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10 Things to do in Nakano: Tokyo's Budget District

10 Things to do in Nakano: Tokyo's Budget District

Published on Apr. 1, 2019 by

These are my carefully selected 10 top things to do in Nakano, the secret budget district of Tokyo. I included gems like Koala March pastries, Daily Chico, Namco Arcade, Horumon Yakiniku and where to get a FREE Gyoza dinner to complete an epic afternoon in Tokyo.

Tips & Advice
  • What: Tokyo's budget district
  • Why: Cheap food & entertainment. Alternative to electric town Akihabara.
  • Where: Nakano Station, Tokyo [Map]
  • Tip: Nakano Broadway stores close around dinner time, don't come too late!
  • Related: 37% OFF Mario Kart in Tokyo and 34% OFF Robot Restaurant.

first sight at Nakano Station in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanMandarake collectables shop in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japandog cafe in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japandelicious grilled beef in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is overrun by tourism, luckily for you there is a new secret alternative nobody is talking about yet. The Nakano district is just 5 minutes west by train from Shinjuku and a hidden gem in Tokyo. Nakano is famous for being the old-school Anime, Manga & Gaming mecca compared to the hugely popular Akihabara electronic town district plus is it extremely cozy and welcoming compared to tourist hot spots of Tokyo.

Places

  • 1. Nakano Broadway

    Massive 250 stores indoor complex including super cheap Japanese snack stores, grocery stores, gaming arcades, anime and manga stores and dirt cheap household shops. (map)

  • 2. Mandarake

    Browse through 30 Mandarake Japanese anime, manga and toy stores found all over the Nakano Broadway complex. (map)

  • 3. Daily Chico

    At Deirichiko aka Daily Chico enjoy a, 80-flavors, 40-centimeters-tall soft-serve ice cream cone. Only 490 YEN = $4 US dollars. (map)

  • 4. Namco Arcade

    The biggest arcade aka game center at the Nakano Broadway with arcades ranging from Dragonball Z, Gundam to Initial D and Wangan 5DX racing games. 100 YEN = $0.90 USD per game! (map)

  • 5. Kuroneko Maid Cafe

    Hangout with cute Japanese maids while they sing and dance on stage for the ultimate geek aka Otaku experience in Tokyo. All-you-can-drink @ 1000 YEN = $9 US dollars. (map)

  • 6. Sushi Go-round Restaurant

    Dirt cheap sushi conveyor belt with plates starting at only 95 YEN, not even $0.85 USD. Ask for the Nama-Salmon instead of grabbing the plates because the rice may have gotten cold. (map)

  • 7. Koala March Custard Pastry

    For dessert head over to Lotteria for their epic custard pastry which sells for only 150 YEN = $1.30 USD. (map)

  • 8. Horumon Yakiniku BBQ

    Perhaps the cheapest wagyu yakiniku experience in Nakano. I spent $22 USD on 2x wagyu meals and it even included a beer. Wagyu is expensive Japanese beef due to the fat marbling so it melts on your tongue. (map)

  • 9. Terrie Dog Cafe

    A dog shelter for rescue dogs that are in need for some loving. Entrance is FREE but do buy a cheap coffee or tea to support these little cuties. (map)

  • 10. FREE Gyoza

    Jump over 1 station to Koenji for a super cheap dinner experience at Gyoza Dokoro Tachibana. Purchase 1 beer for 480 YEN, $4 USD and you'll receive a FREE portion of pan-friend Japanese gyoza. Now that is a good deal! (map)

  • 11. BONUS: FREE Nakano WiFi

    Even WiFi in Nakano is FREE, on the pavement around Nakano station you will find the instructions on how to connect. (map)

  • 12. BONUS: Kenchan Restaurant

    Super cheap izakaya at Koenji station, next to Nakano Station. Do try their raw horse meat and pig guts stews. (map)

Nakano Broadway, the mecca for classic manga and anime fans in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japantrue manga collectables, even Akira by Otomo in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japanmanga fanatics browsing for their favorite manga books in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japanaction figures for sale at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Nakano is especially great to visit during a rainy day in Tokyo since Nakano's primary shopping street and the Nakano Broadway complex, which houses 250 stores, are all indoor. Nakano Broadway includes super fun places, super cheap Japanese snack shops, plenty of arcades and comic book stores to keep you entertained throughout the day.

dinner with friends in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japandinner with friends in Nakano

