Eifukucho – Relish Japanese Culture at This Quiet Stop Along the Keio Inokashira Line

The small yet convenient Keio Inokashira Line connects popular sightseeing destinations such as Shibuya, Shimokitazawa, and Kichijoji, but located right in the middle of this beloved line is an endearing town that is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the Tokyo metropolis. For this edition of our “Area of Japan” series, we ventured to Eifukucho, a quiet residential area on the Keio Inokashira Line, to enjoy elements of Japanese culture at little-known spots as we savored the tranquil atmosphere of this sleepy neighborhood.

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

Eifukucho - Enjoy Retro Japan Vibes at This Quiet Stop Near Shibuya

After stepping off the train at Eifukucho Station along the Keio Inokashira Line, we made our way past the ticket gates to a small courtyard located in front of the station. Surrounded by low-rise buildings housing cafes and other shops, the scenery spreading out around the station looked like it came straight from a retro Japanese movie. Although only a stone’s throw away from popular districts such as Shibuya, Shimokitazawa, and Kichijoji, Eifukucho is enveloped in a charming atmosphere and offers a peek into daily life in Japan.

Hardly a tourist destination, the streets were traversed by local students, workers, and families flitting in and out of the surrounding shops and going on with their days. It was refreshing to feel disconnected from the fast pace of high-pressure city life, and we slowly made our way past the fading awnings and retro shop signs as we headed toward the day’s destinations.

Looking to stay near the iconic and convenient Shibuya Station? Check out Shibuya Tokyu REI Hotel, which is only a 1-minute walk from the station!

Marusan Kajitsu - Indulge in Fresh Takes on a Delicious Traditional Japanese Sweet

Leaving the rumbling of the train tracks behind us, we walked a short distance from Eifukucho Station and turned onto a narrow street to find the pastel exterior of Marusan Kajitsu, decorated with pictures advertising its alluring line-up of sweet treats.

Founded by a 200-year-old Japanese sweet shop, Marusan Kajitsu specializes in “warabi mochi,” a chewy Japanese sweet made from bracken starch. Warabi mochi has been beloved in the country for centuries, and is even believed to have already been favored by Japanese royalty during the Heian period (794 - 1185). 

Although warabi mochi is commonly eaten topped with the traditional Japanese ingredient “kinako” (roasted soybean flour), upon entering the shop, we were greeted by adorable displays of warabi mochi lining the warm wooden counter that showcased tantalizing fillings including various kinds of fruit and beloved traditional Japanese flavors such as chestnut.

Marusan Kajitsu employs seasonal fruits for most of its fillings, working directly with farms to secure fresh, high-quality fruit. Although we deliberated among the numerous mouthwatering options, the day we visited, our eyes were drawn to the succulently plump strawberry, as well as the unusual “peach pineapple” which was imported from Iriomote Island in Okinawa Prefecture. The warabi mochi has a slightly chewy texture and faint flavor which allows the sweetness of the bean paste and juicy fruit it is filled with to shine through, all-in-all being delicious, handheld-size treats that we easily devoured.

Marusan Kajitsu also offers drinks that include bits of warabi mochi. Eager for a cool drink on this sunny spring day, we mulled over indulging in the available Warabi Mochi Matcha Latte or the Warabi Mochi Fruit Soda. Noticing us debating between the two, the staff warmly recommended the soda, informing us that it is particularly popular during the hot summer months. With no further persuasion needed, we added that to our order of warabi mochi. The refreshing soda was packed with both fresh and frozen seasonal fruit, and the bits of warabi mochi in the soda offered a sensation similar to tapioca pearls, adding an extra delightfully chewy texture.

You’ll need reservations while in Japan. See our writers’ top picks!

Omiya Hachimangu Shrine - Bask in the Serene Atmosphere of a Magnificent Shrine

We kept walking farther from the station until we saw the first solemn red torii gate of Omiya Hachimangu Shrine standing in bright contrast against the verdure. Towering at eight meters tall, its magnificent presence exuded mysticality and beckoned us to the serene shrine grounds.

Established in 1063, Omiya Hachimangu Shrine is the third largest shrine in Tokyo’s 23 wards, and yet is enveloped in a peaceful atmosphere gifted by the luscious greenery surrounding it. Particularly famous for giving blessings for safe births, the shrine is frequented by families, and the charms sold at the shrine focus on safe births, child-rearing, and traffic safety.

