- Mari Hiroki
How to Enjoy Nakano, Tokyo’s Otaku Paradise
Nakano, which can be reached in 4 minutes from Shinjuku with the JR Chuo Line rapid train, is a very popular area for those wanting to thoroughly enjoy Japan's subcultures. This article will showcase many spots in Nakano, from the classics to ones that few people know!
The Only Place You Need to Visit?! Nakano Broadway
Nakano Broadway is a commercial complex near the North Exit of JR Nakano Station. It is widely considered a "paradise" for "otaku", a Japanese term referring to people highly interested in various subcultures. The lineup of stores lives up to its reputation, starting with Mandarake, which deals with all kinds of products related to manga, anime, games, and more; CUBE STYLE, which rents out display cases for figurines; Card Shop Treasure, with the biggest collection of telephone cards in Japan; and many more. The various capsule toy corners in the building are also something that enthusiasts won't be able to resist. Furthermore, it is also possible to encounter slightly unusual Japanese food there, such as the Instagram-worthy soft serve ice cream from Daily Chiko, or the around 1,000 varieties of snacks at Okashi no Machioka.
Shop for Bargains at Nakano Sun Mall
Nakano Sun Mall is a 224m-long shopping street that can be found directly in front of the North Exit of JR Nakano Station. Check out the stores while you're here - not only do they offer reasonably priced goods and services, but they're well loved by the locals. One example is Bonjour Bon Bakery Nakano Branch, whose most popular bread, the Maple Melon Bread (175 JPY), won the top prize in the melon bread category at the 2015 Bread of the Year awards. Other shops that offer great deals include Claire's, the biggest accessory chain in the world; Daiwa Shoes, where shoes can be bought for around 1,000 JPY; and UNIQLO.
A Battleground for Ramen!
Nakano is actually also home to many ramen shops. Here are two ramen restaurants that are extremely popular among ramen lovers.
People love the double base soup at Aoba, which is made by combining meat-based broth with Japanese-style fish based broth. It was created by the owner, who values contact with customers so much that the restaurant was purposefully designed to only have seats by the counter. To enjoy this rich and tasty soup, try the Chuka Soba (730 JPY (incl. tax)).
A restaurant that is currently very popular thanks to its rich and distinctive soup made with pork bones and soy sauce. The restaurant's recommendation is the Seaweed and Soft Boiled Marinated Egg Ramen (850 JPY (incl. tax)). During lunch, patrons can get a bowl of rice for free (50 JPY at any other time). A must-try for people who like ramen with a rich taste!
At Night, Go to an Izakaya That Locals Frequent
After exploring Nakano for a day, enjoy delicious drinks at night! Here are some spots where great izakaya frequented by locals can be found.
Nakano North Exit Showa Shindo Shotengai
You'll find this shopping street on Showa Shindo Street, which runs alongside Nakano Sun Mall and is to the east of JR Nakano Station's North Exit. Many izakaya line this street, the red lanterns in front of their doors giving off a nostalgic Showa era atmosphere.
Nakano Rengazaka Street
Rengazaka, an area extremely close to JR Nakano Station's South Exit, has been gaining popularity lately thanks to more stylish bars and delicious restaurants opening there. There are so many peculiar shops in the area that a day is not enough to explore it!
This article showcased Nakano, which is becoming a paradise for people of all kinds, not just otaku. Pay a visit and enjoy its many charms!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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