Updated November 17, 2019, by C. Thiele, 23 year veteran of Tokyo.

Founded in 1889, Tachikawa city is a small little town located in the western suburbs of Tokyo — nearby Yokota Air Base. Home to the incredible Showa Kinen Park.

So here’s the neat thing about Tachikawa.

You may not have heard of it. It’s not immensely popular in tourist guide books. It is technically in Tokyo, but not in downtown Tokyo.

Here’s where it is on the map:

As you can see it’s quite a bit west from downtown Tokyo (located nearby Akishima).

Surprisingly, Tachikawa is a small city with a big city feel. Since the train station can get you downtown quickly many locals choose to live in Tachikawa and then commute to work daily.

In fact, I often joke if you don’t want to be bothered with all the congestion of the Shibuya Crossing, Tachikawa has a similar intersection for a great photo op.

When I say it has a big city feel, it’s not just because of the tall buildings and lots of people walking around. There’s a surprising amount of restaurants and izakaya to enjoy here too.

I think the last time I checked it was something like 400 eating establishments in Tachikawa alone.

But being out away from downtown Tokyo, Tachikawa is a little-big city that keeps the small town appeal.

Tachikawa Tourist Information Center

The Tachikawa Tourist Information Center has a useful map with points of interest in the city — available for free.

How to Pronounce Tachikawa?

Here’s a handy way to pronounce Tachikawa, say “tah-chee-kah-wah.”

The “ta” in Tachikawa sounds the same as you’d say the “ta” in taco.

How Far is Tachikawa From Tokyo?

Technically Tachikawa is a part of Tokyo, but I imagine you’re referring to downtown Tokyo.

It’s close.

A trip from Tachikawa Station to Shinjuku Station, on the slow train, will take roughly 38 minutes. The fast train will get you there in 25 minutes.

The fast (aka rapid) train is just one that skips over a few stops on the way.

What does Tachikawa Mean?

Well, the kanji 立川 literally translates to standing river.

There are a couple of theories about what that actually means. I personally like the theory that believes there was a clan of samurai named Tatekawa, which could be loosely associated with Tachikawa (src).