This is part 2 of a post about Nakano. I recommend reading part 1 first if you have not already done so.
Halfway between Koenji and Nakano stations I paused as a train flew past overhead to have a drink and rehydrate.
There were some seriously nice old houses along here which was a nice preview of what I was going to see soon. It reminded me a lot of Yanaka.
I soon arrived at Nakano station and found myself looking at Nakano Broadway.
Nakano Broadway is a long (very long...) undercover shopping mall on what I guess used to be a regular street. It has a lot of regular shops, but also a lot of anime, manga, idol and fantasy figurines. Akihabara is the hotspot for this subculture, but Nakano Broadway has a fairly impressive offering of these shops as well. Forgive me for not taking photos of a lot of these shops, but that was not the purpose of my visit to Nakano, but I did take a few photos on the walk along the Broadway. This particular day was a Sunday so there were quite a few people out.
Lots of clothes shops, restaurants, cafes and even a maid cafe where the staff dress up in outfits resembling black cats........
Well, I guess Japan has a large enough population to cater for these niche markets! The guy looking in the door was obviously part of that niche!
As I had walked along Broadway, I had noticed some places outside, off to the right-hand side that looked like what I had come to Nakano looking for, so, out to the right I went.
Now, this is what I had come for!
Much better! Little alleyways snaking their way around Nakano lined with uncountable small restaurants, izakayas, yakitori (grilled chicken on a stick), bars and who knows what else! I thought, okay, here is my next couple of hours booked! So I started roaming the streets of Nakano, spending almost the entire next 2 hours with my jaw dragging on the ground in amazement. I have a friend, Mikey, who lives in Nakano and I messaged him telling him that he lives in an awesome neighbourhood! (Mikey has a youtube channel where he does videos about the game Minecraft with a Japanese theme, so if you are into Minecraft, you can find his channel here).
Let me allow some of the pictures to tell the story much better than my words could ever do.
Some kind of izakaya (I think),
okonomiyaki (hiroshima style, the best.....),
monjayaki (Tokyo's version of okonomiyaki),
yakitori, oh, delicious, smokey yakitori,
500 yen ($5) pizza (and 500 yen pizza is pretty good in Japan!),
and another small little open-air izakaya.
The alleys kept on going and going. If I didn't have my smartphone with me and Google maps, I would have surely wandered around the alleys of Nakano for weeks, not being able to find my way out, but was I ever loving it!
This guy looked like he had been roaming the streets lost for weeks....
Suddenly I saw something that stopped me dead.......
An Australian bar? I stood there stunned for about thirty seconds not able to move. In the middle of Nakano I had stumbled across an Australian bar. Unfortunately it was not yet open, so I had to find somewhere else to kill some time so I wandered off and found another little bar and wandered in.
Inside, I messaged Mikey and told him of my find and he suggested waiting there until he arrived and he would join me for a beer at the Australian place. When he arrived, we walked back to the bar and went inside. The name of the bar is Meatoco and it's facebook page is here. The owner, Yasuhito told us that he had set up the bar one year ago and had lived in Melbourne, Australia for a while when he was a university student.
So we ordered ourselves a Coopers pale ale and a meat pie and enjoyed this little patch of Oz right here in Japan.
Satisfied, I left Mikey to head home while I walked back to the station to do the same.
I thoroughly recommend heading to Nakano when you visit Tokyo as it's alleys are an opportunity to immerse yourself in an older, much less visited side of Japanese life.
Thanks again for reading. If anyone has any places they would like to read about, feel free to leave a message and I will see if I can do so.
Until next time, bye.