Oak Explorers: Kugayama
Just 2 minutes to Kichijoji station, and 13 to Shibuya-- and with no transfers. Does such a place exist? Why, yes! On the Inokashira line, in fact! In March 2018, we opened Gran Kugayama on the Inokashira line.
Some Japanese people may feel as though they have heard of Kugayama before, but may not be able to say exactly where. They may be familiar with the many famous sports athletes who have graduated from a certain high school there, called Kokugakuin University Kugayama Junior & Senior High School. But what about actually living there? The Oak Explorers set off to explore and find out!
A perfect place for your first Tokyo room
There is usually a simple rule when trying to find a place to rent in Tokyo: The better the access, the higher the rent. So if you're trying to find the best balance, we think Kugayama earns a spot. Kugayama station is along the Keio Inokashira line, and with comparatively affordable rent prices. That said, you may not be able to get exactly everything you need around Kugayama station...HOWEVER!! Luckily, with no transfers you can easily get to Kichijoji to the west and Shibuya to the east, all quite easily.
To both the north and south of Kugayama station are shopping streets. At the south exit, the street starts with a supermarket, and then there are also Japanese sweets, greengrocers, butchers, and variety shops. Past the end of the street is Tamagawa Waterworks and the Kugayama Hospital. It is a General Hospital, which is convenient.
At the north exit, there are many places to eat and drink, including ramen, Chinese, izakaya, cafes, and more. There is also a drugstore, so you can cover most of the bases you'll need every day.
The first place we went in the south shopping street was Honey's Bagel. It has been in business for 7 years. We definitely got the feeling this place is a local favorite. The staff was very friendly. When we arrived the place was already full, so we took our orders to go. There is a bench in front of the shop where you can sit and observe the local flavor. Toward evening, they tend to sell out, so get there early! :) It's on the opposite side of the station from the house, but we recommend stopping by if you have a chance. Plus there are many other places to find lots of things to eat as you walk around and explore.
Tokyo, Suginami-ku, Kugayama 2-12-8 1F
The Polar Bear of Kugayama
We found this cute signboard, and followed it as it led us to the 2nd floor, to a door with a cute wreath. Hanaiguchi is a restaurant that focuses on mushroom dishes, paired with wine. Hanaiguchi is actually the name of a certain kind of mushroom. On this day, we ordered the lunch menu of beef stroganoff, which comes with a salad and a drink. The dinner menu goes wild with the mushrooms, with a mushroom ajillo and more. Hanaiguchi is just a 2-minute walk from the north exit next to the Peacock supermarket. It's a great place worth the trip to Kugayama alone.
Tokyo, Suginami-ku, Kugayama 4-2-5 2F
So, what do you think of Kugayama? Though it may not have every single thing you may want for convenience, nonetheless it's a great place to live if you like leisurely, small-town down-time. A great place to live on your own, or with another. After all, you're not just living in a new house, you're also living in a new town, and it's fun to make your own local lifestyle. Plus, it is an area with great access to other areas, adding some variety.
Gran Kugayama open March 2018, in Oakhouse's high-class series. We hope you will come see for yourself!