Do you always follow the guidebook for sightseeing when traveling abroad? Isn’t it fun to explore the areas that a guidebook never mentions? Otsuka is a place you can experience exploring a local area, and act like a local resident!
I guess you must have heard of Ikebukuro? A town in Tokyo where gathers crowds of people for its lots of tourists spots. But in this article, we are going to introduce the town next to Ikebukuro, Otsuka. There are resident districts and traditional shopping streets in the town. When you walk around there, it seems like you can meet lots of local residents who have various living styles. If you are interested in getting closer to the local people living in Tokyo, how about staying in Otsuka?
A hidden spot next to Ikebukuro, the popular tourist spot
Among so many tourist attractions in Tokyo, Ikebukuro is so popular that every guidebook must mention it, introducing the trendy fashion there, the animation goods, the amusement parks, etc… You can almost do anything, buy anything in Ikebukuro. So it is not hard to imagine how famous this place is. But Ikebukuro is not the place to introduce here. The town next to the famous Ikebukuro, Otsuka, is the place to introduce in this article.
Easy access to anywhere from Otsuka
Otsuka station is on Yamanote line, which is one of the major railway lines connecting most of the urban centres in Tokyo. So from Otsuka station, you can get to almost all the popular spots by just one train. For example, It is only 3 minutes from Ikebukuro by train. Apart from Yamanote line, Otsuka station is also on Metro line, so it is easy to get to the Marunouchi area too. Although it is not a town recommended in guidebooks, as a tourist, you must be surprised at its convenience to access to the main tourist attractions.
The warm and friendly atmosphere which makes your feel calm
In Ikebukuro, there are crowds of commercial buildings standing close to each other. Whereas in Otsuka, what you will see are the resident districts where you feel peaceful. Right in front of the station, there are of course some massive commercial buildings. But if you walk a little bit farther, you can feel the smell of Showa, an era 20-30 years ago, lingering in the air. You might think that Showa is a period of a long time ago, and it means Otsuka is very old-fashioned. But in fact, it is not the case. The Showa era is well-known for taking a big step in development and hence it is not old-fashioned at all. As many towns in Tokyo has become commercial districts, there are not many towns left where you can feel the real Tokyo. Don’t miss the chance to deeply experience the real Tokyo in Otsuka!
In Otsuka, you won’t find any eye-catching banners or staff yelling to attract customers as in Ikebukuro. That’s why Otsuka is such a perfect place where you feel calm and peaceful. It has become very common that staff yell to attract customers in popular areas, including not only Ikebukuro, but Shibuya and Shinjuku also. Meanwhile in Otsuka, you can enjoy the silence and feel comfortable while chilling out in this area.
Shopping streets rooted in lifestyles of local residents
Not far from the station, there are some shopping streets which are famous among local residents. Speaking of shopping streets, if you go to the business districts in Ikebukuro or Shinjuku, you can see there are lots of chain restaurants lining. You probably will not talk to the staff in chain restaurant. But in Otsuka, the restaurants are generally independent. The shop owners enjoy having good relationship with customers. They know each other and customers feel warm when talking with shop owners. Instead of money, such shops concern the concept of “cooperation” a lot. So it is not hard to find independent shops pricing lower than chain stores. You may end up spending less than to visit popular tourist spots!
Some independent restaurants may offer “kodawari”(こだわり) which chain restaurants do not offer. “Kodawari” is an exclusive dish which is changed over time. Order a “kodawari” and guess what you will have!
The restaurants in the shopping streets in Otsuka usually open at 11am. They serve lunch until 2pm, and are closed temporarily between 2pm and 4pm. After 4pm, the restaurants are open again. There are sushi, ramen and soba restaurants which should be attractive to tourists. Other than Japanese restaurants, there are also restaurants serving various dishes like Chinese cuisines, French toasts, etc… Read the menu placed outside the restaurants, and take your time to decide what to eat! Don’t forget it’s a place to relax.
Many choices of economical hotels around Otsuka
As Otsuka is one station away from Ikebukuro, the hotels here in Otsuka are generally cheaper. Read the comments and you will find that they are all clean, despite the low price they charge. Stay in Otsuka and it is completely comfortable, with good transportation, as introduced in the beginning. You will enjoy!
In case you urgently need any necessities: a shopping mall at station front
Not only does Otsuka offer you the local shopping streets, but also a newly established shopping mall, named “atre Otsuka”, in front of the station. There are fashion brands, grocery stores, drug stores, etc, which are more than enough for shopping. What’s more, there is a massage shop where you may get refreshed after a day’s tiring sightseeing.
During a trip, it is not unusual to encounter something unexpected, for example, all clothes get wet after a sudden rain. When it is so, you can simply go to atre Otsuka and buy some clothes to change, so that your trip can go on without any inconvenience. And if you unluckily get sick, you can get some drugs in drug stores to ease your symptoms. There is no need to carry a big luggage when you can get necessities so handily.
Take your time to enjoy your meal
As mentioned just before, the restaurants in shopping streets are closed between 2pm and 4pm. Whereas the restaurants in atre Otsuka do not have such break time, so you don’t have to rush to a restaurant when you are enjoying sightseeing. You can go to a restaurant in atre Otsuka anytime you like!
Sometimes you stay up late to enjoy night view or other special tourist attractions. There are 24 hours convenient stores not only in atre Otsuka, but also right near the stations. You can get whatever you want at anytime, or even have a supper at midnight!
Otsuka: a town where you can experience the local style of Tokyo
Otsuka is not a tourist spot. Unlike Ikebukuro, which is always bustling, Otsuka is quiet and peaceful. That’s exactly why you may have a deeper look at daily lives of the local people here in Otsuka, rather than in tourist attractions. Sometimes when you go traveling, what you seek for is a relief from your busy life. Otsuka is just a perfect town for you to take a good rest.
When you travel to Tokyo, do stay in Otsuka! Find air tickets at a bargain price on DeNA TRAVEL. Start your wonderful trip!