Drinks about ¥300 and up, food varies, *Some places may have a ¥300 table charge
- 2 & 3 Chome Koenjikita, Suginami, Tokyo (Just North of Koenji Station and to the left)
- Distance from Station:
- 3 minutes on foot from JR Koenji Station, North Exit
- https://koushindoori.com/ (external link)
- Many places have English menus, some staff may speak English
KOSHIN DORI STREET
Traditional Shotengai for Sweets, Eats and Local Life
[published October 2020]
Koshin dori is one of the many shotengai or shopping streets in Koenji. Shotengai are where the locals go for basic needs as well as great restaurants, shopping, music and art venues. It’s a great place to see how Japanese people really live in Tokyo.
Starting from the entrance underneath the train tracks from Koenji Street you’ll find Toritsukare Otoko, a tachinomiya or standing bar that serves up Spanish tapas and holds other cooking events where people spill out into the street. On the left you’ll find SUB Store, an Indonesian-owned used book and record shop that features live music and DJ performances along with a bar and cafe. Traveling up the road you hit Central Road, keep going straight and on the right sits Tensuke, an extremely popular tempura restaurant. The line is worth the wait.
Next on the right is a lively food-court-like experience called Daiichi Ichiba Market. Just look for the yellow building across from U-Takaraya grocery store. Inside it’s a bit like south-east Asia with food stalls serving up Japanese, western, and Asian cheap eats and drinks. As you continue up the road, foodie heaven continues with a few places that offer limited outdoor seating. El Pato (American cuisine), Bu-an (slightly upscale Italian food and wine) and Del Sol (Italian), but first stop in for some souvenirs at Chadokoro Tsukiji for tea or maybe some Japanese toys and collectibles at Star Case and Ichiban Boshi.
Don’t stop now! Further up the road there are some sweet treats at Floresta Donuts and Honeybee Crepes, a bookstore/gallery called Tata, Uptown Record shop, Sankakuyama bookstore/zaka shop for more souvenirs.
At the very end of the street is the best place to sample some cheap Japanese soul food. Stands serve takoyaki, Japanese curry, okonomiyaki and gyoza.
If you want to take it slow and soak up local life and cuisine, Koshin Dori Street has enough to fill the day and night. Have fun exploring and make sure to venture off the side avenues and upper floors to find some hidden treasures.
Guidance and accommodation: Koenji is fairly used to seeing foreign visitors, some shop staff speak English and have English menus. There are many hotels, hostels, and AirBNB locations in the area. (check our Koenji accommodation page here). Please take note that many places may be too small to handle larger groups and on weekends it’s recommended to make reservations at some popular restaurants (like Bu-an or El Pato).
When to go:
Most days from lunch time onward have enough to see and do. Some places close at 10pm and others late night. Many places are closed on Mondays.
Koenji Fest– Usually held the end of October. A celebration of Koenji, with wrestling matches, street performers, and Yura-chara land, a celebration of local promotional mascots. A must-see!
Koenji Street Performers Festival (Koenji Bikkuri Daidogei)- usually held every April. The weird and the wonderful gather for this non-traditional street performer festival.
Location: As you exit Koenji Station, head east under the tracks (Koenji Street). Turn right at Shimonya izakaya to head north out from under tracks to find the beginning of Koshin Dori Street. You should see SUB Store on your right and Toritukare Otoko on your left.
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