A great destination just one stop away from the overrun Kichijoji. The Chuo line rapid stops here on weekdays. For weekends, switch to the Chuo local or Sobu Line for a stop in Nishi-Ogikubo.
The neighborhood is home to a variety of high-end craftsmen. You can get a suit tailored, custom shoes or some embroidery. There are a few home goods stores with an international flair. You can take home
Turkish or African mementos. Or you could pick up a selection of spices, lentils and organic cotton clothes from a high-end import house. The food around here is on point. There are at least four “Indian” restaurants within four blocks of the station. Or instead, you can check out some odd places you won’t find elsewhere. There is a lot going on at this station and I am decidedly biased. The odd virtual tour of Nishi-Ogikubo:
This eclectic mix of cold salads, quiches and desserts made in-house keep Kiku cafe a popular spot in
the neighborhood. For around 1000 Yen, you can pick out three items and grab a seat. A drink and
soup will come to you. My personal favorite in the deli is the “Mr. Green.” This combination of feta
cheese, chicken and pesto will have you forgetting any New Year’s resolution. The ambiance is casual
and friendly. There are often families and the ladies who lunch. In fact, it can get a bit too friendly, the
cook will often come out from behind the counter and check out how things are going. Once he knows
you speak English, it may be difficult to get the chef and former US marine to stop talking. If his
hulking presence becomes too much, just “mochi kaeri” and eat peacefully at home.
This is where you can go if you want watch live old school jazz in an intimate setting. The shows can go from between 500- 2,500 Yen; you are getting top value for your Yen. For that, you can put up with the begrudging bar man for two sets. Don’t expect a warm welcome; I have yet to see him smile. The bar man, it seems, he has a little bit of difficulty delivering Asahi beers to foreigners. He’d prefer you walk off with a Budweiser. However, he takes his music seriously. You are expected to join the crowd in a silent reverie. This small hole in the wall may be related to the larger establishment with the same name in Yokohama. However, in Nishi-Ogikubo, you could have stiffly priced, weak drinks and watch
some good music. Show information is all available and readily updated online. They host a variety of jazz sub genres and tend to have fair prices.
Why is there a yakitori called Ebisu in Nishi-Ogikubo? Why are there two of them within a two minute walk of each other? I don’t know the answer to either. I do know that at either establishment, you can
get cheerful service with a great selection of grilled things. The outpost north of the station has counter seating around the grill that is continuously occupied by old timers. The over-poured sake and lively staff make for a great night out. There is even an English menu, albeit a bit shorter than Japanese version. You will find the standard yakitori items and a few signature items. One also their signature item is the croquette, which is a fish stuffed with potato mixture. Off the grill, the lotus root, renkon, stuffed with ground meat is fabulous and often sold-out. This is an old haunt and well-known in the neighborhood. Don’t come here wearing something too nice. It is a yakitori. You’ll leave here
Google: North. https://goo.gl/maps/4i8cUmppBHE2
Down a few steps off the main pedestrian road south of the station, this place is odd from the start.
Though this is a bar for movie buffs and weirdos, there is a selection of odd T-shirts and knick-knacks for sale out front. Inside, there is always some quirky movie playing in the background and the decor itself merits a view. The brother and sister pair who run this sweet place have decorated the bar with shoes, pink trim and VHS tapes. While many places in Nishi Ogikubo wind down after midnight, I have seen Bar Kick Ass Open until the wee hours of the morning. The cover charge varies, it appears, based on who is running the shop. It can go from 300 to 800 yen. Either way, you won’t want to leave. The atmosphere is chilled and comfortable. Most of the people hanging out are local and generally
pretty friendly. It is a bit smoky, but you can also join in. They sell loosies at the bar.