Updated: November 07, 2018
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Sugamo Area Guide: The Harajuku For Seniors


Sugamo is a Tokyo neighborhood with character. It's famous for its old-fashion shopping street, and for being the Harajuku for old folks. Here's essentially what you need to know about Sugamo.

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The Elderly Reign In Sugamo

Sugamo is a district of Toshima-ku not too far from Ikebukuro in the northern part of Tokyo. It is well-known for being an area with a high concentration of shops that cater to the elderly. It is often referred to as a Harajuku for old folks.

If you want to get there by train, go to the Sugamo station of the JR or Mito line.
The main point of interest in Sugamo is the Jizo Dori shopping street which stretches about 800 meters. The entrance is at a short distance walk from the station.
Many shops sell a particular kind of red panties. We can't say for sure why but the reasonable assumption is that the grannies of Japan like this style when they're looking to wear something a little risqué.
Even if you aren't looking to renew your wardrobe, Sugamo sure has a charming aspect to it that makes it worth the visit. There is a kind of Showa Era atmosphere in the neighborhood that you may really enjoy.
Sugamo is a good spot to try old fashion snacks and wagashi (Japanese traditional desserts). You can find some freshly backed sembei crackers or some "anpan" (bun stuffed with sweet red beans) for instance.


Sugamo is a decent ramen spot too. Check out the link below for more info on some good joints in the area.

Koganji Temple

At about the midway point of the shopping street, there is the famous temple of Koganji 高岩寺. You won't miss it with the huge gates at the entrance. Inside, there is a statue of Togenuki, a female Buddhist figure which is believed to help heal the body. There is a ritual according to which people scoop water and wash the statue with hand towels. On the 4th, 14th, and 24th of each month, there is a small "en-nichi" festival centered around the temple, so the whole street becomes livelier than usual.
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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