20 Recommended Destinations to Enjoy the Charms of Western Tokyo!
Western Tokyo is not as famous as the 23 wards of central Tokyo, but there are many sightseeing spots that are popular with foreign tourists. Western Tokyo is richer in nature than central Tokyo and has many peaceful spots such as Shinto shrines and parks. There are also many places to enjoy local food at reasonable prices, so everyone should check it out when they get the chance.
Sep 19 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
10 Recommended Destinations in Western Tokyo
1. Tamarokuto Science Center
Tamarokuto Science Center has exhibitions and laboratories where visitors can enjoy hands-on learning about science through sight and touch. It has a planetarium that was renovated in 2012, which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for its number of stars. There is also a museum shop and cafe on site, so you can visit for both an educational and relaxing time.
There is a wide variety of science-related experiences on offer, so even small children can be entertained. A visit at the center will hopefully encourage more interest in science, and this center the perfect place for children who have summer research projects.
2. Tanashi Shrine
Tanashi Shrine is a popular Shinto shrine, regarded as a spiritually powerful spot. It is not large, but the shrine has sacred trees and a sumo wrestling ring. The station is also nearby so it is easily accessible and there is a parking lot if you plan to arrive by car.
There are five dragons enshrined at Tanashi Jinja, and it is said that one can reap good luck by paying respects in order of the Golden Dragon, Black Dragon, Red Dragon, White Dragon, and finally, the Blue Dragon. Many other deities, such as Benten and Ebisu, are also enshrined, so why not visit and gain some good fortune from all of them?
3. DyDo Drinco Ice Arena
DyDo Drinco Ice Arena is an unassuming structure right near Higashi-Fushimi Station. It was originally built for ice hockey games but is now open to the public for ice skating as well.
When there are no ice hockey games, anyone can go and skate at the arena. It is a professional-grade rink, so there is high-quality ice, which makes it easier for beginners. This is a rink that both experienced ice skaters and beginners can enjoy.
4. Higashi Fushimi Inari Shrine
Higashi Fushimi Inari Shrine is a Shinto shrine that was built in cooperation with the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. Like Fushimi Inari Shrine, it has 1000 torii gates so if you don't have the opportunity to visit Kyoto, you can see just as many gates here. The goshuin (temple seal) are written in advance, but they are beautifully handwritten.
What a delight to be able to see 1000 torii gates in western Tokyo! It is such a treat to be able to experience them without going all the way to Kyoto. This shrine is especially recommended for people who wish to experience them in a different atmosphere.
5. Koganei Park
Koganei Park is a spacious park located on the banks of Tama River. It has a variety of areas that are enjoyed by people of all ages, including a cherry blossom tree area, plaza, archery range, and steam locomotive exhibit. 40% of the park was lost after a war, but it was reopened as a municipal park in 1954.
There are various areas in the park to enjoy activities such as tennis, archery, and soccer. There are many cherry blossoms to see in the spring, so it is a perfect place for picnics.
6. Koganei Cheesecake
Koganei Cheesecake is a cheesecake shop in Koganei City that sells cheesecakes that are much healthier than most. It is visited by many people who seek out their innovative cheesecakes.
The cheesecakes are made with no additives and have low sugar content so that even people on a diet can enjoy them. They may be healthy, but they do not compromise on flavor. Why not try these wonderful additive-free and tasty cheesecakes?
7. Tama Lake Cycling Road
Tama Lake Cycling Road is a cycling road that starts from the crossing at 5-chome, Sekimae in Musashino City. It is a bike and pedestrian lane that leads directly to Lake Tama, wide enough to feel safe and comfortable.
This road is highly recommended for people who like to cycle and enjoy a relaxing ride while taking in the scenery. There are no sharp hills, so beginners can enjoy it as well. It is also a wonderful idea for a date, to enjoy the beautiful nature with a special someone.
8. Giant Mailbox of Kodaira
There are 37 traditional round mailboxes in the city of Kodaira, including a giant one near RUNE Kodaira Cultural Center. The city of Kodaira promotes itself as the "city of round mailboxes" and there are many people who take photographs of the impressive mailboxes.
The Giant Mailbox of Kodaira is so large that you will have to look up to see it in its entirety. It is 2.8m high, and tall enough that even adults need to reach up to touch the slot. It has become a popular photo spot to take surreal pictures of people appearing to have shrunk beside it. Why not go and take a look at the symbol of Kodaira City?
9. Akabane Hachiman Shrine
Akabane Hachiman Shrine is a Shinto shrine where the Tohoku Joetsu bullet train runs just below. It was called Akabanezan Hachimangu until the beginning of the Showa Era (1926 - 1989). It was unheard of for a bullet train to run under a sacred spot, but that is how it was ultimately constructed. This incident was widely reported in the media, making the shrine a popular tourist destination.
The pattern of the goshuin seal at this shrine changes by month. On your birthday month you can receive a seal with a "happy birthday" stamp, so if you are collecting goshuin seals, be sure to try get one then. The seals are very cute, so they may even spark an interest in non-collectors.
5 Recommended Spots Near Stations in Western Tokyo
1. PARCO Hibarigaoka Branch
PARCO Hibarigaoka Branch is a large shopping mall located right in front of Hibarigaoka Station. There are many shops inside where you can enjoy food as well as shopping. You can even stop by the supermarket to buy ingredients for dinner.
