Little-known area is less packed than the tourist hub, and superior in so many ways. 

Many overseas visitors to Japan arrive in Tokyo with a list of things to see, do, and eat in the city, and anyone who wants to eat fresh sushi will likely follow the advice of travel guides and head to the Tsukiji Outer Market.

Locals, though, know there are a number of other places where you can get good sushi, and it’s often in an area that has other convenient perks as well. Our reporter Seiji Nakazawa is one such local, and when he passed by Tsukiji the other day and saw foreign tourists spending 3,000 yen (US$19.12) on overpriced seafood rice bowls (a.k.a. “Inbound-Don“) he thought to share his own recommendation — go to Toyoda instead.

There are five reasons why Seiji reckons more foreign tourists should put Toyoda on their itinerary, well, six if you count the fact that it’s easier to get to than Tsukiji, because although it takes the same time — 30 minutes on a train from Shinjuku — there are no transfers necessary.

▼ The area around Toyoda Station has a much more laid-back feel as well.

The first reason why Toyoda is worth visiting is because of Aeon Mall Tamadaira no Mori, which is as close to the station as Tsukiji is to the outer market. Seiji was surprised to find such a big mall so close to the station, and he reckons it’ll be a nice surprise for foreign tourists too, especially when they find out that on the first floor of the complex you can get…

▼…some fantastic seafood.

This delicious tuna sushi bowl is incredibly fresh and flavourful, with a quality that Seiji reckons might even surpass what’s on offer at Tsukiji. Plus, you don’t have to pay exorbitant tourist prices, because this bowl costs just 864 yen.

The store that sells it is Maguro Ichiban Honpo, and it’s such a good place to eat it makes the trip to Toyoda worth it.

If you’re with someone who isn’t in the mood for seafood, that’s not a problem, because this brings us to the second reason why more people should go to Toyoda.

▼ The food court.

You can choose from a wide variety of traditional meals here, with options including udon, tonkatsu, and ramen, the latter of which is served up by a two-time ramen champion.

▼ If you want something non-Japanese, then Anas Dosa Biryani, a top Indian restaurant, is highly recommended.

The third reason why Toyoda is so good? The mall here is empty compared to Tsukiji, so it’s never a struggle to get food and find a place to sit and eat it, no matter what time or day of the week you visit.

▼ It’s hard to believe this is just 30 minutes from Shinjuku Station.

Lately, the lack of trash cans in Japan has become a hot topic amongst tourists who find it a major inconvenience, and some locals have been blaming the growing trash problem in major cities on overseas visitors. Other locals like Seiji, however, think it would be nice to see trash cans in places like Tsukiji, where vendors sell food items that customers eat on the street, to avoid burdening these customers with trash that they’re unable to dispose of nearby.

▼ Tsukiji Outer Market

You won’t find any trash cans at Tsukiji, but you will find them at the Aeon mall in Toyoda. There are lots of them in the food court, and there are restrooms and a smoking area as well, so in terms of comfort levels, it far surpasses a trip to Tsukiji.

The last reason why Toyoda is so good is the fact that it’s only three stops from JR Takao Station, a popular destination for hikers. You can easily squeeze in a meal at the mall and a hike up Mt Takao in a day, and after the hike you can enjoy a relaxing soak at
Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu.

▼ Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu is right in front of Takaosanguchi Station, the next stop after Takao Station.

Sure, Toyoda may not have the busy, shoulder-to-shoulder excitement of the crowds at Tsukiji, but if the crowds are what keep you away from visiting the area, it’s good to know there’s another option where you can get a good meal without any unnecessary stress.

Located the same distance away from Shinjuku as Tsukiji, Toyoda is a good alternative for young families, and anyone wanting to step off the beaten path to see what everyday life in Tokyo is like away from the famous tourist sites. It’s certainly Seiji’s preferred choice for a day out, and if he really wants to visit a fish market, he’ll beat the crowds by heading to the one in Adachi that locals prefer too!

Site information
Aeon Mall Tamadaira no Mori / イオンモール多摩平の森
Address: Tokyo-to, Hino-shi, Tamadaira 2-4-1
Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

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