Tokyo is a big city. In fact it is the largest and most populated city in Japan. Tokyo ranks among the safest city in the world according to the 2015 Safe Cities Index. And one of the most expensive too, of course. It’s all of that: the amazing and incredible Tokyo. Yet, it is larger than just 23 wards everybody is hearing about most of the time.
The former Tokyo prefecture includes a number of suburban areas with the residents daily commuting back and forth to those 23 wards for work or school. Just hop on the train departing midtown in the evening. Make sure not to get your belongings stuck between the doors of such packed trains ;)
One of such areas is Tachikawa. Take the Chuo line from Shinjuku and arrive in about 30 minutes. The large station has two shopping malls but is even more exciting outside.
Photo: St Stev on Flickr
If you take the north exit you will find yourself in a very vibrant and busy corner with lots of café and shops welcoming you. Follow the directions from the station and visit the local Showa memorial park (昭和記念公園). It’s one of the largest parks in Tokyo and has been previously a part of the Tachikawa Air Force Base. Now the spacious areas are hosting a variety of plants, flowers and seasonal events. This is a nice place to stroll, jog or run with your dog.
On your way back you might want to check the local IKEA. Get familiar with interior designs and some neat ideas for your living space. Three floors with popular food courts and European design might even be a good dating spot. Make sure not to argue about which items to purchase though, as prices are shockingly low even for Tokyo.
Returning back to station you will notice some giant art statues and objects. A tall figure of man and the stairways that lead to nowhere are a few examples.
As you walk, you’ll have a monorail passing above you
Once back to the train station, you might decide to look around the south exit. Unlike north exit, there are many more places to eat out, including the fun okonomiyaki and monjyu – some kind of pancakes that you can cook based on the ingredients you choose. There are also a few parlours with video and other games.
Photo: soranyan on Flickr
Recently, the place developed somewhat a “mini Kabukicho” – the red lights district. So expect to see lots of massage, relaxing, facial etc spa and karaoke places as well as smoky bars and tiny dinners. No doubt, it’s a pretty awesome location for photography.
Photo: mrhayata on Flickr
Finally, there are a couple of underground passes between north and south sides. You can use them even if you are riding a bike. Just make sure to get off your bike once you are there. But the biggest fun is all the artistic vibes. They are decorated by the art school students and could be a bit childish. Nevertheless, the vivid colours and the whole idea are wonderful to explore.
Photo: Hideki Yoshida on Flickr