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Japan Travelogue: Kichijoji 

Tokyo has so many places to discover and one of them is Kichijoji (吉祥寺), a neighborhood in the city of Musashino. Kichijoji Station is only about a 15-minute ride on the Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station. There’s something for everyone in the popular commercial area with so many shops, bars, restaurants, and cafés to have a bite to eat after looking around.

History of Kichijoji

Kichijoji was named after the Kichijo-ji Temple which was located in Bunkyo City before it was destroyed in the “Great Fire of Meireki” in 1657. The temple’s name originated from the Hindu goddess Lakshmi who is the Japanese deity, Kisshoten (“Auspicious Heavens”). The Great Fire of Meireki also wreaked havoc in the town in front of of Suwazan Kichijo-ji Temple gate, Edo’s Hongo Motomachi (now: Hongo 1-chome, Bunkyo).

The shogunate rebuilt the area for daimyo (feudal lords) residences. The local residents who suffered great loss from the fire, the shogunate’s official reed lands, “Reno” and “Mureno” were given as farmland to replace what they lost. Some residents were given a rice stipend and housing loans with a 5-year limit. Sato Sadaemon, Kichijo-ji samurai, and Miyazaki Jinemon along with a locar farmer Matsui Jurozaemon opened the eastern district (present day Musashino) and relocated some residents there. The Tamagawa Aqueduct turned the once poorly watered and uninhabited Musashino Plateau into a vast farmland.

The favorite place to live

Today, the Kichijoji area is often at the top of the list of where most metropolitan Japanese want to live. Kichijoji Station, Shibuya and Shinjuku are all nearby. Inokashira Park is only minutes away for some recreational activity and great sights. Kichijoji is a mixture of Tokyo’s cosmopolitan vibe with a friendly community.

Join Michelle as she takes us around Sun Road in Kichijoji!

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Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!