Keiō Naka Dōri, a Cluster of Bars and Restaurants
From Mita station, within a two-minute walk, you are sure to come across a gate leading into a narrow road lined with a variety of small shops and restaurants. This road is a part of an area called Keiō naka Dōri. It is a dining area filled with many places to eat, relax and have a few drinks. Some of the restaurants serve typical Japanese food such as ramen (noodles), yakiniku/yakitori (grilled meat/chicken) and sushi. ‘Izakayas’; casual Japanese places to drink and dine, can also be found there. However, there are also a variety of other cuisines, such as Chinese, Italian, Indian and Spanish. There are also pubs, bars, game centres and karaoke for those who want to explore the area further during late hours. Even though it is located in the very centre of Tokyo, it is slightly hidden from the bustling streets, with a nice and relaxing atmosphere.
Keiō Naka Dōri is a popular spot for local businessmen and students form Keio University, which is close by, from which the area also got its name. If you are lucky, maybe you will be able to have a chat with some friendly Japanese people. Walking around the place to get a feel of the Japanese daily life, atmosphere and architecture is a great experience in itself. A great spot for those who are looking for some local Japanese culture and good food! The Tokyo tower is only a couple of stations away from the area, which is worth a visit. During the night it is lit up, so make sure you see it on your way home!
Upon entering Keio Naka Dōri at night through the main gate, the picture above is what will meet you. It is a world slightly different from the streets you just came from. Lots of small places packed together makes the whole area very atmospheric. Most shops and many restaurants and also open during the day, if you are close to the area during lunch hours.
The two pictures above are of a yakitori (やきとり) restaurant which is located close to the other gate, the one furthest from Mita station at the other end of the Keio Naka Dōri area.
Yakitori is a Japanese dish where chicken is skewered and grilled, often in front of you, over a charcoal fire. The outer layout of the restaurant has a bit of a 1960's Japanese feel to it, with the dark wooden walls and lanterns.
A small cluster of Italian restaurants can be found for those who are craving pizza or pasta. The picture below captures a small French bar, hidden in one of the smaller alleys in Keio Naka Dōri, which can be discovered for those who are on the lookout for hidden treasures.
Stepping outside from the other Keio Naka Dōri gate, one can immediately spot the Tokyo Tower as it is located close by. The lit up tower at night and the busy roads brings you back to the active and energetic city of Tokyo.