Koenji is a hip, laidback neighborhood west of central Tokyo that many local creative and artists call home. A great place to come for a day of shopping and cheap eats.
NA House – This house, famous for its modern design by Sou Fujimoto, is located a few blocks from the main shopping area in Koenji, on an otherwise unassuming residential street. Its privately owned so you cant go inside or anything, but it is cool to see and great for an instagram haha. If you search NA House on Google maps it will pop up.
Kita-Kore Building – This crazy, ramshackle collection of vintage stores looks like it could fall apart at any minute. There are multiple little stores crammed into the makeshift mini mall and they are all just as strange as the structure they reside in. Don’t miss Hayatochiri, which sells all kinds of weird “clothing” like sweaters with stuffed animals glued all over them.
Safari- High end vintage shop selling a lot of classic American workwear imports. Think unworn vintage Levis, bomber jackets, workshirts etc.
Slut- Worth visiting for the name alone but this trendy shop also has a great range of vintage clothing. Stick to the front of the shop for cheaper finds and head to the back for the more expensive, rare pieces.
Drodd Toys – Easily one of the coolest toy stores we have ever been too, this tiny shop is literally crammed full of toys. Drodd stocks everything from power rangers figurines, to care bears, to barbies, to millennium falcon replicas, the list goes on. Its fun to try to hunt for your favorite childhood toy among the thousands of action figures.
Coffee Amp – This tiny shop was one of the early birds to the Tokyo coffee culture scene when it opened in 2010. Now, it is still a great option for great coffee and in-house-roasted beans. There isn’t much seating, just a few bar stools, so we recommend taking your coffee to go and sipping it as you explore the neighborhood.
Tensuke – The experience is just as memorable as the food at this tiny 8-seat tempura joint. They don’t have an English menu but pretty much everyone gets the same thing, the tempura coursed meal which comes with a variety of seafood, vegetable, and egg tempura. The friendly chefs fry it up right in front of you and sometimes will put on something of a show for the customers, flinging batter about and throwing egg shells over their shoulders.
Taiyou – Unassuming but very popular little ramen place. Come here for a great bowl of miso ramen and some oversized gyoza on the side.
Daily Chico – Although not technically in Koenji, this soft serve ice cream stand is in the basement of a mall that is only a 15-minute walk away in nearby Nakano. They offer standard cone options but most people visit for their famous 8-layer soft serve cone. They combine all 8 of their flavors onto one cone and hand you a precariously tall, rainbow colored treat. Not all of the flavors are winners but its worth it for the photos alone haha.