Enjoy a half day tour! Let's explore Sugamo, a hidden popular spot in Tokyo

Sugamo is a town in Tokyo. The Sugamo Jizou-dori Shopping Street there is very much active and alive, with a lot of shoppers every day. There are many places worthy of visiting in Sugamo, and as they are all in a compact area, so you can enjoy sightseeing, meals and shopping in a short time. What’s more, you can get Japanese souvenirs here at a really reasonable price, as there are so many local shops lining up in the area.

Sugamo: a senior version of Harajuku! A popular shopping spot for senior citizens

Have you ever heard of Harajuku? It’s a top popular shopping spot in Tokyo, and is well-known among the world for originating the recent pop culture such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu! The shops offering stylish fashion clothes and miscellanneous goods are lining up in Harajuku, making this area especially unique.

Harajuku is undoubtedly fascinating to young people on the one hand. On the other hand, there are also places we call “Grandma’s Harajuku” in Tokyo. The Sugamo we are introducing is surely a good representative of them.

Sugamo is well-known for its large-scale shopping streets with plenty of shops offering various stylish items, which makes Sugamo so similiar to Harajuku. Then here comes a question: what are the differences between the two areas?

The major difference between Harajuku and Sugamo is the age groups of people they attract. Harajuku is popular with people at their 10s and early 20s, whereas Sugamo is generally popular with senior citizens aged above 60. By looking at the numbers, you might feel that Sugamo seems not so vigorous. But this is not the case. As the healthy life expectancy in Japan gets longer and longer, the number of senior citizens visiting Sugamo is rapidly boosting too, which makes the atmosphere in Sugamo getting as lively as Harajuku’s now. And it even becomes attractive to young people too!

Shopping streets right in front of Sugamo station!

You can readily get to “Grandma’s Harajuku” by Yamanote line. Yamanote line is one of the major railway lines in Tokyo, running in a circle connecting most of the major stations and urban centres of Tokyo. By taking Yamanote line, it is just a 20-minute train ride to Sagumo station from Tokyo station (where it takes about 40 minutes from Heneda airport by bus). By the way, Ikebukuro, one of the three major towns in Tokyo, is just close to Sugamo. There are quite a lot tourist spots and budget accommodation gathered in Ikebukuro, so what about visiting both places in a day?

Well, right outside the station here comes the vigorous shopping streets!

Say hello to the symbolic of Sugamo before everything!

What represents Sugamo the best should be the Sugamo Jizou-dori Shopping Street, which centers on Koganji temple. Local people worship a budda called “Togenuki Jizo” in Koganji temple. Let’s greet the budda in Sugamo, and enjoy!

What if you put a card filled with Togenuki Jizo's power to where you feel pain..?

Unfortunately we cannot actually see Togenuki Jizo at Koganji temple, while we can get a small piece of paper called “omikage” at Hondo (the main temple building). In short, omikage is something like a doppelganger, which contains the power of Togenuki Jizo. It is said that if you put an omikage on a sick part of your body, that part will heal itself. Also, the paper of omikage is made from rice, so it melts if you drink it. How about trying your dare to drink an omikage if you feel your body somehow unhealthy?

It is common to have joint pain when getting old. So… maybe Togenuki Jizo is the biggest reason why the elderly often gather at Sugamo!

Clean the Buddhist statue and pray for health!

There is also a spot to pray for health in Koganji temple. You are highly recommended to worship both Togenuki Jizo and Arai Kanno when you come. “Arai Kanno” in Koganji temple is so famous that there are always queues on holidays.

The Buddha statue of Kanno is built integrated with the water pool. After watering Kannon, polish the Buddha statue with cloth, especially the body parts you don’t feel well with. Like omikage, it is said that the polished body part will get well soon. You don’t have to prepare anything in advance as towels are offered at 100 yen right next to the Buddha statue. Together with omikage, it is said that it will be twice as effective!

Explore delicious food and enjoyable activities in Sugamo Jizou-dori Shopping Street!

Sugamo Jizou-dori Shopping Street is a bustling shopping street with 200 shops in a small area of about 800m² only. There are lots of shops offering interesting goods and delicious food. You will surely feel happy just watching them while walking along the street. Especially if it is your first time to visit Japan, you probably feel excited observing the shops one by one. When you visit Sugamo, go in the shops and have a deeper look!

Standard souvenirs from Sugamo: red pants which brings happiness!

Among so many shops there, the clothing store “Sugamo Maruji” must be the one which catches your eyes in just one second. All the items hanging at the store front are bright red, which they believe brings health and fortune!

Red pants are the most loved ones out of all the goods. It is said that wearing the red pants prevents you from getting sick, and brings you luck! Get a pair for yourself, and don’t forget to get for your beloved ones!

Enjoy tasty but cheap food while walking along the shopping street

In Sugamo Jizou-dori Shopping Street, you can find different kinds of food ranging from snacks in eateries to dinner dishes in restaurants. Taking walks in Sugamo while eating Japanese snacks with one hand is surely a perfect way to enjoy! For those who love to eat, try more and find out your favourite one!

Chance on a festival if you are lucky! As lively as Harajuka

The senior citizens in Sugamo are all very energetic! Everyone can be easily cheered up by just walking in the bustling shopping street. As there are sometimes festivals in this historic town, you may even chance on a festival if you are lucky! Book air tickets on DeNA TRAVEL, and come to visit the active Sugamo!