Here is your dilemma: You have less than 24 hours to spend in Tokyo. With so many activities you are thinking of doing, you seem to be unable to narrow down your choices. At times like these, it is good to remember the famous saying, “Take the road less traveled.” With that said, you’ll be glad to know that Suginami Ward in Tokyo offers various activities that you can enjoy all in one day. If your time in the city is limited, here’s an itinerary that you can follow!
Japan is famous for anime so it is no wonder that they have a lot of museums dedicated to animation and its history. A lot of animation studios can be found in Suginami, earning the district the title, “Tokyo’s neighborhood of animation.”
The Suginami Animation Museum is definitely a must-visit even if you are not a fan of anime. The museum is tourist-friendly, with materials available in English. Admission is free and it is open every day except Monday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
A trip to Japan is not complete without visiting at least one shrine. Omiya Hachimangu is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Hachiman, the god (kami) of archery and war.
The shrine is also home to the Omiya Hachiman Festival which is held in mid-September. During this festival, parades, dances, and concerts are performed.
It was mentioned earlier that Suginami is considered as Tokyo’s neighborhood of animation. With that recognition, it is quite expected of them to have at least one anime-themed cafe in the area.
Many anime and manga drawings adorn the walls of Inazuma Cafe. You can even find autographs of famous animators and manga artists (mangaka).
Briefly enter the world of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro by visiting A-san no Niwa. This house was said to be the kind of house that Totoro would live in, hence it came to be known as “Totoro’s House.”
Stories say that when the original owners of the house moved out, the place was preserved, but a fire, unfortunately, damaged the property. When Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli’s founder, heard of this, he designed a park to replace the house.
Before you leave, do not forget to shop for souvenirs! Suginami is mainly a residential area so it is not hard to locate the shotengai or shopping district. Here, you can find traditional sweets shops, groceries, and food stalls owned by kind locals. You will definitely be able to find something here to bring back home!
And finally, to end the day, why don’t you treat yourself to some beer? CRAFT BEER MARKET (Koenji branch) boasts a permanent menu of 30 beers sourced locally and from abroad. Their menu is inspired by French cuisine and the house chefs can cook the food in front of you.
One-day itineraries like this are perfect for people who want to spend their limited time in a certain location efficiently. Suginami is one of the places in Tokyo where your time will definitely be well spent. I hope you get to enjoy the district even just for a day!