Shiinamachi is just one station from Ikebukuro on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. Residences and shops line the streets—an average neighborhood. That averageness is the draw here—the experience of normal life in Tokyo.
Yumi from Hong Kong has come to explore Shiinamachi. The first thing that caught her interest is the shotengai—a street lined with family stores. There are less and less shotengai nowadays, but Shiinamachi still has three.
Shiinamachi is conveniently located for sightseeing all around Tokyo. It’s just 4 minutes by train to Ikebukuro Station, which has eight train lines. Due to such convenience, Shiinamachi is actually well-known to foreign visitors.
The available accommodation is one reason for its popularity. Family Inn Saiko has ranked 4th in popularity on Trip Advisor. Its motto is “your home away from home.” It rings true with the at-home atmosphere and caring hospitality as many guests come again and again. The flags in the picture show where today’s guests are from. They have over 100 country flags ready.
Family Inn Saiko
2-34-16 Nagasaki, Toshima City, Tokyo
Sheena and Ippei is a place you can stay and feel the vibe of the neighborhood. They’ve made good use of the tonkatsu (pork cutlet) shop for a unique exterior. The first floor becomes an izakaya (Japanese tapas bar) on weekend evenings, where you can mingle with the locals in a natural way. Local pâtissiers sell their creations here daily at 4 p.m. Both overnight guests and locals can drop in freely.
Sheena and Ippei
2-12-4 Nagasaki, Toshima City, Tokyo
The exploration of Shiinamachi is nearing its end. Near Shiinamachi Station is Kongohin, a temple boasting 500 years of history. Different flowers and greenery adorn the spacious precinct each season. After paying your respects, take a break at Akamon Terrace Nayuta Cafe. The cafe offers sweets, and temple items like shojin ryori (Japanese Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) are also popular here.
Shingon-shu Buzan-ha Kongohin
1-9-2 Nagasaki, Toshima City, Tokyo
In March 2020, the Toshima Manga Museum (provisional name) will open in Shiinamachi. It is a recreation of Tokiwa-so. Tokiwa-so is the apartment building where “the god of manga” Osamu Tezuka, Fujio F. Fujiko known for Doraemon, and Fujiko Fujio A of Kaibutsu-kun (The Monster Kid) and other titles, spent their youth. Other manga legends lived here as well. Many photo locations are also planned nearby. Shiinamachi is only going to get more interesting. Come take a look!