A Quaint Little Town in the Heart of Tokyo
Welcome to Nogata
Living in one of the largest cities in the world can sometimes feel overwhelming. Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world at 5,310 sq miles, with a population of 13.23 million people. Divided into 23 wards, which are like small cities themselves, Tokyo is a bewilderingly complex city.
The Nakano ward, located in the north-western part of the city, is a fairly large area consisting of a little over 6 sq miles and includes residential,shopping and entertainment areas. It's one of the most livable areas with many gems to explore, but Nakano is most famous for Nakano Broadway, a shopping complex selling all genres of anime, idol dolls, retro toys and anything related to manga.
Nogata, where I've been calling home for over ten years, lies on the edge of Nakano ward, and is easily accessible by train and bus. The quaint atmosphere of this residential area is dotted with lots of family-owned businesses, which is getting harder to find these days.
Transportation is plentiful and provides easy access to anywhere in the city.
So what's so great about living in this part of town? Why should you make a visit to one of these quaint residential areas on your next trip to Tokyo? Keep reading to find out.
*All photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.
So Tell Me...
Have you ever visited Japan?
My Favorite Books on Tokyo
I keep recommending this book to friends who are looking for a great souvenir of their visit. Full of fun and humorous information with every page beautifully illustrated by hand, Tokyo on Foot will make you feel like you're wandering around the side streets of Tokyo.
A Residential Oasis in the City
I've always gravitated towards this side of town for a variety of reasons. First of all, Nogata is a fairly quiet residential area but it's only a stone's throw away from the frenetic center of Shinjuku, the busiest train station in the world.
I love the convenience of the city, however I prefer not to be in the center of it all. What's really cool though, is that I never really have to leave my part of town because everything I need is literally just outside my doorstep.
Walking is the best way to get to know a city and fortunately, Tokyo was made for walking. Of course being that the city is so huge, this book includes 29 walks through the most interesting parts of the city. Includes detailed maps as well as essential information on how to get to the destination.
Let Me Show You Around
Discover a whole new side of Japan that you never knew existed. Manga and anime fans from around the world flock to Japan for all the quirkiness that can be found here. However if you're more into zen and peace, you can find that here too. The unique way the book is written lets you open the book at random, letting you find something interesting on any page.
A Great Place for a Foodie Like Me
There are many fantastic restaurants within walking distance of my apartment. When I get hungry, the hardest part is trying to decide where to go. There are close to 100 restaurants in this relatively small area with a variety of cuisine to satisfy any picky eater.
Whether you're looking for Thai, French, Italian or a traditional Japanese meal, you'll find something that'll satisfy your hunger.
Totora-tei has to be one of my favorite restaurants in Nogata. Owned and run by a very friendly couple,this small and cozy place serves up some of the best food in town. It's hard to describe their menu, but the food is "eclectic international" with a Japanese flair.
Twice a year, they travel to a country of their choosing, such as Peru, Mexico or Hungary. Once they return home, the chef tries to recreate some of their favorite dishes from that country using local ingredients. So in addition to their regular menu of homemade quiches, smoked dishes and grilled meats, they will serve a variety of "new" dishes, which usually change every three months.
For example, we were treated to Peruvian food last month. This month, they've come up with a German menu that I can't wait to try.
Food, Sake, Tokyo
With all the fantastic restaurants in Tokyo, the hardest part is deciding where and what to eat. If your travels revolve around food, this book is a must-have. Whether you're visiting for the first time or you're returning for a second time, this book will guide you to some of the best food on the planet.
Not only will you learn about where to eat the best sushi in town, you'll get a peek into the unique culture of the Japanese people.
My Favorite Restaurants in NogataClick thumbnail to view full-size
Are You a Foodie?
If you visited Nogata, where would you have lunch?
Wait! There's More!
Not only does Nogata boast a variety of eateries ( restaurants, bakeries, cake shops and take-out delis ), there are 5 supermarkets, numerous specialty shops, interesting bars and pubs and even a bookstore. Clinics, banks and schools stand side-by-side with dance schools, laundromats and florists.
Pockets of green can be found all over town, with secluded parks and vegetable fields scattered throughout the neighborhood. If you don't mind walking a bit further, you'll find Tetsugakudo Park, famous for its interesting history and cherry blossom trees in the springtime.
Other Random FunkinessClick thumbnail to view full-size
If You Lived in Tokyo...
Where would you live?
Tokyo, known for its glittering neon lights, trendy fashion and frenetic lifestyle, is all of that and more. If it's your first time to this mega-city, visiting the highlights is a must. But don't be afraid to step off the beaten track by getting onto a local train to explore some local flavor. And if you ever find yourself in Nogata, give me a call. I'll take you to a cafe with the best cheesecake in town!
Getting to Nogata is easy. Take the Seibu-Shinjuku Line from Seibu-Shinjuku Station. It's just 10-15 minutes from Shinjuku, the busiest station in the world. You can also transfer to the Seibu-Shinjuku Line at Takadanobaba from the JR or metro subway lines. Buses to Nogata leave from Nakano, Koenji and Nerima stations.
*Photo of Nogata Station
Other Articles You Might Enjoy
I hope you enjoyed your visit to my hometown. Check out some of my other travel articles on Japan.
If you enjoy reading about travel and food, you might also like my blog TabiEats. Focusing on my food and travel adventures throughout Japan, Hawaii and anywhere that I can afford to get myself to. Check out TabiEats today!