The mall has a wide variety of shops, including a supermarket, bookstore, electrical appliances store, pet shop, clothing stores, and cafes. It is a convenient place to pick up anything you might be missing, and is the perfect mall for those who don't know where to start.
2. DAILIES CAFE Higako
DAILIES CAFE Higako is a cafe opened by an interior furnishings store located a few minutes by foot from Koganei Station. The cafe's interior is meticulously designed to create a relaxing atmosphere. There are many menu items that are unique to the cafe, and there is also an area that sells a variety of goods.
You can enjoy a full meal at the cafe, in addition to shopping. There is a wide selection of stylish interior items on sale, so this place is recommended for those with an interest in interior design or want to add something stylish to their homes.
3. Soji Temple
Soji Temple is a temple of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism. It is affectionately referred to as Tanashi Fudoson and beloved by locals. The temple has a convenient location, around five minutes from Tanashi Station.
Soji Temple is a stately temple surrounded by nature. The Japanese zelkova tree in particular is worth a look. The tall and thick tree has an absolute presence that may render you speechless. In fact, its impressive stature has made it a symbol of the area. This is a great temple to visit if you are looking for a sense of calm or to feel the power of nature.
4. Inokashira Park Zoo
Inokashira Park Zoo is divided into a Zoo Area and Aquatic Life Park, each of which offers the opportunity to observe a variety of different creatures. It is located just a few minutes by foot from Kichijoji Station and is easy to access. There is also a small amusement park in the Zoo Area with 100 yen rides.
There are no large animals in the Zoo Area, so it has a heartwarming and relaxed atmosphere. The sight of the squirrels moving about swiftly on the Squirrel Trail towards the center is adorable and soothing. The zoo is designed so that young children can also enjoy it, so this is a great place for families to visit.
5. Musashino Place
Musashino Place is a large library in front of Musashi-Sakai Station. There are study rooms on the third and fourth floors, and the interior has a roomy feel. The library has a wide selection of books and is characterized by its relaxing design.
This is a little-known gem recommended for those who want to relax and read a book or study. The lighting is indirect, so you can comfortably sit down and spend some quiet time. This stylish library is unlike most libraries, so be sure to check it out.
5 Hidden Gems of Western Tokyo
1. Hibari Terrace 118
Hibari Terrace 118 is a community center that everyone is welcome to use, and not just the residents. There are six community spaces of different sizes that can be used for a variety of activities for work and hobbies. There is also a community garden and plaza.
At Hibari Terrace 118, you can interact with other visitors and get to know the local residents. You can also enjoy a meal, plant things, and even share cars together. This place is highly recommended for its welcoming and homey atmosphere.
2. Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is a popular spot with exhibits of buildings from the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods. There are even some houses of famous people from history. At the museum, you can experience an atmosphere like that of the famous movie, Always: Sunset on Third Street. There are volunteer guides who can also give you guided tours for a better learning experience.
Old buildings are retained as they originally were, lending the museum a nostalgic feel. You may feel as if you have traveled back in time as you catch a glimpse of how people lived in the past. This place is highly recommended for people who like history, so be sure to visit.
3. Nishi Tokyo City Local History Museum
Nishi Tokyo City Local History Museum is a museum where items that were unearthed in Nishi Tokyo City are exhibited. The museum is built in a part of a school that was closed, so you can simultaneously enjoy feeling as though you are attending a school festival. There is a wide selection of exhibits, including dioramas.
There is a homey feel to the museum, so you can relax as you enjoy walking through it. It is filled with the history of Nishi Tokyo City, so if you are a history buff, this is a recommended place to visit.
4. Shitanoya Iseki Park
Shitanoya Iseki Park was built to commemorate a large village from the Jomon Period, which is said to have been nearby. There is a plaque in the park that explains its history, so be sure to visit if you are in the neighborhood.
The park has been designated as a historic site by the Japanese government, but you can walk around freely. There are signboards with information about the Jomon Period and the park located in various places, so history lovers are recommended to take a stroll through it. This is a little-known spot, so you can relax, take your time, and enjoy interacting with history.
5. The University of Tokyo Tanashi Forest
The University of Tokyo Tanashi Forest is a forest managed by the University of Tokyo for experiments, and is located within Nishi Tokyo Ikoi no Mori Park. There is a bus to get there from the station, but it can be reached on foot as well. Part of the the park is open to the public and is a wonderful place to experience nature up close.
The sunflower maze is especially famous and is free to enter. It is not very large, but you can enjoy a relaxing walk with a view of tall sunflowers. It is a great place to visit, even with small children, to enjoy nature.
Rediscover the Charm of Western Tokyo and Revel in Its Nature and History!
This article introduced some recommended tourist destinations in western Tokyo. Were there any that piqued your interest? From the latest favorites to little-known gems, these spots all are highly recommended. In western Tokyo, you can spend a relaxing time away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy its many charming historical and nature spots. If you want to take a relaxing walk or are interested in learning more about the history of Japan, why not give western Tokyo a visit?
Header Image: Zainuri Hanif / Shutterstock
Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.