Whoever says Tokyo is expensive is an amateur traveler and is just doing it wrong. Most travelers go to Shinjuku, Shibuya & Ginza which are quite expense. Together with my friends Heather, Kelly and Bobby we enjoyed an incredibly cheap evening food adventures in Nakano.

expensive collectables, 500000 yen in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japangorgeous collectables Mandarake shop in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japancollectables shop at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanMandarake collectables shop in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japantiny dolls for sale at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japanoozing grilled eel, Unagi on sale at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japandelicious and afforable sushi on sale in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano Broadway in Tokyo in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Start your adventure in Nakano by walking through the Sun Mall shopping street until you end up at the Nakano Broadway complex where you can browse through at least 30 Mandarake store. Mandarake is THE pre-owned comic book dealer of Tokyo since 1987. Every Mandarake store has a different theme. For the most unique Mandarake store head to the 3rd floor where you can enter a special shrine that sells vintage tin toys.

gigantic tower ice cream, 8 flavours at Nakano Broadway basement in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japangigantic tower ice cream, 8 flavours at Nakano Broadway basement

The best part of the Nakano Broadway complex is the basement. Here you'll find gigantic cheap grocery stores with incredible products ranging from household items to dirt cheap fish and delicious sushi pre-made meals.

mega tower ice cream shop at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japantrying to finish my mega tower ice cream in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japanice cream sizes at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japancelebrities trying the tower ice cream at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano streets by night in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japandinner time with friends in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Near the back of the basement you'll find the Daily Chico soft-serve ice cream store that sell this ridiculous 8 flavors, 40-centimeter-tall soft-serve ice cream cone which makes for hilarious selfies and sells for 490 YEN, $4 USD!

filming a new episode in Nakano, Tokyo in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japanfilming a new episode in Nakano, Tokyo

In the evening I recommend you explore the extreme cozy back alleys on the east side of the Sun Mall shopping street. This area houses plenty of sake bars, karaoke shops and izakaya’s (Japanese drinking spots) but above all wagyu beef and steak houses. Wagyu is expensive fat marbled beef that will melt on the tip of your tongue. After some digging I found that Horumon Yakiniku offers the best bang for your buck. Their wagyu beef was mouth-watering delicious.

great grilled beef restaurant in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japandelicious wagyu beef in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanWagyu beef in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japangrilling my beef in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano Broadway Arcade in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japandelicious sushi kaiten in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japanan abundance of snacks at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japanan abundance of snacks at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Another place to visit is Terrie's Dog Cafe. Entrance is FREE but does require you purchase a plain tea or coffee with rates starting at only 300 YEN, $2.80 USD. Terrie's Dog Cafe is a shelter for rescue dogs so please do the right thing and support these poor little cuties.

a dog shelter turned into Terrie's Dog Cafe in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japana dog shelter turned into Terrie's Dog Cafe in Nakano

My favorite part of Nakano is the atmosphere, it is cozy, friendly and fun, especially on a rainy day. With the massive amounts of indoor shops there is something to do for everyone. Do not hesitate and make the 5-minute train journey just west of Shinjuku main station.

Terrie's Dog Cafe in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanTerrie's Dog Cafe in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanTerrie's Dog Cafe in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanTerrie's Dog Cafe in Nakano in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japanturtles figures at Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano Broadway in Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

In conclusion, Nakano is the definition of a cheap day in Tokyo. Especially for travelers on a serious budget. Do not pay tourist prices in the obvious tourist districts of Tokyo. Head out of the tourist comfort zone and explore the lesser known areas. You won't be disappointed!

Nakano streets by night in Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanNakano streets by night

Make your Japan experience even cheaper by using the following discounts:

  1. Robot Restaurant with 34% discount, coolest show in Japan.
  2. Mario Kart Tokyo with 37% discount, the REAL life Mario Kart.
  3. Ninja WiFi with 30% discount, always stay Wifi connected in Japan.
  4. Tokyo Skytree with 18% discount, tallest tower in Japan.
  5. Roppongi Hills with 24% discount, skydeck with best view of Tokyo.
  6. Tokyo Tower with 6% discount, the classic observatory tower.
  7. Oedo Onsen Monogatari with 12% discount, Tokyo's hot springs experience.
  8. SEGA Joypolis with 10% discount, coolest arcade in Tokyo.
  9. Sumo Wrestling with 20% discount, experience the life of Sumo!

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