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Goin’ Japanesque!

Harmonica Yokocho: Retro Kichijoji Alleys for Dining or Shopping!

Overseas visitors and tourists would probably mention Ueno’s Ameyoko or Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho when they talk about ‘yokocho’. ‘Yokocho’ literally means ‘side streets’, but actually refers to the small stretch of tiny shops, street food, and bars along narrow alleys. Ueno’s Ameyoko and Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho are very famous among overseas visitors and tourists, but today I’d like to introduce you one of Tokyo’s hidden gems: Kichijoji’s Harmonica Yokocho! Image Source: Flickr


Harmonica-Yokocho-Alleys2– Kichijoji Area – Image Source: Flickr

Harmonica Yokocho is located at the north of Kichijoji Station, where you can find many old-fashioned and crowded shops, eateries, and bars. These alleys were named ‘Harmonica Yokocho’ for the rows of the small shops that look like harmonica holes. Being very crowded, old-fashioned, and messy, Harmonica Yokocho brings different color to Kichijoji, which as a whole is usually seen as a fancy area where numbers of famous people reside.

Harmonica-Yokocho-Alleys3– Harmonica Yokocho at night – Image Source: Flickr

There are around 90 shops that you can visit in Harmonica Yokocho, and the shady atmosphere of the narrow alleys and passages reminds us of the old days. You can try the local bars there, have interactions with the people, and learn the local culture of Kichijoji. The bars and the izakaya are very famous among the locals, so most of them are very crowded, especially Tecchan (てっちゃん). Tecchan is filled with many youngsters, drinking Japanese sake and eating yakitori while watching the staff cooking the yakitori in an open kitchen.

Harmonica-Yokocho-Alleys4– Harmonica Yokocho’s Tecchan – Image Source: Tabelog

Other than Tecchan, you should also visit Harmonica Quina(ハーモニカ・クイナ), a restaurant where you can enjoy delicious taco rice (タコライス), Okinawa’s famous cuisine. The avocado cheese taco rice is the most famous menu served at Harmonica Quina. If you like high quality beef, you have to visit Steak House SATOU, where you can find branded Japanese beef. Steak House SATOU is very famous for its juicy minced meat cutlet, which you can get only for JPY 220! Harmonica Kitchen is a classic old-fashioned izakaya where you can enjoy homemade food with cheap beers!

Harmonica-Yokocho-Alleys5– Harmonica Kitchen – Image Source: Flickr

Harmonica Yokocho is not only about food, you can find many shops that sell souvenirs and merchandise at reasonable prices. You can also find Fascination, a shop that sells accessories imported directly from L.A. Overall, Harmonica Yokocho is quite different from Ueno’s Ameyoko and Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho, but it’s a fun and interesting place to visit with your friends and family!

Read this for more information about Harmonica Yokocho!

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About the author

Hello, my name is Katie and I’ve lived in Japan for almost 10 years. You will see many reviews about things in Japan that you will never find in guide books for tourists, and I will take you to see both the prettiest and the ugliest side of Japan!

View all articles by Katie