We took our time walking up the shrine path, distracted by the light filtering through the bamboo and illuminating the surrounding traditional buildings such as a Japanese tea house, and finally made our way through the shrine gate to take in the majesty of the main shrine hall.

Though decorated with shimmering golden details, the natural wooden facade of the main hall helps it seamlessly blend into the tree-filled background, creating a space that feels far removed from central Tokyo. We took in every sound that echoed through the grounds, from the gravel crunching beneath our feet to the leaves rustling in the wind and the shrine bell clanging as visitors rang it.

There is much to find around the vast grounds, and we lost track of the time as we explored every nook and cranny. The soundtrack to our visit also included the breeze gently rattling the hanging prayer tablets and paper fortunes, emphasizing the mystical atmosphere. Enthralling sights awaited us at every turn, including torii gates standing in front of smaller shrines throughout the precincts, offering a calming escape from reality.

*Pictures were taken with permission from Omiya Hachimangu Shrine. Pictures are generally not permitted within the shrine gate without permission.

Must-visit site for your Japan trip! Book hotels, tours, and experiences here.

Arimaya Koori Ten - Savor Luxurious Servings of Shaved Ice, Japan’s Beloved Summertime Treat

Snugly tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood, our only hint of Arimaya Koori Ten’s existence was the iconic “ice” (氷) flag frequently seen at shaved ice shops flying above the fence. While offering mouth watering sweets such as pudding and tantalizing savory dishes such as curry throughout the year, for several months from May onwards (even lasting until October), Arimaya Koori Ten serves glistening mounds of finely shaved ice flavored with fruit, matcha, and other premium flavors.

With deep roots in Japanese culture, shaved ice is a staple during the summer in Japan, and can even be traced back to the Heian period. Nowadays, brightly colored mounds of ice can be seen enjoyed by festival goers and popping up at restaurants around the country when the weather gets warmer.

As we had a full day of bathing in the sun’s rays as we explored Eifukucho, we were excited to get to cool down with an icy treat. After moving through the narrow passageway alongside the building, we found ourselves in a serene garden in front of a Japanese-style house surrounded by greenery.

The tranquil interior of Arimaya Koori Ten is furnished with only so many seats (which are filled by reservation), so we were able to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and enter into our own little world. Many make their way to this little hideaway for its incredible quality of sweets and relaxing views of the garden, and as soon as we made our way to our seats in front of the window, we knew we would have trouble leaving. 

After mulling over the various shaved ice flavors available, ranging from fruit to traditional Japanese flavors such as kinako, we settled on golden kiwi and Uji matcha green tea. From the first bite, we were blown away by both the taste and texture of the shaved ice. The ice is finely shaved, so it is soft and melts as soon as it hits your tongue, letting the sumptuous flavors spread throughout your mouth. Arimaya Koori Ten changes its flavors throughout the season, and the owner is particular about their sources, employing seasonal fruits and other high-quality ingredients.

There is unsurprisingly a stark difference between Arimaya Koori Ten’s luscious toppings and the common syrups seen on shaved ice. The natural sweetness of the golden kiwi shone and had a hint of tartness, while the grassy Uji matcha paired fantastically with the red bean paste and mochi balls served alongside it. We savored every bite of the shaved ice as we gazed upon the garden and embraced the silence occasionally interrupted by the rustling of the plants. We’re already planning our next visit to try other flavors that appear on the menu!  


Find Hidden Gems of Japanese Tradition in Eifukucho

Though not far from bustling areas such as Shibuya, the quiet neighborhood of Eifukucho offers an escape from hectic city life. Home to many hidden gems that highlight the wonders of Japanese culture, it is a destination that is perfect for those looking for a peek into everyday Japanese life. Although we only touched the tip of the iceberg, there are many more charming stops in Eifukucho that exude Japanese tradition and culture, hidden from prying eyes and only for those in the know!

If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you'd really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!

Kanto Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

tsunagu Japan Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and we'll show you the best Japan has to offer!

Subscribe Now!

About the author

Kim S.
  • Tons of tips from tsunaguJapan writers for a memorable Japan trip!

Restaurant Search

Sign up to our free newsletter to discover the best Japan has to offer.