Romance in Kichijoji: An Area Guide

We round up the top date spots in one of Tokyo’s most desirable districts.

Words and photos by Stephan Jarvis

Weapon of Choice

Voted Tokyo’s number-one place to live in SUUMO’s 2017 survey, Kichijoji has an abundance of cafés, restaurants, bars and even a couple of cinemas, making it a perfect place for a date. It’s also well known for its nightlife, and particularly its music scene – what better way to inject a bit of passion into the evening than by taking in some jazz vibes from a selection of famed bars in the area such as Sometime and Jazz Bar Funky. If you don’t think jazz is going to cut the mustard, then how about wowing your partner by showing off your shooting prowess? Head down to Shooting Bar EA for a bar with a difference – it boasts its own Airsoft shooting gallery. What could possibly go wrong? Another favorite in the area is Aladdin, a small but cozy multi-floored shisha bar with a range of flavored tobacco and Middle Eastern ambience.

Where the Wild Things Are

If being an animal lover is a must-have trait in your partner, then you can put that to the test with a visit to Inokashira Park Zoo. It contains a wide selection of wildlife native to Japan with which you can get up close and personal. You could also grab a drink or a light snack at one of the animal-themed cafés in town such as the Ghibli-esque Cat Cafe Temari no Ouchi, or Owl Cafe & Bar Owl Village Kichijoji. Speaking of Ghibli, one of the other famed features of Kichijoji is, of course, the Ghibli Museum – just don’t forget to pre-book the tickets or you’ll end up turning your date into disappointment.

Thought for Foodies

Kichijoji (or dating for that matter) is not all about what can be done at night. There is plenty to see and do during the day with that special someone. Walking around Harmonica Yokocho, along Nakamichi-dori, Sun Road or the outskirts of the park, you’ll find plenty of spots for fueling up, such as Kenihhi Hotdogs, the tranquil Toriyoshi specializing in yakitori and chicken wings, or more lively yakitori specialist Iseya. If you’re looking for someplace to relax afterwards and show off your more cultured side, then the nearby Kichijoji Art Museum, Kichijoji Theatre, or even the sculpture garden and museum located within Inokashira Park Zoo have you covered.

Parklife

Undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Kichijoji is take a trip to the vast Inokashira Park. Stroll along winding pathways and bridges across the pond, and then head to the culturally and historically significant Benzaiten Shrine. Dedicated to the goddess Benzaiten, who is worshipped by musicians, artists, and scholars, this beautiful spot with its stone-arched bridge, copper roofs and carmine walls is sure to evoke an air of romance. Just don’t venture onto the pond in one of the boats together if you’re the superstitious type as doing so is said to doom the relationship.

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