Updated November 3, 2019 | by Chad A. Thiele, 23 year veteran of Tokyo.

Nakano is one of my favorite cities in Tokyo.

Imagine if Tokyo was represented as a beautiful lady. For the major cities like Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku, this lovely lady looks like Jessica Rabbit from the movie ToonTown; bright red, shiny dress, hair, and make-up done perfectly. 

Now imagine that beautifully dressed lady coming home at night, taking off all her make-up, throwing her hair up in a ponytail, and then slipping out of the fancy dress and into her comfy cotton pants and oversized shirt.

This is Nakano. 

The down-to-earth, friendly, nothing to hide, it-is-what-it-is, kind of town. 

Still beautiful. Still has so much to offer, maybe even more, but what you see is what you get.

People love the atmosphere of Nakano because it’s comfortable. Most of the time, while we are at work, we have to be “switched on.” 

In Nakano, you can turn that switch off. That’s the beauty of this town. 

You come here, shop around for things you want (not things you need), enjoy really great food with the satisfaction of no expectations looming over your head. 

It’s just you – being you.

It is true, however, that Nakano is known for being the place to get the hard-to-find anime and manga collectibles, but Nakano is so much more than that. 

It’s the hard-working mom and pop shops selling their off the charts delicious, homemade ramen. It’s where working men enjoy their local izakaya without all the hustle and bustle from the typical tourist stream. 

It’s vintage clothing and housing stores; the real Tokyo. And it doesn’t get much better than this.