Looking for a great location outside of Tokyo? Kichijoji is Great!

Staying for more than a few days in Central Tokyo can be a drain, both on the wallet and the mind. There are other cities that don't sleep, but there are few cities in the world that remain as bustling and wide awake 24-7-365 as Tokyo.

While both the Imperial Palace grounds - Kokyo - and Yoyogi Park offer a peaceful respite in Central Tokyo, neither of these compare, IMHO, to the tranquil expanses offered by Central Park in Manhattan, Hyde Park in London, or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Of these, San Francisco doesn't even have the urban sprawl and clutter that makes such a park an urgent need. Tokyo, though, cries for such spaces.

But for someone making an extended stay in Tokyo, there are a few places where the visitor might have some sense of both convenience and peaceful existence. Of these, Kichijoji is, perhaps, one of the best.

Located around 20 minutes west of Shinjuku on the busy Chuo Line, it is also only around 40 minutes away from Tokyo Station. On the Inokashira Line, it is less than 30 minutes from Shibuya. But unless you are trying to get to somewhere specific, such as the Sky Tree or Ueno Zoo, why not stay in Kichijoji?

Kichijoji has at least 10 or so movie theaters, many places where live music and performances are held, wonderful shopping, and Inokashira Park. The park has a small but nice zoo, a lake with rowboats, and, on weekends performance art throughout the park. One of the performers is a famous Japanese blues rock legend, Broom Duster Kan. I've known him for years. http://broomdusterkan.cocolog-nifty.com/ Another famous performer in the park is the magician, juggler, balloon artist, Mister Dai. http://www.geocities.jp/taltaldai/

An additional benefit of being in Kichijoji is being close to the mountains of West Tokyo - Oku Tama. Located outside of the area dominated by the 23 wards of Central Tokyo, the west side of the metropolitan district is largely uninhabited. The most famous areas on this side of the city include Mt. Takao and Hachioji. But the Ome area, Mt. Mitake, Hinode, and Lake Okutama, among many others, offers many hiking trails, creeks, and even many small sake distilleries and onsen. Most of these are less than an hour away from Kichijoji by train, another hour by bus, and a two hour hike - less than four hours total.

There is one other reason to believe this advice: I live within a 30 minute walk of Kichijoji. These are some of the many reasons I have been living in the area for nearly 20 years!

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