There are plenty of places and things to do in Nakano and Koenji this coming holiday season that are bound to ignite our Christmas spirit. Whether that’s shopping the season sales at Marui Department Store, attending a Christmas market, or eating until we resemble Santa Claus ourselves.


Food and Drink

Eat Christmas Delights

J.S Pancake Cafe is wishing you a joyous Christmas by offering a festive array of pancake treats. Their seasonal menu is making its way through their Tokyo stores and the Nakano store has one memorable dish all to itself. Enjoy a luxurious dish of grilled truffle cream chicken and pumpkin lasagna with a side of candle-like pancakes to warm you up. You might want to hurry as it’s only available until Christmas.

When: Until Dec 25
Where: 4-10-1 Nakano, Nakano-ku

nakano and koenji

Sample the Best of Japan’s Sake

Sansai, the latest bar on Nakano’s vibrant streets, offers more than 40 types of sake to taste, including Wax & Wane, a colorful Tokyo sake brand that collaborates with 12 breweries nationwide. Pair your sake-filled evening with a hearty soup to keep you chatting with the locals long into the evening.

Where: 5-60-2 Nakano, Nakano-ku

Grab a Meaty Bite

Only a two-minute walk from Nakano Station, you’ll find a meat lover’s paradise. This new yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant is dedicated to horumon (offal) but if that isn’t your slice of meat then they also serve juicy Kobe beef cuts. Chow it down with a 60-year-old secret sauce and a cup of sake for an authentic yakiniku experience. Horumon Life Taro-chan is a small restaurant with only 16 seats, so maybe reserve in advance to be sure.

Where: 5-35-8 Nakano, Nakano-ku

Go For Endless Dumplings at 24-hour Gyoza Restaurant

This inexpensive gyoza eatery does not skimp on ingredients or taste. It serves a range of dumplings, so gyoza fans will be more than satisfied. Try cheese, chili-sauce, bright-green celery, lamb, soup and even sweet dumplings. There are even all-you-can-eat options for those who can never get enough.

Where: 5-9-10 Nakano, Nakano-ku



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Aim for Fun at New Darts Bar

With a lively bar and options to BYOB, the relaxed atmosphere of DartsBar IMA makes it the perfect place to blow off some steam. Choose from an all-you-can-throw dart session starting from ¥1,000 and have fun.

When: 7pm–5am (next day) | Closed Sun
Where: 5-50-4 Nakano, Nakano-ku


Celebrate Zimbabweans at Moto Yoshikuni Exhibition

Moto Yoshikuni had a unique childhood growing up in Harare, Zimbabwe where his father was studying Zimbabwean history and his mother wrote about the local people. Now, following in their footsteps, Yoshikuni delves into his memory to produce wonderful portraits of the people he met as a child. This exhibition entitled “See Me When You Can” expresses his longing to return to his hometown and reunite with his friends. Go check it out at Gallery Studio 35 Minutes in Nakano.

When: Until Dec 18 | 4pm–10pm | Closed Sun, Mon, and Tue
Where: 5-47-8 Kamitakada, Nakano-ku

A Married Couple’s Photo Exhibition

Hoshino Midori and Hoshino Toshikazu, a talented married couple, will display their gothic-like photographs at Gallery Tosei. Using wet plate photography, Toshikazu will express the transformations of the deity Kannon Bodhisattva using black and white while his wife Midori will focus on candlelight with a splash of color.

When: Until Dec 25 | 11am–7pm | Closed Sun and Mon
Where: 5-18-20 Central, Nakano-ku


Nakano and Koenji

Avoid the Winter Cold at 24-hour Private Sauna

No room for a private sauna at home? Yes, that’s practically all of us. Don’t worry, Hotters 24 have us covered. Spend some alone-time in their five private Finnish-style saunas to sweat out your problems or explore further with their aqua sauna, freezer sauna, or airy sauna. It’s open 24 hours a day, so go whenever you feel like it.

Where: 2-34-5 Koenjikita, Suginami-ku

Food & Drink

Carefully Procured Coffee for Your Needs

The newly opened Whim Coffee Stand in Koenji goes the extra mile to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Choose the beans to suit your mood or rock up on a sleepy weekday morning and have the attentive staff guide you. From hand-drip coffee to fresh lemonade in a cute original glass, there’s something for everyone.

Where: 20-4-6 Koenjikita, Suginami-ku

Try a World of Flavor in the Taiwan Mazesoba

Hailing from Nagoya, Menya Hanabi’s new lunchtime store in Koenji is named Bochi Bochi Okonomiyaki and offers Taiwan mazesoba. This soup-free noodle dish explodes with spicy minced meat layered with chili and garlic. The extra-thick noodles are made using whole grain flour and are delicate to eat. Available for lunch only, so get there on time.

Where: 3-22-16 Koenjikita, Suginami-ku

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