Kichijōji (吉祥寺) is a neighborhood in the city of Musashino in Western Tokyo, Japan. It is centered on a compact but popular commercial area to the north and south of Kichijoji Station, with a full range of shops, restaurants, bars, and coffee houses. The area is a popular center for shopping and leisure in the Tokyo metropolitan area due in part to its close proximity to Inokashira Park and Inokashira Park Zoo.

Sun Road
Kichijōji Station (in back). A pink Moo-bus, a Musashino city bus, waits for passengers.

Kichijoji has been voted the number 1 place in Japan that Japanese would like to live every year since the 1990s according to polls by the magazine CNN GO.[1] Kichijōji Station is served by the Chūō Line which runs to Tokyo Central Station in around 30 minutes, the Chūō–Sōbu Line, a Tozai Line through service and is also a terminus of the Keiō Inokashira Line, which takes passengers as far as Shibuya in around 20 minutes on the express service.

History edit

This town was named after the Kichijō-ji Temple which was located in Bunkyō City, Tokyo, before being destroyed by fire in the year 1657. This temple, in turn, derived its name from the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, corresponding to Kisshōten in Japan.[2]

During the Great fire of Meireki, the town in front of Suwazan Kichijō-ji Temple gate, Edo's Hongo Motomachi (now: Hongō 1-chome, Bunkyō, near Suidōbashi Station) was destroyed by fire. Afterwards, based on town planning, the shogunate rebuilt the area for daimyō residences. Since the residents who used to live in front of Kichijo-ji gate had suffered great loss of residence and farm land, the shogunate's official reed lands named "Reno" and "Mureno" were provided as substitute land for them. Those hoping to apply were given a rice stipend and house construction loans with a 5 year limit. Kichijo-ji samurai, Sato Sadaemon and Miyazaki Jinemon, in cooperation with local farmer Matsui Jurozaemon, opened up the eastern district of present day Musashino and relocated the residents there.

Soon after, with the opening of the Tamagawa Aqueduct, the previously poorly watered uninhabited Musashino Plateau was cultivated, turning it into a vast farmland. In the process, the neatly partitioned thin rectangular shaped plots of land along Itsukaichi Kaidō (ja) (currently Tokyo Metropolitan Route 7, Suginami Akiruno Line) were formed. Some migrants were granted great lengths of land of more than 1000 meters long in the land area extending from Itsukaichi Kaidō to the Tamagawa Aqueduct, up to where the Senkawa Aqueduct (ja) divides. But the soil was not particularly fertile, so all of the farmland became dry soil fields, with no wet rice fields. Because of the residents who still had attachment to the former Kichijo-ji, the new fields were named Kichijōji Village.

Economy edit

The neighborhood is dominated by a shopping district centered on a covered street, Sun Road, which extends north from Kichijōji Station. This well organized and clean area includes amenities, shops, entertainment and restaurants.[citation needed]

Halfway up this shopping street is the Buddhist temple Gessō-ji (月窓寺), with graveyard, and at the northern end of it are Shinto shrines, the latter holding the occasional festival, with amusements such as fishing for gold fish, sweet food stalls, and typical dishes.

On the north, east, and south sides of the station is a large nightlife area with many restaurants, bars, izakaya, and "live" houses. On the north-east side of the station lies a red-light district on the Chūō Line between Tachikawa and Shinjuku, containing numerous cabarets, bars, and pink salons.

The anime and manga companies Coamix and Bee Train have their headquarters in Kichijōji.[3] Studio Ghibli was previously located in Kichijōji.[4]

Inokashira Park edit

The Temple in Inokashira park

Inokashira Park, the source of the Kanda River (神田川 Kanda-gawa), is located south of Kichijōji Station, and is a favorite spot for springtime hanami, or cherry-blossom viewing. Public-opinion surveys[who?] consistently designate Kichijōji one of Tokyo's most desirable residential neighborhoods.[5] It features a large center lake, petting zoo, small cafes, food vendors, and street performers around the perimeter of the park. Nearby is the Ghibli Museum, which is part of the neighboring city Mitaka.

Education edit

Seikei University (成蹊大学) is a private university in the northwestern area of the district. It is part of a wider educational institute—an escalator school—which teaches from elementary school right through to university level, and is situated amongst rows of large trees in that area of Kichijōji.

Little Angels International School, a private international school, previously had a campus in Kichijōji.[6]

Axis International School is a private school accepting children from the age of 1 to the second year of university.

Kichijōji in popular culture edit

Kichijōji is often portrayed in a variety of television shows, motion pictures, literature, and other media.

Video games edit

  • Shin Megami Tensei: The protagonist lives in Kichijōji along with his mom and his dog.
  • First Kiss Story: The town in which the game takes place is modeled after Kichijōji.
  • Persona 5: Inokashira Park is one of the hangout spots in the game. In the Royal edition, Kichijōji is added as a fully explorable area allowing players to visit popular spots such as Sun Road, Harmonica Yokocho (alley) and Daiyagai mall.
  • NG: Visual novel game for PS Vita and PS4 taking place in Kissōji, a fictional town based on Kichijōji.

Anime edit

Manga edit

Film edit

  • Sebastian (Sōkichi Miyata)
  • Amacchoroi Love Song (Sōkichi Miyata)
  • The Mirage Flowers (Tadaaki Horai)
  • Sayonara Kēki to Fushigina Ranpu (Jun'ichi Kanai)
  • Kichijōji no Asahina-kun (Shōichi Katō)
  • Rinjō (Hajime Hashimoto)
  • Parks (Natsuki Seta)

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ The best place to live in Tokyo is...], Robert Michael Poole, CNN GO, 22 February 2011
  2. ^ "This Town In Japan Is Named After Goddess Lakshmi". Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  3. ^ "事業概要." "【住所】 [出版コンテンツ事業部(編集部)・キャラクター事業部・総務部] 〒180-0004 東京都武蔵野市吉祥寺本町 2-4-14 メディ・コープビル8 3F TEL/0422-29-0414(代表) FAX/0422-29-0413"
  4. ^ "The Animerica Interview: Takahata and Nosaka: Two Grave Voices in Animation." Animerica. Volume 2, No. 11. Page 11. Translated by Animerica from: Takahata, Isao. Eiga o Tsukurinagara, Kangaeta Koto ("Things I Thought While Making Movies") Tokuma Shoten, 1991. Originally published in Animage, June 1987. This is a translation of a 1987 conversation between Takahata and Akiyuki Nosaka. "Kichijoji is the Tokyo area where "Studio Ghibli," frequent Takahata collaborator Hayao Miyazaki's studio, is located.[...]—Ed."
  5. ^ "And the most desirable area in Tokyo is…". JAPAN PROPERTY CENTRAL. 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  6. ^ "Spring School Program 2011 Application Form[dead link]" (Archive). Little Angels International School. Retrieved on March 9, 2015. "Little Angels International School 4-9-15, Honcho, Kichijoji, Musashino-shi, Tokyo 180-0004 (〒180-0004 東京都武蔵野市吉祥寺本町4-9-15)"

External links edit

35°42′11″N 139°34′47″E / 35.70306°N 139.57972°E / 35.70306; 139.57972