These are my carefully selected 10 top things to do in Nakano, the secret budget district of Tokyo. I included gems like Koala March pastries, Daily Chico, Namco Arcade, Horumon Yakiniku and where to get a FREE Gyoza dinner to complete an epic afternoon in Tokyo. Subscribe to my channel ► https://bit.ly/2aeuh9b for weekly videos!
Tokyo is overrun by tourism, luckily for you there is an alternative nobody is talking about yet. The Nakano district is just 5 minutes west by train from Shinjuku and a hidden gem in Tokyo. Nakano is famous for being the oldskool Anime, Manga & Gaming mecca compared to the hugely popular Akihabara electronic town district plus is it extremely cozy and welcoming compared to obvious tourist hot spots of Tokyo.
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Nakano is especially great to visit during a rainy day in Tokyo since Nakano’s primary shopping street and the Nakano Broadway complex, which houses 250 stores, are all indoor. Nakano Broadway includes super fun places, super cheap Japanese snack shops, plenty of arcades and comic book stores to keep you entertained throughout the day.
Whoever says Tokyo is expensive is an amateur traveler and is just doing it wrong. Most travelers go to Shinjuku, Shibuya & Ginza which are quite expense. Together with my friends Heather, Kelly and Bobby we enjoyed an incredibly cheap evening food adventures in Nakano.
Start your adventure in Nakano by walking through the Sun Mall shopping street until you end up at the Nakano Broadway complex where you can browse through at least 30 Mandarake store. Mandarake is THE pre-owned comic book dealer of Tokyo since 1987. Every Mandarake store has a different theme. For the most unique Mandarake store head to the 3rd floor where you can enter a special shrine that sells vintage tin toys.
The best part of the Nakano Broadway complex is the basement. Here you’ll find gigantic cheap grocery stores with incredible products ranging from household items to dirt cheap fish and delicious sushi pre-made meals.
Near the back of the basement you’ll find the Daily Chico soft-serve ice cream store that sell this ridiculous 8 flavors, 40-centimeter-tall soft-serve ice cream cone which makes for hilarious selfies and sells for 480 YEN, $4 USD!
In the evening I recommend you explore the extreme cozy back alleys on the east side of the Sun Mall shopping street. This area houses plenty of sake bars, karaoke shops and izakaya’s (Japanese drinking spots) but above all wagyu beef and steak houses. Wagyu is expensive fat marbled beef that will melt on the tip of your tongue. After some digging I found that Horumon Yakiniku offers the best bang for your buck. Their wagyu beef was mouth-watering delicious.
Another place to visit is Terrie’s Dog Cafe. Entrance is FREE but does require you purchase a plain tea or coffee with rates starting at only 300 YEN, $2.80 USD. Terrie’s Dog Cafe is a shelter for rescue dogs so please do the right thing and support these poor little cuties.
My favorite part of Nakano is the atmosphere, it is cozy, friendly and fun, especially on a rainy day. With the massive amounts of indoor shops there is something to do for everyone. Do not hesitate and make the 5-minute train journey just west of Shinjuku main station.
In conclusion, Nakano is the definition of a cheap day in Tokyo. Especially for travelers on a serious budget. Do not pay tourist prices in the obvious tourist districts of Tokyo. Head out of the tourist comfort zone and explore the lesser known areas. You won’t be disappointed!