As the weather was good today, I decided to travel out of Tokyo’s 23 wards and take a walk around the Kichijoji area.
Travellers departing from Tokyo Station can take the Chuo Line Rapid for Takao; it takes only 30 minutes going from Tokyo to Kichijoji! Since I started my journey quite late, it was almost at noon when I arrived at Kichijoji Station, so I thought it would be better to have lunch near the station before having a look around.
There is a shopping street called “Sun Road” near the North exit of Kichijoji Station, and you can find almost everything you need there. If you want to have a Japanese lunch, you can find Japanese set meals, skewers, Udon noodles, fried food, etc. In my case, I tried the crispy shrimp udon noodle in a udon store near the shopping street, and although the crispy shrimps were a little bit small, the noodles tasted great and al dente.
In addition to restaurants, there are also book stores, fancy living wares, Japanese porcelain bowls and cups, 100 yen stores, and so on in Sun Road. There are also lots of cosmetic and drug stores as well as various kinds of desserts. If you are interested in Japanese cosmetics or skin care products, you can definitely find what you need in reasonable prices; and if you are more interested in snacks and desserts, you can also find some amazing things here such as crisply baked Taiyaki and delicious cakes.
Moreover, when it comes to Kichijoji, what is always referred to and recommended is a shop in the shopping street called “Satou.” It is so popular to the extent that you can see people waiting in line from a long distance. Satou’s beef meatballs are made with high quality meat and are very juicy and delicious, definitely worth trying.
After having a fulfilling lunch, it is time for a relaxing trip in the Kichijoji area.
The Inokashira Park is a must-visit spot in Kichijoji. When I visited in March, though it was not yet the peak season of cherry blossom, there were already some blooming trees. When I arrived there, some of the Oh-kanzakura in full blossom had started falling. The Kanhi-zakura had started blooming as well, thus creating a fantastic scenery woven by various layers of pinkness.
Since it was not yet the best time to see cherry trees, and it is weekday when I went there, there were only a few people in the park; so I could enjoy the quiet and tranquil feeling. There were retired people came reading books or newspaper under the trees or taking photos; some couples also took their children and pets here to have a short walk. It is indeed a great pleasure to look at this harmonious scene.
Another must-visit place in Kichijyoji is the famous Ghibli Museum Mitaka. It would be better to make a reservation at least two weeks or even a month before visiting since the museum is very popular. It would be impossible to get a ticket if you haven’t made reservation in advance.
In addition to the art works exhibited indoor, the design of the museum itself is also very interesting and eye-catching. The cute and forest-style appearance of the museum makes visitors feel that they are personally walking into the world of Totoro; in fact, there is a Totoro sitting at the entrance. Futhermore, the giant statue on the top of the building is also a famous spot for photo taking. After having a wonderful time in the indoor art exhibition, you can take your time enjoying the installation arts outdoors.
It would be a tiring day after a day of walking and looking around; you can refresh yourselves by having a satisfying dinner near the station and buy some snacks and souvenirs before leaving!
Written by Cheng Weifan
Edited by Rachel