Living in Nakano: What is it like for foreigners?
For many tourists Nakano is a must-go location, apart from Akihabara, for its abundant otaku-related shops.
However, what few foreigners know is that it also serves as a highly convenient residential area. Its easy accessibility and affordable prices are just of the area’s numerous charms.
To learn more about Nakano, read further.
Nakano - A harmonious combination of pop culture and traditional Japan
While it is famous as an otaku heaven, Nakano also has a strong local community. This is evident in the multiple individually owned ramen shops, making Nakano a “ramen battleground”. Alongside other long-running stores, these provide to the area’s vintage atmosphere, a rare sight to see among the modernized streets.
Nakano is easily accessible from different areas of Tokyo. The main Nakano Station connects to the Chuo Rapid Line, Chuo-Sobu Line, and Tozai Line, while Shin-Nakano Station connects to Marunouchi Line, providing direct routes to Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, and more.
- From Tokyo Station, take the Chuo Rapid Line to Nakano Station (approx. 20 minutes)
- From Shibuya Station, take the Yamanote line to Shinjuku Station and transfer to Chuo Rapid Line to Nakano Station (approx. 15 minutes)
- From Shinjuku Station, take the Chuo Rapid Line to Nakano Station (approx. 5 minutes)
1. Nakano Broadway
Nakano Broadway is the symbol of Nakano. The massive shopping complex holds over 350 shops in its 4 levels, with the anime and idol related goods stored in the second and third floors.
However, the building isn’t targeted for just otakus. The first floor offers shops for clothes, shoes, and second-hand items, while the basement is a marketplace. Local residents go straight for these areas rather than its upper levels.
If the streets of Akihabara are too overwhelming for you, head over to Nakano Broadway.
Directions: Walk a few minutes walk from Nakano Station’s North Exit
2. Nakano Sun Mall
In between Nakano Station’s North Exit and Nakano Broadway is Nakano Sun Mall. The shopping district offers a wide range of stores and restaurants. Although it is located outside, the area is covered by a roof, so you can enjoy shopping and dining without worrying about the weather.
Once you are done shopping in Nakano Broadway, why not grab a bite in one of the restaurants?
Directions: 1-minute from Nakano Station’s North Exit
3. Nakano Shiki no Mori Park
A favorite place of the locals residents, Nakano Shiki no Mori Park is a large park that is only minutes away from the busy Nakano Station.
When it is sunny, families go here for a picnic and play near the pond. The park also hosts local large-scale events, strengthening the community’s bond.
If you get tired from shopping, this is a great place for a quick rest.
Directions: 3-minute walk from Nakano Station’s North Exit
Why foreigners live in Nakano
1. Train stations are always within walking distance
There are three stations in Nakano: the main Nakano Station in the north, Higashi-Nakano in the north-east, Shin-Nakano Station in the center, Nakano-Sakanoue in the east, and Nakano-Shinbashi Station and Nakano-Fujimicho Station in the south, and Higashi-Koenji Stations in the west.
All stations except Nakano Station are part of the Marunouchi Line, which goes directly to Tokyo Station, Ginza Station, and Ikebukuro Station. Meanwhile, Nakano Station connects to the Chuo Rapid Line -which goes directly to Shinjuku and Tokyo- and Tozai Line, which leads to areas of Chiba prefecture.
With a station always within walking distance, Nakano is a truly convenient place to live in.
2. A cooperative education environment
There is always a school or two nearby each of the aforementioned stations. With the number of elementary schools in the area, the community is especially putting effort into making the students’ transition from pre-school to elementary school smooth by sharing information and encouraging cooperation between the education facilities.
Furthermore, there are also multiple cram schools for entrance examinations. Parents who are considering to enter their children in prestigious schools would have various options to help them in the process.
Nakano is also a popular place for university students. There is a campus for Meiji University and Heisei Teikyo University, while Nakano Station, through the Tozai Line, goes directly to Waseda University. There is also a large dormitory for Waseda’s foreign students in the area.
3. Redevelopment efforts
Nakano has recently undergone a major redevelopment in the northwest, contributing to the area’s urbanization. What used to be a police academy is now “Nakano Shiki no Machi,” a combination of offices, restaurants, shops, and greenery.
“Nakano Central Park” is the area’s symbol, a multi-purpose facility with two office buildings and various trendy restaurants and cafes. The aforementioned “Nakano Shiki No Mori Park” is located in the center of the area.
Due to Nakano’s urbanization, the areas has been increasing its popularity. It was recently ranked third place in the “areas recommended by real estate agents” list, and is expected to attract more people in the near future.
Nakano is friendly to all who come, whether it be students, families, otakus, or tourists. The community’s passion to make the area a warm and appealing place is evident if you take a walk around the area.
In your next trip to Japan, don’t visit Nakano for only the anime goods, but also for the welcoming atmosphere.
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