Neighborhood Guide: Let’s Head Out West To Tachikawa!
When people usually think of Tokyo they think of places like Shinjuku, Ginza, Roppongi, and Shibuya. These are all very crowded areas that depicts Tokyo city life: busy, lots of people, lights, and a non-stop continuous cycle. They are also all on the East side of Tokyo. So if you are looking for a little bit of a different scenery, why not try West Tokyo. One of the biggest cities in West Tokyo is Tachikawa. Because the JR Chuo line, JR Nambu line, and Tama Monorail all run through Tachikawa, there is a big train station as well as the busy bodies that come with it.
What to do: Shopping, shopping, shopping…
The Tachikawa station itself has a lot to offer. Lumine and Granduo, large shopping departments, are parts of the Tachikawa station which allows you to get food, relax, catch up with a friend, get your hair cut or nails done, and get your shopping done without even leaving the station. The Granduo department also has an area where they always have new events and vendors come. For example next week they’re going to have a Turkish Goods Fair. This change of events keeps the station fun and interesting!
Once you soaked up everything the station has to offer you can venture out and find yourself in the city of Tachikawa. It’s busy, but not Shinjuku busy, and it has a completely different atmosphere. It’s the kind of place someone would choose to live to avoid the big city but be close enough to be able to go to work into the city.
They recently built an IKEA, which is always fun to visit! We all know it’s a great date spot to try out all the couches, beds, and dining sets and decide if your interior design preferences are compatible! But more important than that is the delicious food IKEA has! At the Tachikawa IKEA, the exit cafe/ bistro has an assortment of hot dogs, ice cream cones, and drinks as well as fried chicken, cookies, and cinnamon rolls! You can get all these delicious quick bites for really cheap too! If you’re looking for a different selection of foods, they also have a restaurant that serves Swedish dishes as well as a few Japanese dishes. If you don’t have time to stop and eat and just want to grab a few things to cook at home there is also the Swedish Market where you can buy groceries that you probably won’t find anywhere else in Japan!
If you didn’t get enough shopping done at the station, Fall of 2015 Tachikawa is opening up a huge Lalaport! Lalaport is just another huge department store with plenty of things to see, do, buy, and eat! Especially if the weather is nasty out, it’s definitely a great place to mosey around. If you’re like me and like little mom and pop shops more than huge department stores, if you walk around the streets of Tachikawa, you’ll definitely find some great hole in the wall restaurants as well as cute little shops selling knick knacks!
Where To Go: 昭和記念公園: Showa Memorial Park
One of the biggest attractions in Tachikawa is their huge park, the Showa Kinen (Memorial) Park. Not only is this park huge with plenty of things to do, it also hosts a lot of different events throughout the year. There is a Japanese garden, cherry blossom area, rainbow pool, bike rentals, dome (for events), bird sanctuary, Emperor Showa Memorial Museum, sports area, the old Tachikawa US Base and plenty more! No matter what you’re interested in, there is at least something that will peak your interest here at the park!
As for events, they have a selection of events that occur weekly like the bird watching group or the children’s forestry group, but they also have events that happen only once a year. One that is happening right now is the World Breakfast Festival where more than 60 vendors come together to set up stands that offer pancakes, waffles, and a mix of new cross breeds of breakfasts people have come up with! This event goes until September 17th, and if you miss it, don’t worry there are plenty of events that will come in the future!
Whether it’s shopping or walking in a park, Tachikawa has it all with a little bit of a different feel than East Tokyo! If you like to travel the road less traveled in Tokyo, why not give Tachikawa a shot?!