Tokyo Neighborhood Guide 2023 Compilation

Tokyo Neighborhood Guide 2023 Compilation

Revisiting all our favorite Heartlands neighborhoods

By and

Our Heartlands series dives into the local charm and atmospheres of lesser-visited neighborhoods in Tokyo, digging beyond the typical tourist sites and vast malls to discover local gems and top spots. To celebrate the end of 2023 and welcome 2024, we roundup our favorite Heartlands articles from the year and re-introduce the areas you need to add onto your list of places to explore as we start 2024. 

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Nishi Kasai

At first glance Nishi-Kasai is just like any other town in Tokyo. The neighborhood in Edogawa Ward has a busy station area with the usual shops, cram schools and convenience stores. But there’s more to this riverside community than first meets the eye. Alongside the gridded downtown streets and simmering shotengai, a South Asian community has fostered a local neighborhood that has earned the nickname “Little India”. This community has become an intrinsic part of the area, which is woven with home-spun Indian eateries, specialist shops and local events — though it hasn’t always been that way. Things didn’t properly start to develop in terms of urban residential living until 1979 when Nishi-Kasai Station first opened as part of the Tokyo Metro. But where multi-storey apartment blocks and commercial ventures now slot in along the side streets, once upon a time lay tidal flats and coastal farms.

Read more Heartlands: Nishi-Kasai


As the heat rises in the city, walking among the mirrored surfaces of skyscrapers and along the paved streets, it can be easy to forget that Tokyo is in fact on the coast. But this gridded metropolis with its various towns and old lanes has a collection of islands that float among the modern developments in Tokyo Bay. If you’ve ever heard of the twin islands of Tsukishima and Tsukuda, chances are it’s in relation to food. Tsukishima is home to a colorful main street that has been lovingly dubbed Monja Dori due to the sheer amount of monjayaki shops nestled along it. But, aside from the allure of this local pancake-esque delicacy, this waterside portion of Chuo Ward has enough interesting sights to keep you entertained during a day in the city.

Read more Heartlands: Tsukishima-Tsukuda

Shinkoenji_Mabashi Inari Shrine_Photo by Nano Betts

Mabashi Inari Shrine. Photo by Nano Betts.

Hidden Ginza

Glistening, glitzy, glamorous — Ginza is one of the swankiest parts of Tokyo. A sleek intersection of Japanese style, Western influence and affluent inhabitants have long made it one of the most upscale corners of any city in the world. Ginza holds such high esteem that simply attaching its name to a brand name hints of its stylish influence. The town’s polished streets overspill with designer label after designer label, luxury cars slowly pull into the carparks of high-end department stores and well-heeled pedestrians sashay along the perfectly preened pavements. But turn away from the rush of the main street and the district’s hidden history reveals itself, tucked away down dark warrens, crouching behind the glossy stores and taking up space inside brick buildings of old Ginza.

Read more Heartlands: Hidden Ginza


Ookoyama Station shares the stunning eco-friendly building designed by architect Yasuda Koichi with Tokyu Hospital


Sitting in the shadow of one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist attractions is Kappabashi. Unglamorous and decidedly downtown, Kappabashi quirkily contrasts the bright lights and colorful shop fronts of the large temple and the entertainment district Asakusa. Take time to explore this compact corner of the capital, famous for its connection with kitchenware, and you’ll unearth intriguing history and unique culinary finds.

Read more Heartlands: Kappabashi

Sunamachi Ginza heartlands metropolis magazine japan


Kanda-Sudacho, a historic enclave just 500 meters from the bustling Akihabara Station in Tokyo, offers a captivating journey into the city’s past. With roots tracing back to the Edo period, this area survived the ravages of World War II and emerged as one of the few districts untouched by bombs. Its streets boast protected historic sites, embodying the early Showa era charm with wooden townscapes and vintage storefronts. Strolling through, you encounter well-preserved landmarks such as Mansei Bridge and Meiji-era buildings, protected by Chiyoda Ward as Important Properties. Kanda-Sudacho’s timeless appeal, marked by unique shops and eateries, makes it a living time capsule amid Tokyo’s modernity.

Read more Heartlands: Kanda-Sudacho

Want to be an expert on Tokyo neighborhoods and beyond? Also check out our travel page.