan Heaven at the Deva Deva Cafe

    Calling all vegans! This cafe serves vegan delights, which be hard to find in Tokyo. You can enjoy perfectly prepared burgers, pizzas, curry rice, salads, juices, and sweets. The interiors are lovely and staff are welcoming and friendly. Make sure to check working hours as they are not long, and maybe prepare for a line at the door.


    This little trip out of central Tokyo is sure to provide you with an enriching local experience that will leave you feeling like you’ve seen another side of Tokyo. As well as seeing the popular sights, come away feeling like you know that little bit more about Japan and its fascinating culture!

    For more things to do in other areas, check this list out!
    Would you like to stay in Kichijoji? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

    *Featured Image from AC photo
    : AC photo/

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