I have been coming to Nakano and living around this area for 2+ yrs now.
In that amount of time I have eaten a whole slew of things, both good and bad. So, I thought I should make a Nakano mini-guide.
Why eat in Nakano?
Have you been to Shinjuku? Way too much humanity. Yes, in Nakano there are a lot of people, but there are infinitely less people there then there are in Shinjuku, but it also has a more laid-back attitude.
Just one stop away from Shinjuku you can enjoy a more “real” Tokyo experience of shopping arcades, small izakaya streets, and 80s architecture. There are also food trucks here in around lunchtime (something pretty rare for Tokyo).
EAT ‘N GO
Don’t want to deal with the fuss of sitting down and eating? Just grab one of these and go!
BON JOUR BON BAKERY
Hours: Mon-Sat 08:00～21:30
Sunday and National Holidays 09:00～21:00
Most “famous” bread at this bakery is the maple melon bread. I suggest you try it. They have some sandwiches and various other varieties of Japanese bread available.
The store is located on the right side of the main shopping arcade going up to Nakano Broadway, it is hard to miss.
NAKANO BROADWAY BASEMENT:
Nakano Broadway is known as an otaku/manga/anime culture place, but there is actually much more to it. Head to the basement and find a whole floor of foods.
Literally means, “Thanks, see you tomorrow.” There is good reason for them to believe you will come back. This shop’s specialties are handmade dumplings. Try the pork buns! I personally recommend them.
This store is actually a fish seller, but also offers fresh sushi and sashimi bentos (box lunches) for extremely reasonable prices.
Japanese crepe store! Prices are cheaper than in Harajuku! Come by and try out a Japanese-style French creation.
Exit from the North Exit of Nakano station and head west. You will hit a building complex with a large park called “Nakano Central Park.” Come here around lunch and you’ll see a collection of trucks around.
Different ones come here everyday but in the past there were: steak rice bowls, taco rice bowls, panzerotti (fried calzones), curry, and Korean foods. Prices are usually 350 yen to 950 yen.
Hours: Mon-Sat. 11:30〜23:00
Like spicy Chinese noodles?
Houzuki only serves tantan men (spicy noodles with minced meat on top)
Prices are under 1,000 yen per bowl.
Address: 〒164-0001 東京都中野区中野5-58-1
Hours: 10:30 til 21:00 (until they run out of soup)
This is a pretty good, standard Tokyo ramen. The Nakano store is the flagship store. There are now 20 locations around Tokyo!
TOKYO NIBOSHIYA HONPO
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00～0:00(the next day)
Niboshi are little dried fish that make up some of the soup stock for ramen. At this shop, they do not skimp on the little dried fish. You can even add extra at no extra cost. Another rarity is the tomato ramen. It might be good for the health-conscious ramen eater.
Why is this a category? Because I love curry….
YAMI YAMI CURRY
Address: 東京都中野区中野5-50-3 1F
Hours: 11:30～15:30 (lunch)
This shop serves up Japanese/SE Asian style fusion curry. There are many varieties to choose from and they have a set menu for lunch!
Unfortunately some curry places I used to like have gone downhill, so I am just listing this one.
Nakano is a good place to go drinking/eating at night. It is famous for its alleyways filled with bars and restaurants.
Address: 中野区中野 5-59-3
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00～0:00(the next day)
You can’t miss this restaurant, because the front of it is like a train stop. It’s specialty is grilled fish, etc.
Hours: 17:00～24:00(L.O.23:00) Closed Sundays and national holidays
This Nakano yakitori izakaya is ranked one of Tokyo’s top 5,000 restaurants (it is actually an honor, there are a lot of restaurants in this town). Come here if you feel like getting your char-broiled chicken fantasies fulfilled.
GOCHOME TAISHU SAKABA GORAKUYA
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 15:00-1:00 (next day)
Fri-Sat 15:00-3:00 (next day)
Sun. National Holidays 13:00～23:00
This izakaya with an epic-ly long name is located in the heart of the drinking area of Nakano. It serves up a whole slew of different foods, for extremely reasonable prices. The menu is literally written all over the walls. This is a good place to get a feel for what a Tokyo izakaya is like.
PANIPANI STANDING BAR
Hours: Mon-Fri. 17：00～24：00（LO 23：30）
Sat. 16：00～24：00（LO 23：30）
Don’t want to sit down? You don’t have to! Visit this standing bar to eat and drink with friends and new acquaintances
Have any good ones that I didn’t list? I usually eat around the North exit, so I don’t have a good idea about what lurks in the south…