TOPTokyo LifeThree Reasons to Visit Tachikawa in 2021

Three Reasons to Visit Tachikawa in 2021

These three happening venues in western Tokyo are proof that there is more to Tachikawa than IKEA and Showa Kinen Park

By Shannon Cothran

Tempranillas Tapas & Wine Tachikawa

Paella with Friends

Tempranillo Tapas & Wines is a Spanish oasis in Tachikawa. The owner, Chef Jose Manuel Diaz Garcia is from Guardamar del Segura, a small fishing village in southern Spain. He has recreated his home country within the walls of his restaurant so well that when customers walk through the front door, it’s as if they’ve entered the wardrobe and found themselves in Spain instead of Narnia.

Growing up in a poor fishing village, “we had to learn to cook with very little and make it delicious,” Jose says. There, recipes are passed down like family heirlooms. Today, Jose and his chef Rie Imai develop menus from two notebooks he was gifted, one from his mother, and one from his grandmother. Each page is filled with recipes in vintage, penciled handwriting. These recipes came from the women’s memories of their own mothers, and they wrote them down for Jose to take with him as he traveled the world as a chef. Thanks to their gift, Tempranillo’s menu is pure Spanish food: every mouthful tastes exactly as food served on the Spanish coast.

Jose Manuel Diaz and chef Rie Imai are transmuting ingredients into magic in their kitchen at Tempranillo.

The relaxed atmosphere of the place also reflects Spanish culture: Jose has a sofa in his restaurant for relaxing and drinking wine. His clients aren’t clients, he says. They’re his friends.

“It’s funny, when the people come for the first time and see customers in the hammock or on the couch, they think, ‘what kind of place is this?” laughs Rie.
Jose says that people usually order paella their first visit, and the next time they come, they’re ordering specials and sipping wine on the couch and chatting with Jose and Rie. “The food and the atmosphere: it’s like being at home,” Jose says.

Tempranillo is a five-minute walk from Tachikawa Station, and there is coin parking in a lot next door.

When: 17:00–24:00 (closed Mon & Sun)
Where: Map

Mameya Mamekichi
Mamekichi’s front door is warm and welcoming with a touch of whimsy.

Cottage Coffee

Mameya Mamekichi is a specialty coffee shop situated in a residential area of Tachikawa. The tiny cottage with its large garden sits next to a small playground, making it the perfect spot for families with young children: parents can sit and sip while kids play.

Mamekichi has one of the few hot air roasters in Japan, and the delicious smell of roasting beans blankets the neighborhood. Cafephiles know that air-roasted beans have a purer flavor than drum-roasted, and for this reason, the shop has a strong fan base. Mamekichi also offers delivery of their roasted beans.

The cottage is a 10-minute walk from Tamagawa-josui station along a lovely wooded path next to a stream. There is also coin parking one block away. The café is worth a trip even for people who don’t drink coffee: its garden is a tranquil spot and the menu features a nice selection of scones, tea and rustic, homemade hot cocoa, with or without rum.

When: 10:00–18:00
Where: Map

Green Springs Tachikawa
The plaza Green Springs sometimes hosts food trucks like this coffee truck.

A Plaza for Everyone

Green Springs is a unique outdoor common area featuring shops, performance spaces, upscale bars and dining, coffee shops, the Play! Museum and an urban waterfall that descends into a babbling brook. Dogs are welcome, and there are plenty of tables for dining al fresco from the restaurants that offer picnic lunches to-go. Cheery, bright and verdant, the area makes for a great day trip from Tokyo.

Families will love The Cascade, a vast stairway that is also a waterfall for playing and foot bathing. Under the Cascade is an American-style restaurant with offerings like an apple and cheese hamburger with 100% grilled beef, baked apples, and soft cheese.

Under the Cascade Cheeseburger
This super cheesy 100% beef burger is part of a spring special menu at Under the Cascade restaurant and performance space.

Flowers Bake & Ice Cream is just what it sounds like: a florist that also sells cakes and soft serve garnished with edible flowers. Paper Moon, an upscale bakery, restaurant, and kitchen supplies spot, offers an adorable picnic basket filled with a piece of cake or pie and a drink with napkins and silverware in a basket that you return for about ¥1,100 to ¥1,400.

Shoppers will love the unique boutiques at Green Springs. Rust is a modern plant store for the urban minimalist. Joker is a popular pet store and Motherhouse in an Insta-famous jewelry and clothing store. But the shopper’s paradise is inside Take-Off Site where dozens of makers showcase their art, games, jewelry, crafts, hats, books and music. This curated space also celebrates Tachikawa’s history as an aviation manufacturing site with a complete plane inside the store.

When: 09:00–21:00
Where: Map