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Tokyo's Popular Suginami Ward: Visit Places Featured in TV Shows

Koenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo, and Nishi-Ogikubo are popular locations in Tokyo's Suginami Ward. You'll find plenty of lively shopping streets and unique cafes in the area. This area is also loved by filmmakers! In this article, a Taiwanese and Japanese couple tour spots featured in famous TV shows.
2021.10.19

Tokyo's Suginami Ward: A Place Where Artists Meet

Suginami Ward, located right on the western side of central Tokyo, is an area with multi-faceted charm. There is a lot of greenery, as well as over 130 anime studios in the area! In fact, the popular anime "Mobile Suit Gundam" was created at a studio in Suginami.

At Tokyo Polytechnic University Suginami Animation Museum, visitors can learn the history of animation and try their hand at this unique art themselves. No wonder Suginami Ward is so beloved by the industry's artists!

粉色大象

The third-generation pink elephant

Each district in Suginami, including Ogikubo, Nishi-Ogikubo, Koenji, and Asagaya, strives to preserve its own distinct character.

The pink elephant is a symbol of Nishi-Ogikubo, and represents its unique charm. Commissioned by the shotengai (shopping street) business owners, the elephant was made by a local bamboo craft shop and is even used in festivals.

Local children carry it during the annual festival at Ogikubo Hachiman Shrine, with the procession passing through Nishi-Ogikubo.

高圓寺純情商店街

Photo by PIXTA

The Koenji Junjo Shotengai was formerly called Koenji Ginza Shotengai. However, locals changed it to the present name after the novel "Koenji Junjo Shotengai" by Shoichi Nejime was published. Set in Koenji, the story won the Naoki Prize, a prestigious Japanese literary award.

Nakasugi-dori: A Morning Stroll Took by a Heroine to School

杉通 阿佐谷

Photo by Sean

Many spots in Suginami have been featured in various TV shows, movies, and anime.

Nakasugi-dori near Asagaya Station is one such location. Running through Nakano and Suginami, the street is lined with zelkova trees for 1.6 kilometers. After WWII, volunteers planted these trees and have been taking care of them for over 60 years.

The trees provide shade in the summer and offer great views in the autumn. This street is frequented by locals year-round.

中杉通

Photo by Sean

In "The Cat Returns" by Studio Ghibli, the heroine Haru saves Lune, the Prince of the Cat Kingdom, from being hit by a truck. According to rumors, Nakasugi-dori was used as the model for the road in the animated film.

This picturesque lane even has azalea that bloom in late spring.

Yonchome Cafe: A Street Corner Cafe Where Hit Songs are Penned

Yonchome Cafe

Photo by Sean

Yonchome Cafe, located at Koenji-Minami Yonchome, is another famous destination. Located on the second floor of a building in front of Koenji Station, it offers a great view of the trains below.

The cafe opened about 35 years ago when most tearooms in Tokyo were lavishly designed and decorated.

However, the owner preferred an American aesthetic, using furnishings from overseas to create an interior resembling a New York eatery.

Yonchome Cafe 店內

Photo by Sean

Yonchome Cafe is adored by locals and visiting artists alike.

"The Fourth Avenue Café" by L’Arc-en-Ciel was featured as one of the closing theme songs for the anime "Rurouni Kenshin." In fact, the catchy tune was inspired by this cafe. The vocalist, hyde, is said to have written it with the Yonchome Cafe in mind.

The cafe also appears in the movie "Tsure ga Utsu ni Narimashite," starring Aoi Miyazaki and Masato Sakai. The scene where Haru (Miyazaki), the heroine, gives her friend (Yoh Yoshida) a handwritten invitation was shot on the premises.

Many fans of the film request the seat where Miyazaki sat.

Yonchome Cafe 蛋糕甜點

Photo by Sean

The cafe's specialty is the tropical style Emerald Topaz and homemade Swiss roll.

Coconut powder is sprinkled on the fragrant rolled sponge cake, which pairs deliciously with the sweet, tangy beverage. This cafe is the perfect place for an afternoon tea break.

