I slept for 11 hours and the jet lag was gone. Yay! On my list for the day were two neighbourhoods I had read about in my travel guide – Kichijoji and Koenji. Kichijoji is easily accessible by train from Shibuya, so I decided to start there. Close to Kichijoji Station is Inokashira Park, home to the Studio Ghibli Museum, a Zoo and a large pond that is filled with boats when the sun comes out. Unfortunately, it was quite overcast and a weekday, so all the boats were waiting on the dock. A colourful shrine close to the pond, as well as all the elderly couples who indulged in some serious birdwatching, made up for it though.
From the park, I went back to the station where you can find a great food court. Inside there is a branch of Rose Bakery – I had the lemon polenta cake which was delicious. From there I walked towards Nakamichi Dori, a small shopping street in Kochijoji, that hosts a bunch of small shops selling all kinds of pretty things. I also saw an old women carrying a living owl on her head in the street.
After passing in and out of the shops on Nakamichi Dori and some of its side streets, I made my way back to the station to go to Koenji. But, I missed my stop and ended up in Nakano – there were also some tips for that area in my guide book one of them was an old, run-down shopping mall called Nakano Broadway that mainly consists of shops selling vinyl toys and other anime-related stuff, as well as dodgy looking shops selling watches. It was super strange. I finally made it to Koenji, where you can find many, many second-hand stores.
As it was getting late, I cut my walk short and braved myself for a rush-hour train ride from Koenji Station to Shibuya via Shinjuku. The crowds were huge, but in Japan, they just work, it’s fascinating. In Shibuya, my friend and I met up for dinner at a place that offers different Izakaya style restaurants in a large room somewhere on the second floor of a rather nondescript building. We enjoyed some Japanese BBQ and a few Highballs before we called it a day.