This is a series of the places I have visited in Tokyo when Kless and I were there in October.
Ichigaya 市ヶ谷駅, is an area in the eastern portion of Shinjuku, Tokyo. It’s an area that houses both Hosei University Ichigaya Campus and Chuo University Graduate School. The Ministry of Defense HQ is also situated in Ichigaya.
How to get there
Ichigaya Station is a railway station located in Chiyoda and is served by the JR Chuo Line, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Namboku Line and Toei Shinjuku Line.
Ichigaya is not your tourist spot. But the reason why I am introducing it is because this is where we stayed during our Tokyo trip. This is a peaceful town with mainly students and working adults.
The day when we reached Ichigaya was a public holiday in Tokyo, so the locals were gathered early in the morning for fishing at a fishing pond near the station.
About 15mins walk brought us to the neighbourhood where we spent 4 nights.
According to our lady host, this neighbourhood has a very special history. It ancestors were Ninjas. They built this town in a way with a lot of winding roads, seemingly dead-ends but somehow or rather the roads are all linked. If you are not a part of the village, you will be lost within minutes.
Our accommodation, first floor apartment, 2 separate rooms with 1 kitchen and 1 bathroom.
Single bed room but with more space for walk-about.
We slept in the double-bed room which is smaller. Actually we were the only occupants in the apartment, so doesn’t matter which room we used, we had total privacy.
The small kitchen and bathroom. As you can see, there is even a washing machine for us to use.
The front pouch for us to leave our shoes.
Before we check-in, we took the chance to walk around the town and took some photos.
In Japan, I think there is nothing more than the temples. Everywhere we go, we are bound to see either a small shrine amidst the housing area or a larger one round the corner for the residents to visit and pray for blessings.
This shrine is halfway between our stay and Ichigaya Station.
Just look at the number of stairs to climb before you can pray. That’s why all beliefs requires commitment. You can see an old couple climbing with some difficulty. I was tempted to help them, but was afraid that they may blame me if their prayers were not answered because they did not make the climb on their own.
Every shrine has this small water pond for people to wash their hands and say a little prayer of cleansing.
Lanterns with names of some Japanese.
The garden walls were filled with wooden plaques of blessings and prayer requests.
Many of such plates were hanging even on the trees in the shrine. I think this one is praying for someone to recover soon from their hospital operation.
Every morning when we leave our apartment we will be greeted with various people on the streets. The working class rushing for breakfast or to their office.
Or the Obasans having a morning walk.
Ichigaya’s own shopping area is this street perpendicular to the fishing pond.
Probably due the many students in this area, they even have a 24-hours comic shop. Too bad all the comics are in Japanese and we can’t understand at all, if not it would be very cool to stay up late to read and enjoy a cup of coffee.
Food wise, nothing beats the cheap beef bowl from Matsuya 松屋. This is the cheapest meal you can probably find in Tokyo. For ¥290, you can a small bowl of beef rice with miso soup.
The unique thing about this restaurant is you need to check out the menu outside the shop, then proceed to make your order via the vending machine. Slot in your coins or notes, get a coupon and pass it to the chef and he will return with your meal in about 5mins.
Choose the sauce of your preferences.
The concept is for the busy locals who will usually come in to have their meal and leave in less than 10mins.
Breakfast is also served in the same manner. Kless tried and commented that it was very nice. Sausage, egg, vegetables, a small portion of beef and miso soup for about ¥490.
As for dinner, there is a very popular restaurant along the river opposite Ichigaya Station.
The miso based ramen is one of the best I have ever tried in my life. No joke, I have tried a lot in Singapore and none can be compared to this. It is not served in some fancy nice Japanese bowl (usually found in Singapore Orchard Rd), but the content is enough to win your heart over a 100 times.
Coupled with the amazing gyoza, the set is only ¥790.
Kless ordered an equally nice stirred fried pork. Yummy!
Ichigaya is a quiet town. But looking back, I believe we made the absolute right choice to stay in a local neighbourhood and not in another hotel.