Located to the west of Shinjuku on the JR Chuo Line, Nakano is one of the most densely populated places in Tokyo. It’s also served by the Tozai, Marunouchi and Oedo subway lines.
Despite the dense built-up urban environment, Nakano is full of cheap retail, hospitality and accommodation options. The long, covered shotengai (shopping street) to the north of Nakano Station is full of both cheap chain stores and shops run by locals and leads right to the entrance of Nakano Broadway (see below)—a seemingly windowless 13-level commercial complex built 45 years ago and jam-packed with 350 shops selling everything you can imagine—from secondhand manga through to sewing supplies.
Where to eat and drink in Nakano
As always, you’ve got a lot of choice for foodie joints in the capital of Japan. And what would any area of Japan be without sushi? Nakamura Suisan is actually a fish seller but it offers a great range of fresh sushi and sashimi bento boxes and all are reasonable prices.
Another foodie option for this area is its exciting collection of food trucks. If you leave the Nakano Station using the north exit, you will hit a building complex and a large park, called Nakano Central Park. From 11am to 4pm there is a wide food selection here. In the past there have been choices such as steak rice bowls, curry and Korean food. Prices can range from 350-950 yen. See what you get on the day that you go—it’s all part of the fun!
What to do in Nakano
The major highlight of this area of Tokyo is Nakano Broadway, a 13-level commercial complex. This is shopping at its best, with around 350 shops all under one roof. Here you can purchase anything you can imagine from Japan, from electronics, to manga, anime merch, vintage goods and more—oftentimes being compared to (a better version of) Akihabara. There are a heap of things to find in this area of the city and there will always be something new to buy. So go on and release that inner geek, it deserves to have some play time here for sure—or indeed release your inner shopaholic.
For a bit of relaxation, visit Kotobuki Yu, a popular onsen in Tokyo, and located just a few minutes from the station. Try one of the “medicated” baths with rotating herbs.
Nakano is one of those great places to see cherry blossoms when it’s the season in Tokyo. With its wide streets, tall buildings and all that Tokyo chaotic jazz, it’s always nice and refreshing to see some gorgeous natural features—and that is exactly what you get.
Where to stay in Nakano
Nakano Sun Plaza is the place for a decent stay in this neighborhood. It’s not the cheapest, but if you’re looking for a quality hotel that won’t run you central-Tokyo prices, this is your spot. Plus, it’s conveniently located near the station, and boasts great reviews. It is quiet, a key highlight seeing as peace and calm can sometimes be hard to come by in the city. With extensive facilities such as a fitness center and a music room, Nakano Sun Plaza offers good value for money.
But if you’re really strapped for cash, Yadoya Guest House offers a bed in a shared room for as little as 2,300 yen/night.