Drinks about ¥400 - ¥700, food varies, *Some places may have a ¥300 or so table charge
- 1 Chome-4 & 1 Chome-5 Kamigoi, Suginami, Tokyo
- Distance from Station:
- 1 minute from JR and Tokyo Metro Ogikubo Station, North Exit Right
- Many places have English menus, some staff may speak English
OGIKUBO GINZA STREET
The “Ginza” of Tokyo’s West Side?
Of course it’s not like the ritzy Ginza area that Tokyo is famous for, but Ogikubo Ginza has a unique vibe with treasures its own. If Koenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo, and Nishi-Ogikubo were all siblings, then it could be said that the town of Ogikubo would be the mature brother of the bunch–a mature brother with lots of responsibility during the day but an appetite for good food and late nights.
Ogikubo, known as a hub of “salarymen” within Suginami Ward and as the historical ramen town, offers visitors a quieter and more sophisticated atmosphere compared to that of Asagaya or Koenji, but nevertheless, fun nights with a wide variety of food alternatives and more than enough bars and izakaya to keep your thirst for alcohol in check.
What’s around: Ogikubo’s nightlife area is best found here in the hidden alleyways of the town, a small yet charming shotengai where mostly locals hang out well into the night. This shotengai’s charm is courtesy of its narrow streets, lit-up restaurants signs, and more importantly, the high quality of food found while strolling its two blocks. On the south entrance of the Ginza Street you’ll be greeted by The Juicy Dumpling and treated to some of the best gyoza in Tokyo. On the opposing north entrance, a juicy burger awaits at the Village Vanguard Diner, for those looking to take a break from the Japanese taste. An Izakaya called Iriguchi offers high-quality Japanese sake, while a couple of shops down the alleyway, Turquoise Craft Beer Stand will have you tasting very refreshing craft beer joined by the younger crowd of the town. Stop by Torimoto for the best yakitori in town and be amused by the owner’s unique personality. There’s a lot more on offer, and if you want to save some time and have some knowledge of the Japanese language or have a Japanese friend or guide with you, then check out the wooden map on the wall as soon as you cross the south gate of the alleyway, and plan out your bar-hopping night.
When to go: Although the bar and izakaya scene is best at night, since Ogikubo is a ramen town you can find you can find great ramen at Juhachi-ban, or other Japanese food anytime. For those that happened to arrive early to Ogikubo Ginza Street, we also recommend making a shopping stop at Gekkosha Records to pick up a classical vinyl and chat with the friendly owner who’s been around this area for quite some time now. And while doing the vintage thing, why not checkout the water pump located in the middle of this bar district, which according to the neighbours, is one of only three old water pumps still remaining in use in Ogikubo.
Location: To reach Ogikubo, hop on the JR Chuo Line and get off at JR Ogikubo Station. Conveniently enough, this station is also serviced by the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, which makes Ogikubo Station the only station in Suginami serviced both by a JR and a Metro Line. Once at Ogikubo Station, head out the north exit and from there a short eastbound walk parallel to the train tracks will get you in no time to the Ginza Street (in your left) and to a memorable night of delicious food, enjoyable drinks, and conversation with the locals.
Accommodation: If your night runs longer than expected and you ended up missing the last train back home, let your worries aside. As a solo male traveler, head to the Anshin Oyado Capsule Hotel & Bar to round off the night while enjoying a unique capsule and public bath experience. For females or groups, head to comfort at the nearby Club Inn.
[published June 2018]