Kichijoji (吉祥寺) is a scenic, atmospheric area to the west of Tokyo, a mere 15-minute train ride from Shinjuku station. Located in the city of Musashino, the delightful blend of urban culture and suburban leisure is home to fashionable department stores, large shopping streets, and a deluge of small boutiques, cafes, and amazingly delicious restaurants.
Wandering around Kichijoji with friends is definitely a great destination for a day trip around Tokyo. Spending half a day in Kichijoji with a budget of less than ¥1,000 sounds unbelievable; however, depending on where you visit and what you drink, you can make the most of the area on a budget while enjoying another lively corner of Tokyo!
Kichijoji As a Food-Tour Destination
Kichijoji Satou’s Maru Menchi Katsu
If you live in Tokyo, you have probably heard about the menchi katsu (ground meat cutlet) from Kichijoji Satou. Originally made from premium wagyu beef, this is a promising start to your street food tour. Despite the likely long line, it is worth the wait. Taking the shape of a big, round ball, it has a crispy and crunchy outside and a juicy, meaty inside which deserves its high review from food lovers.
This menchi katsu has been aired on an array of TV shows, proving its quality and popularity. And it is not only its fame but the tenderness and softness of the meat that will make you eager to try more food in this town. One piece of menchi katsu will cost you ¥240, which is perfect for a light breakfast!
Amane’s Taiyaki and Dango
Looking to try some sweets? Why not try some local taiyaki and dango! Across the main street from Kichijoji station, a small okashi (お菓子-sweet) shop named Amane has a large menu with a wide selection of sweets, including your classical anko (red bean paste) flavored taiyaki and several flavors of dango.
The taiyaki, in the shape of fish, is made using a large amount of filling of sweet and fresh anko, so you should be careful not to spill anything while you’re eating! While Amane offers classical flavors such as custard or anko, their seasonal fillings happen to be the most popular.
Aside from taiyaki, the shop provides dango in various flavors, the most famous of which is a chewy dango coated in soy sauce. The prices start from ¥150 per dango to ¥280 per taiyaki.
You can find this hidden udon restaurant under the train bridge. There offer two options for the soup depending on whether you prefer hot or cold udon. A bowl of udon with different kinds of tempura, including vegetables and meat costs ¥550 yen. If you want less complicated udon, you can go for a ¥300 yen bowl of soup. Their takeout lunch is refreshing and the bitterness of soup made from dry fish flakes makes the soup more flavorful.
Get Outdoors in Kichijoji
After eating and feasting, surround yourself with the lush nature to be found at Inokashira Park, just a 5 minute walk away from Kichijoji station. Considered a popular tourist attraction, Inokashira Park usually welcomes not only millions of tourists but also local people, every year.
During the Spring, when sakura trees are blooming, the park is packed with people coming to enjoy hanami (花見-flower viewing) and eating and picnicking under the cherry blossoms. The garden pond is the heart of the park, known for its swan boats which are a hot spot for young couples during the warmer months.
This beautiful park is open throughout the year, from the pink cherry blossoms of spring to the vivid colors of autumn. It is a free and suitable oasis for all occasions, whether you plan on gathering with friends or going on a date. The park itself is free, however other facilities require an entrance fee such as The Inokashira Park Zoo or The Ghibli Museum.
Musashino Hachimangu Shrine
Musashino Hachimangu Shrine (武蔵野八幡宮), is the oldest shrine in Kichijoji. Located to the north of the area, the shrine is popular for its well-documented history as well as the main torii gate along the side of the temple. After spending a day wandering around shopping streets, taking a stroll to Musashino Hachimangu Shrine may be a comfort to relieve your mind.
Visiting Kichijoji on a Budget
We hope that some of the above recommendations will make a day spent in Kichijoji for under ¥1000 more interesting and wonderful!
– Haley Tran/Vietnam
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Featured photo credits: Canva.com