Best Places to Visit in Nakano – For All the Anime and Gaming Fans and More!

Nakano Per area

Do you know the city called Nakano? Only a short (5 min.) train-ride away from Shinjuku Station, Nakano is another otaku heaven for the anime and gaming fans. It is most famous for Nakano Broadway, a large shopping complex where many new and second-hand products related to anime, manga, video games and idols are sold. But Nakano also offers relaxing parks, historical temples and shrines and much more. Here we introduce 10 best places to visit in Nakano.

Nakano Broadway

Nakano Broadway, named after the famous road in New York City, is the most famous shopping complex in Nakano with many stores selling anime, manga, video games and idol related items. The complex opened in 1966 in the middle of high economic growth after World War II. But it was only after Mandarake, which specialises in manga and anime related goods, opened in 1980, that this shopping complex started transforming in the manga-anime center it is today. You will find many stores selling the craziest things, like ¥50,000 (!) ice wrappers, fake food erasers and other cosplay tools. Even if you are not a big anime or otaku fan, Nakano Broadway will be a fun experience and also great for shopping some unique, extraordinary souvenirs!

Nakano Broadway

Nakano Broadway also owns restaurants and cafes, drug stores, shops for shoes and clothes, and grocery stores. The road to Nakano Broadway begins right out of the north exit of Nakano station, leading through the 225 meter long Sunmall covered shopping arcade. Note that some shops are closed on Wednesdays.

Access

  • 5 minute walk from Nakano Station North Exit

Mandarake

In Nakano Broadway, you will find over 30 different Mandarake stores spread out over 4 floors. They sell new and second-hand manga books, figures, CDs, magazines and other goods related manga and anime. One of the Mandarake stores in Nakano Broadway, called Hennya on 4th floor is specialised in (very rare) toys from Showa era, some of which will set you back at more than ¥10,000. Several red torii gates and the glowing floor welcome you at Hennya. In other stores from Mandarake you can find difficult to find collectibles, your favourite cosplay costumes or other retro goodies for everyone to appreciate.

Mandarake
Daily opened
2pm – 8pm

Mandarake

Daily Chico

Located on B1 of Nakano Broadway, Daily Chico has been serving soft serve ice cream, called soft cream, since Nakano Broadway first opened in 1966. The most famous item on the menu is a large size soft cream (¥480, cone only) which has eight different flavours and is approximately 30 cm in height. Small size and middle size soft creams (cup and cone) are also available. In Dialy Chico, another popular item is the homemade udon noodles, which are probably the cheapest in Nakano. Udon noodles in Japanese broth is only ¥200, and you can choose tempura for only ¥50 or ¥100 as a topping.

12pm – 8pm

Picture from Daily Chico

Capsule toy Gacha Gacha

Do you know Gacha Gacha or Gachapon? These are the names for capsule toys bought from vending machines. The capsule toys were introduced to Japan from the U.S. in 1965, and became very popular in Japan in the 1970s. There is a wide variety or toys available such as small figures, erasers shaped in popular characters or cars, assembly toys, pins, and so on. The price for one capsule toy is usually between ¥100 to ¥300. 

Gachapon capsule toys

In Nakano Broadway there are several spots where you can enjoy Gacha Gacha owned by different shop and companies. The total number of Gacha Gacha machines in Nakano Broadway is over 1,000! There are wide selections of toys from high-quality Buddha figures to “secret toys for adults”. Don’t forget to bring (a lot of) 100-yen coins as bills cannot be used for Gachapon machines!

Nakano TRF

As soon as you get off the elevator at 4th floor of Nakano Broadway, you will find this game center which is specialised in fighting video games. Nakano TRF has been popular for foreigners as well as Japanese mostly in their 30s or 40s who have nostalgia for these kind of retro video game machines. Relive your favourite childhood gaming memories here! Most Japanese customers come here after work, so Nakano TRF opens in the afternoon/evening.

Gaming

7pm – 12am weekdays
2pm – 12am weekend

Nakano Sunplaza

Nakano Sunplaza, which is 5 minute walk from Nakano Station offers concert halls, wedding facilities, hotel rooms, a music studio, and restaurants. On the top floor (20F), there are two restaurants with great view; the French restaurant “121 Dining” and Japanese restaurant “Nakano”. Both of them serve lunch and dinner while you enjoy panoramic scenery. 

