Thursday 18 September 2014

An evening of surprises - Nakano (part 2)

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. 


  1. Hi Jason,
    Perhaps these are the best street scenes I have seen so far, walking tours of various districts.They really capture the "magic" of what I recall...especially in the evening.I wonder what they sell at Kuroneco..?(black cat). Interesting romaji..I would have thought they would have used a "k" rather than a "c" for the neko part.I have been to Himeji twice and Himeji jo is certainly worth a visit.In springtime it is surrounded by sakura.It is about a 15 minute walk up the nice main street,that leads directly from the eki.Just out of town there is a chairlift to a temple,where I believe Tom Cruise did a scene for the "Last Samurai".I went there...the local city bus will take you right there.It is possibly worth a visit if you have time to spare..I found it so.There is also a very old sake brewery there as well that I visited and the young lady who showed me around, spoke excellent English.
    Hard to beat a Cooper's Pale Ale.I have some in the fridge.
    Nakano certainly seems like good place to roam around,especially knowing you can enjoy some South Aussie beer.How was the pie?...hard to beat a good pie if you can find one!
    Can't understand why Paddy Ryder is thinking of leaving the Dons.Hope he stays!All the best,Noel.

    1. Hi Noel,
      you are right, the street scenes here capture the essence of what these places represent. The people were friendly also. They didn't seem to mind if I was just taking photos and not buying anything.
      Kuroneco would be simply a theme cafe where you would go to enjoy cakes, coffee, tea etc served by cute young girls dressed in a cat costume whose job it is to wait on you hand and foot!
      Thanks for the information about Himeji, I will make sure I take it with me when I do manage to get there.
      The pie was pretty good. I hadn't had one for one and a half years, so it went down rather nicely!
      I agree with you about Ryder. I get the feeling that the Bombers are going to have a hell of a year next year and if he moves, he will forever regret it.
      Take care,


    Jason.this website of the Nadagiku Sake Brewery may help.As it is old/traditional...perhaps unique in some ways,with a large restaurant area and nice bottle shop.Noel.

  3. The statue of the half naked DragonBall Z looking fellow always scares me on my way home. I always forget it's there and think it's a real life drunk person. Freaks me out.

    But I do love the little side alleys. It's a nice reprieve from the busy metropolis that is downtown Tokyo. We should go back to the Aussie bar sometime to try his kangaroo/crocodile steak. I'm curious...

    1. That was kind of the reaction I had too!!
      That reprieve that you talk about, I love places in Tokyo like that. Places where you can just forget that you are in Tokyo. Inokashira Park and Meiji jingu are both like that too.
      Definitely a return visit is on the cards!