Harukiya: A Long-Standing Ramen Shop With a Distinctive Flavor

荻窪中華拉麵 春木屋

Photo by Sean

Harukiya was established in 1949 and is currently managed by the third-generation owner.

Since its inception, the staff has tasted the ramen every morning before opening the restaurant. They also make small changes to the noodles and soup stock every day according to the temperature and humidity.

This is why Harukiya continues drawing travelers and locals alike.

荻窪 春木屋 開動

Photo by Sean

In the TV show "Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Volume 2," Ms. Koizumi (Hiyori Sakurada) is a high school student who frequents this restaurant with friends. The scene featuring the teens digging into the fresh ramen is quite a sight.

Some customers travel to visit Harukiya after watching the show or other food programs.

荻窪中華拉麵 春木屋

Photo by Sean

Their specialty offerings include chuka-soba (850 yen including tax), and their most popular dish, wantan-men (1,250 yen including tax).

The rich soup is made from dried sardines, vegetables, chicken and pork stock, and soy sauce.

Shoan Bunko: A Relaxing Space to Sip Coffee

松庵文庫門口

Photo by Sean

Shoan Bunko is a Nishi-Ogikubo cafe located in an 80-year-old house. A musician couple resided here before selling the property to the current cafe owner.

The house is well-maintained, since the owner sees preserving it as a service to the community. The cozy interior feels like a childhood home!

Shoan Bunko appeared in the drama "Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai" starring Kyoko Fukada and Dean Fujioka. The entrance of Himawari, a teahouse in the drama, was shot on the premises.

松庵文庫 雜貨區
松庵文庫 挑選雜貨

Photo by Sean

The cafe on the first floor handles various items such as accessories, household goods, tableware, and tea selected by the owner.

松庵文庫 餐點

Photo by Sean

The popular lunch set (1,500 yen before tax) is made with products purchased from local farmers.

The menu changes seasonally, so customers can enjoy alternating tastes. Nutritional balance is a focus, too.

Don't forget to try the Shoan Bunko cheesecake (700 yen before tax). Sea salt is the secret ingredient in this rich cake, adding an extra layer to the complex flavor.

El Sur: Bring Flowers into Your Life

El Sur 店門口

Photo by Sean

El Sur looks straight out of a fairy tale. With a history spanning 30 years, this flower shop carries both cut flowers and potted plants.

El Sur 挑花

Photo by Sean

The owner selects flowers according to her personal tastes. Price or popularity are not important factors for her.

There are no price tags or name cards on the flowers in the shop, so customers can simply choose flowers they like, or ask staff for advice.

A man once came to El Sur to buy a bouquet for his girlfriend to propose to her. After she accepted, the man visited the shop to report that the proposal was a success. Perhaps there's a bit of luck in the flowers themselves!

El Sur 門口 捧花

Photo by Sean

El Sur appeared in the TV show "Omameda Towako to Sannin no Motootto." It was a hit, with many popular quotes coming out of the drama.

The scene where Towako (Takako Matsu), the protagonist, chooses flowers for her best friend's funeral was shot in El Sur.

On the day of our visit, Aya and Aika, a Taiwanese and Japanese couple, chose flowers with some guidance from the shop staff. They were thrilled with the beautiful bouquet.

Suginami: A Place to Visit Again!

Tokyo's Suginami Ward is where visitors can take a stroll and drop by unique stores, all while enjoying the lush natural surroundings.

Koenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo, and Nishi-Ogikubo can be reached using the JR Chuo Line. If you plan to get off at Koenji, Asagaya, or Nishi-Ogikubo on weekends or national holidays, be sure to take the local trains along the JR Chuo-Sobu Line.

In addition to the spots above, there are even more destinations that have been featured in TV shows, movies, and anime series.

Enjoy your own tour of Suginami Ward by hopping on a local train!

Please note that the business hours of the spots mentioned above are subject to change. Be sure to check the official website of each store.

Sponsored by Chuosen Aruaru Project /Experience SUGINAMI TOKYO
Written by miho
Main image courtesy of Sean

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.