Main Alley (Photo: Michael Ying)

Exploring Nishi Ogikubo

Visit this small neighborhood for good eats and drinks

Main Alley (Photo: Michael Ying)
Michael Ying   - 3 min read

Nishi Ogikubo is a small district of Suginami-ku in the west part of Tokyo. Located on the popular JR Chuo Line, it's neighboring stations Asagaya, Koenji, and Kichijoji are all well-known for their eclectic mix of art, music, and restaurants. Nishi Ogikubo is often left out of the conversation but the small neighborhood boasts just as much delicious food and great night life as the other stops along the JR Chuo Line.

For starters, right out of the South Exit lies a small back alley with many bars and restaurants much like the Golden Gai area of Shinjuku. A popular go-to is Yakitori Ebisu which has several stalls, one of which is an air-conditioned room. The food is very good and prices are cheap with one stick averaging about 100 yen. The area is also a great place to experience true Japanese life as many locals come to the area to eat after work. There are plenty of other yakitori restaurants on the street to choose from as well.

At the end of the street is the famous pineapple ramen spot, Papapapa Pine. After drinking at the bars, there is no better way to end your night than with a bowl of delicious ramen. The ramen is sweet but not overly so. With a dash of saffron and a hard boiled egg dipped in pineapple juice, this is one unique recipe that won't be found anywhere else.

In the street just parallel to the yakitori alley you'll find a number of small bars, usually big enough for 3 or 4 people each. Wine bars, Snacks (small bar run by a Mama-san), girls bars, and there is even a tiny bar with the entire counter lit by an aquarium! Don't be scared to try any of them, all the bartenders welcome new customers. If a more spacious bar is desired, Bar Kick Ass is only 2 minutes walk down the street. A rock and roll themed bar, the inside is lit by bright pink lights and blacklight decorations. The bartenders are friendly and welcoming, the drinks are a bargain. Just up the road you'll find the polar opposite: a small bookstore that also doubles as a bar.

Whether there is a specific restaurant or area you would like to try, or you feel like exploring a new neighborhood, there a wonderful amount of entertainment in Nishi Ogikubo.

Michael Ying

Michael Ying @michael.ying

Originally from San Francisco, I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and have been living in Tokyo since 2014. I'm currently a photographer and dancer, and spend most of my free time finding new places to eat. I love it here in Tokyo! Insta: mikemisc