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Updated: March 16, 2023

Meet Tokyo's lively grannies

This friendly town in Tokyo's north is often dubbed "Harajuku for Grandmas," for its bustling shopping streets favored by the senior crowd. It's a great place to connect with locals and soak up Tokyo's downtown atmosphere of old.
Visitors to Sugamo often pray for good health at Togenuki Jizoson Koganji Temple. There is plenty of fun for all ages, from buying some lucky red underwear to enjoying traditional crafts and snacks such as sweet and salty shio-daifuku.

How to Get There

Access the area from Sugamo Station on the JR Yamanote Line or the Mita Line.

From Haneda Airport: 55 minutes by train.
From Narita Airport: One hour 20 minutes by train.
From Shinjuku: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Sugamo Station. Travel time: 20 minutes.
From Tokyo: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Sugamo Station. Travel time: 25 minutes.

Paint the town red

Jizo-dori Shopping Street is the heart of the action in Sugamo. Lined with retro shops and street vendors selling crafts, snacks and souvenirs at low prices, cheerful shopkeepers call out to customers and offer food samples. The Toden Arakawa tram passes through, adding to the bygone feeling. Red is a color of luck and longevity in Japan, making it popular for babies and seniors; turning 60 is a chance to start over like a baby—and the traditional birthday gift is red clothing. Maruji is a famous purveyor of red underwear, along with red T-shirts, scarves and socks, so you can get a little extra color and luck.

Sugamo Jizou-dori Shopping Street
Daimaruya Clothing and Shinohara Bedding Store
Maruji Clothing Store


Busy temples and serene gardens

Around the center of Jizo-dori Shopping Street, Koganji Temple was founded in 1596 and relocated to Sugamo in 1891, and is renowned for the powerful “Togenuki Jizo” statue. It is said that a samurai's wife was miraculously cured of illness. Elderly visitors flock to wash the Arai Kannon statue in front of the temple, in the hope of healing their own ailments.

For a quieter form of healing, visit the beautiful Rikugien Gardens in nearby Komagome. Built around 1700, the gardens reproduce 88 scenes from famous poems. Take time to stroll around the man-made lake, traversed by wooden bridges and dotted with teahouses. In spring and autumn, the gardens are illuminated at night to make the most of the seasonal colors.

Koganji Temple Gate
Rikugien Garden Azalea
Rikugien Garden special night viewing

Parks & Gardens


Religious Sites


Art & Museums


Nearby Attractions