Nakano Sunplaza

Access

  • 5 minute walk from Nakano Station North Exit 

Shiki no Mori Park & Nakano Central Park

After all this anime, gaming, otaku culture experience, you probably are looking for something less crazy, serene and outside. Shiki no Mori Park is a nice, clean park near Nakano Station, perfect for taking a walk, having a rest, or grabbing some lunch. The area around the park is called Nakano Central Park, where many offices and university facilities are located. For this reason food trucks gather during lunch time to sell reasonable and delicious lunch. Nakano Central Park also offers various restaurants, clinics, pharmacy, and convenience store.  

When the warmer weather arrives, several events bring the park to life. You can visit farmers markets, or cool down next to the sprinklers.

Nakano Central Park

Access

  • 5 minute walk from Nakano Station North Exit
Picture: Nakano Central Park

Tetsugakudo Park

Tetsugakudo Park is a unique philosophy themed park founded in 1909 by the Japanese philosopher Inoue Enryo as a sanctuary for self cultivation. Inoue Enryo was one of the key figures and thriving forces behind Japans’ acceptance of the of Western philosophy during the Meiji Period. He is also the founder of the Tokyo University.

Tetsugakudo Park features architectures, pieces of stonework, pathways which were constructed based on the ideas of philosophy and Yokai. The Shiseido shrine was originally known as Tetsugakudo meaning House of Philosophy, hence the name of the park. The front gate of the park is called Tetsurimon and its pillars are home to two statues: a Tengu statue which represents the mystery of the material world, and in the left pillar is a statue of ghost which represents the mystery of the spiritual world. The park is also popular for ohanami (eating and drinking under cherry blossoms) and red leaves in autumn. 

Sakura shrine

Tetsugakudo Park
8am – 6pm daily
No admission fee

Access

  • 12 minute walk from Arai Yakushiji-mae Station
  • 30 minute walk from Nakano Station

Vowz bar – A bar run by Buddhist monks

A short walk from the station, you can find Vowz bar. A very cocktail bar that is owned by Mr. Shaku Genko, a Buddhist monk. All the bartenders at this unique bar are Buddhist monks and all their cocktails have Buddhist related names. If you would like to learn more about Buddhism, Japanese culture and history, the staff will happily enlighten you or you can read the free books that are there to be read. You might even learn some new valuable life lessons!

Vows bar izakaya run by buddhist monks

7pm – 3am Monday-Saturday
6.30pm – 12.30am Sunday

Access

  • 10 minute walk from Nakano Station
  • 8 minute walk from Arai Yakushi-mae Station

Numabukuro Hikawa Shrine

When you start walking north from Nakano station in the direction of Numabukuro station, you will find come across several smaller shrines and temples. For example Numabukuro Hikawa Shrine that is known for a place with spiritual energy and good luck. This shrine is well known for several things: There used to be an old Japanese cedar tree on the shrine ground which had a connection with Ota Dokan, a strong warrior known for building the Edo Castle. The tree is no longer there, but many people come to the place where the cedar three used to be to wish for victories. Also on the shrine grounds there are three Japanese pine trees which are said to grand your wishes. Another feature are rocks which were used to show and compare people’s strength at festivals in the old days. The dog statue is said to bring safe delivery of a child. And lastly, in a corner of the shrine ground there are seven gods of fortune in Japanese mythology. It is the only place in Nakano where all seven of them are in the same place, so some people travel quite a distance to see and pray for these seven gods of fortune. Throughout the year, Numabukuro Hikawa Shrine hosts many events and festivals. 

Access

  • 3 minute walk from Numabukuro Station

What are your thoughts on Nakano? It is an interesting city where the craziness of the otaku culture and beautiful Japanese traditions mingle. This interesting mix of old and modern times, make for a great day. Head north east for the old-school izakaya, or north west for the more modern side of the city. It is conveniently located, only 5 minutes from Shinjuku by JR Chuo Line, so why don’t you pay a visit and explore this unique city? 

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Happy travelling!


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Comments

  1. yuni says:

    Japan is my travel dream. want to see Sakura season. But thank you for the information, its useful information for me.

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