Suginami Ward is located in the west part of Tokyo, which is adjacent to the popular tourist spot, Shibuya area. Suginami is rich with hidden gems and naturally one of the popular places to live in Tokyo for its comfortable neighborhood and unique environment. From shopping districts to drinking districts, and from anime culture to historical sites, Suginami has developed one of a kind culture on each spot. In this article, we will introduce the best places to visit in Suginami!
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Koenji has such a diverse culture. You can spend a whole day at Koenji ― bar hopping, vintage clothes shopping, theatre and parks.
If you want to go on thrift shopping in Koenji, used clothing stores are mainly located in the south side of the station such as ‘Koenji Pal Shopping Street’, ‘Look Shopping Street’ and ‘Etoile Shopping Street’. You will find a variety of vintage clothing stores, and you will also find some accessories, shoes and bags at an affordable price.
For bar hopping, visit ‘Koenji Junjo Shopping Street’ and ‘Koenji Street’. And only a minute walk from the station, there is a backstreet ‘Daiichi Ichiba’, where you can enjoy the international cuisine such as Vietnamese, Mediterranean and so on. You will find more local Izakaya and restaurants in the north side of Koenji.
Awaodori, Awa dance is a traditional dance in Tokushima. Every year in August, a big Awa dance festival is held in Koenji. About 10,000 Awa dancers participate in the festival and 1 million people visit Koenji during the festival. It started in 1957 and since then it has become one of the biggest events in Tokyo. Full of sounds of cheerful chanting on the streets will beat the summer heat and make everyone happy!
Koenji Awa Odori Festival and Related Events
Koenji Engei Festival
Engei means Japanese traditional entertainment including Rakugo (comedic storytelling), Manzai (stand-up comedy), and Daikagura (traditional performance including juggling and dancing) etc.
During Koenji Engei Festival, Engei will be performed at some random places in Koenji, such as temples, public bathhouses, cafes, izakaya and kindergartens! This is also a great opportunity for people who are not familiar with Engei to enjoy their performances.
This festival will be held every year in the middle of February for 10 days.
If you want to get into a deeper side of Tokyo, Asagaya will make your dream come true. There are not many popular and eye catching attractions unlike Shibuya Crossing in Shibuya, but it attracts many musicians and writers to this area. Asagaya is a city of music and books.
For bar hopping, visit ‘Asagaya Star Road’ near the north exit. It is known as a good drinking area among local Tokyoites with about 150 Izakaya, restaurants and shops. Grab a bite for yakitori, oden and ramen with cold beers and sake. And for a change, visit a wine bar or pub. You will not be bothered by not knowing where to go, because there are tons of good options!
Mabashi Inari Shrine
When you look at the stone torii gate at the shrine, you will see two dragons engraved on both sides. On the left, you can see a rising dragon and on the right, a descending dragon. It is believed that if you touch the rising dragon on the left, the dragon will grant your wish. When you walk toward the main shrine, there is a big bell at Zuishinmon Gate. It’s also a good luck spot. Clap your hand under the gate, and if the sound is resonant with the bell, it is said your dream will come true.
Asagaya Tanabata Festival
‘Asagaya Pearl Center Shopping Street’ is a 700 meters long shopping street with roof covered. It has hosted ‘Asagaya Tanabata Festival’ in summer since 1954.
What makes it special about the festival is their colorful and unique paper decorations. These are not necessarily related to Tanabata, and you might find some big decorations which look like popular anime characters and celebrities. Every year, many visitors come to the festival looking forward to finding out what kind of decorations they can see!
Asagaya Jazz Streets
In autumn, ‘Asagaya Jazz Streets’ is held which started in 1995. You can enjoy jazz performances everywhere in Asagaya during the festival, such as around the station, shrine, church, cafe, restaurant etc. This festival is hosted by volunteers who love jazz music and the area. About 60,000 visitors come to Asagaya Jazz Street and about 1,200 musicians perform for 2 days. Admission tickets will be required for certain stage performances but you can enjoy jazz parades and live music on the street for free!
Ogikubo is a town of history and culture. It used to be a popular holiday village and you can still see that from some remains of the historical sites. Many cultural figures used to live in the area during the Taisho (1912-1926) and the early Showa (1926-1989) period.
Otaguro Park is a quiet Japanese garden. It was built after the house of the music critic Motoo Otaguro, who introduced Debussy and Stravinsky for the first time to Japan. His old workplace is now partly opened to the public as a memorial museum of his work. Steinway piano and a phonograph are displayed in the room.
Otaguro Park is a popular spot for the beautiful autumn colors. Trees are lit up in the evening and many people visit there to get a glimpse of autumn foliage.
Dokusho no Mori Park
Dokusho no Mori Park is the park which is adjacent to the library. The park name literally means ‘Forest Park of Reading’, and you can read the library books at the park. If you feel like reading outside, visit this unique park!
TOKYO POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY SUGINAMI ANIMATION MUSEUM
Another attraction in Ogikubo is TOKYO POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY SUGINAMI ANIMATION MUSEUM. From the history to the future of Japanese animation, you can learn everything about the animation through the exhibition here! Also, you can get some anime making experience and workshops such as dubbing experience and editing experience with a computer. Surprisingly, even with this great content, it’s free of charge.
Nishi-Ogikubo is full of antique and books. Every year in spring and autumn, ‘Nishi-Ogikubo Antique Festival’ is held. In the antique district, there are about 50 antique shops for your treasure hunting! There are also many used book stores in the area. Nishi-Ogikubo is an attractive town where you can find many small businesses. Japan is very famous for its unique cafes, and you can find some cute, comfortable and photogenic cafes in this area too. You will never get tired of the area since there are so many cool small shops to be found!
Zenpukuji Park is a quiet park, which is a perfect park to avoid the crowd and enjoy a relaxing walk in Tokyo. Zenpukuji Pond takes up half of the park, and it is a popular spot to enjoy birdwatching. You can enjoy taking a small boat on the weekends and holidays.
Monitor Tour Opportunity 2021
Awa Odori Experience at Koenji
We will host a monitor tour where you can watch Awa Odori live performance, enjoy dancing experience and explore the Koenji area with a guide. We are looking for people who can join this tour (for free), and give us some feedback afterwards to improve the tour.
Date & Time:
- July 24th (Sat.) 9:30am -12:30pm / 12:30pm – 3:30pm
- September 18th (Sat.) 9:30am – 12:30 pm
- October 16th (Sat.) 9:30am -12:30pm / 12:30pm – 3:30pm
- December 18th (Sat.)9:30am -12:30pm / 12:30pm – 3:30pm
*Time is subject to change
Please fill out this google form to apply for this opportunity!
▶Apply for Koenji Awa Odori Monitor Tour
Anime Tour (coming soon…)
From the latest event information to the best places to visit, if you want to get more information for Suginami, you can visit EXPERIENCE SUGINAMI TOKYO.
Which place in Suginami is the most interesting to you? Suginami might not be your first priority when you choose the places to visit in Tokyo for the first time, but think about it; you can get an authentic experience which hasn’t been too touristy in this area.