Living in Asagaya: What is it Like for Foreigners?
Are you a tourist or a traveler? You are a tourist if you probably have a carefully planned list of must-go places after hours of browsing the internet looking at picturesque places.
On the other hand, you are a traveler if you are the sort of person who takes the less frequented roads often leading to unexpected experiences that become good stories to tell.
If you identify with the latter, then a trip to Asagaya will satisfy your craving for a more authentic travel experience.
Asagaya – The shopping arcade of Tokyo
Located in Suginami Ward, west of Shinjuku, you will find the shopping arcade of Tokyo. A trip to Asagaya allows you to witness and experience first hand the daily life of a Tokyo local.
It is not what one would call a “touristy” place, but it offers a refreshing experience that cannot be found in more popular and glamorous places in Tokyo.
Asagaya streets are lined with tons of retro-styled shops, basically everything that you are looking for and more is there! Interestingly, just around the corner of this busy shopping arcade, a quiet residential area full of greenery will captivate you and give you a sense of being “at home.”
This retro atmosphere of Asagaya is what lures Japanese and foreigners alike to live in the area. Unlike the central areas of Tokyo, this area is cozy and laid back, a perfect place to go home to after a hard day’s work.
- From Tokyo Station, take the Chuo Rapid Line to Asagaya Station (approx. 22 minutes)
- From Shibuya Station, take the Yamanote Line to Shinjuku Station, and transfer to the Chuo Special Rapid Line to Asagaya Station (approx. 25 minutes)
- From Shinjuku Station, take the Chuo Special Rapid Line until you reach Asagaya Station (approx. 8 minutes)
The Pearl Center
Right outside the South Exit of Asagaya Station, you will find this 650-meter retro-styled shotengai (shopping district). Streets are lined up with diverse shops that offer different kinds of goods. You can find clothing items, daily essentials, souvenirs, food, and other unique finds at affordable prices!
Walking along the streets of this shotengai allows you to observe and experience the everyday life of a Tokyo local. The streets are always lively because there are a lot of friendly interactions between shopkeepers and locals.
If you happen to visit this place in August, you will also witness the Tanabata Festival where papier-mache puppets are exhibited outside the shops. Make sure to visit this place to have an enjoyable shopping and delicious food experience.
- Address: 1 Asagayaminami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
- Directions: From Asagaya Station, take the South Exit, walk directly ahead until you reach destination (approx. 5 minutes)
Asagaya Anime Street
Literally beneath a set of railway tracks, you will find the Asagaya Anime Street. This shopping center was built in 2014 as a government effort to further the promotion of Suginami as the center of the anime industry. This place features anime-themed shops.
Although not as big and flashy as the more popularly known anime hotspot of Akihabara, Asagaya Anime Street has a distinct cozy vibe that appeals to people who geek out to relax.
The street is pretty lowkey with dim lighting but what stands out from this place is a collab cafe called Shirobaco where anime fans can bond and have a surreal experience of being inside an anime studio.
- Address: 2-40-1 Asagayaminami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
- Directions: From Asagaya Station, travel on foot until you reach the destination (approx. 6 minutes).
Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine
A 2-minute walk from Asagaya Station would take you to the Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine, a Shinto shrine that is believed to be founded during 114 CE. This the perfect place if you are looking for a place that you can recharge your energy.
The perfect time to visit this place is during late March or early April when cherry blossoms are normally in full bloom. You will also catch them celebrating a cherry blossom party called Kan-okai where dances and songs are performed, and free sake and food is served.
- Address: 1-1-25-5 Asagayakita, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
- Directions: From Asagaya Station, travel on foot until you reach the destination (approx. 2 minutes)
Why foreigners live in Asagaya
The quiet and cozy environment
Asagaya is a suburban area full of greenery that would instantly give you a cozy feel. Upon arrival to this not-quite-touristy place, foreigners get a glimpse of how a local normally spends his/her day. Thus, they can adjust with ease.
Asagaya is definitely the perfect place for foreigners who are looking for a peaceful residential area.
Accessibility of shops
There is an enormous number of shops that provide residents their everyday needs. Just a short walk from Asagaya Station will take you to the busy streets where shopping arcades can be found as well as restaurants and cafes that offer delicious meals.
Easy accessibility of these shops will make living in this place a heavenly experience.
It is also easy to travel around Tokyo. Connected to the highly convenient Chuo Line, Asagaya Station is minutes away from central areas such as Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station.
Cheap cost of living and foreigner-friendly area
There are foreigner-friendly apartments with affordable rates that locals offer in Asagaya.
Asagaya also openly supports multicultural coexistence. Suginami City established a foreigner support desk called Association for Cultural Exchange that aims to support foreign residents, particularly in Asagaya to ensure that they will have a comfortable living experience.
You will be able to live comfortably in this open environment.
Although Asagaya is a place that offers a unique travel experience, it is more suitable for people who are looking for a place that they can stay for good.
Moving to Asagaya would prove to be a hassle-free experience and adjusting is made easy due to its cozy, homey environment ensuring new foreign residents a vibrant and comfortable living experience.
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If you have any questions or would like to arrange a viewing, please feel free to contact us!