Nakano is a perfect destination for those looking for a bowl of ramen and a place to relax. The neighborhood sits a 10-minute ride on the JR Sobu line from Shinjuku — or an even swifter 4 minutes using the Chuo Line.
The ramen stores in the area really stand out, offering a wide variety of variations on the beloved dish. When you factor in the greater Higashi-Nakano station, one stop away from Nakano proper, it’s a noodle lover’s dream come true.
SLURP IT UP
Nakano has so much good ramen, as well as stores featuring atmospheres rich with character. A brief walk from Naknao station’s south exit, Saikoro not only serves up a delicious bowl of ramen, but the store’s hip-hop soundtrack gives it a unique feeling (plus, upstairs you can get a ramen burger, if that’s your thing).
Saikoro’s unique ‘ramen diner’ vibe
On other side of the station, enjoy a more traditional setting and thicker noodles at Chuka Soba Aoba, while nearby Mitaseimenjo does a particularly nice tsukemen for under ¥1000. Barasobaya, meanwhile, offers up the area’s best tonkotsu variety.
Anyone else hungry?
For those willing to walk a little further out — or ride the train a whole two more minutes to Higashi-Nakano station — two of the area’s best ramen joints await. Kaedeya makes the most of your yen, with lunch and dinner sets consisting of ramen, chashu-don (the meat in ramen served over rice), a salad and drink for about ¥700.
A few steps away is Koujitsu, a lovely ramen store set in what looks like a family’s living room. Don’t let the vibe trick you though — they serve up some tasty noodles, and have appeared in Michelin guides for their grub.
CHILL IN THE PARK
You could spend all day walking around Nakano and feel fine, but it’s always worth slowing down and sprawling out for a bit, especially when the weather is nice. The neighborhood features no shortage of great parks to just relax in.
Nakano Central Park, on the north side of the station behind the ward office and Sun Plaza Hotel, features a lot of room to stretch out in.
A LOT of room
Stop in at Good Morning Cafe for a cup of coffee or filling burger, or grab some healthy juice at DNS Cafe. During the warmer months, food trucks often park around the area, while you can also enjoy a beer garden in the summer.
Even further north is Tetsugakudo Park, which has more of a traditional feel to it than the modern Central Park. All sorts of classic Japanese structures, including pagodas and gates, can be found there, all set in a peaceful place that feels miles away from the bustle of the city.
It’s especially breathtaking in spring, when the cherry blossoms bloom. It’s a popular destination come April, but the gorgeous sights are worth the crowds.
So whether you’re searching for a hardy noodle set or a nice spot to settle in the shade, Nakano has you covered.