Machida: All The Shopping, Dining & Sightseeing of Central Tokyo, Half The Crowds

Twenty-seven stops from Shinjuku might make this neighborhood sound like a distant journey from central Tokyo, but Machida is still a big part of the metropolis and is certainly one to pin on your must-visit neighborhoods. 

Located in the Tama area of southern Tokyo, Machida city stands almost on the verge between Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture and is easily accessible via the Odakyu Odawara Line (which coincidentally also services the Shimokitazawa area), JR Yokohama and the Keio Sagamihara Line. From Shinjuku, it takes between 30 minutes to an hour to reach Machida, depending on whether you take a local, express or the fancy Romance Car train.

Historically, the Machida area was largely a farming and fishing area until the Meiji period but became a bedroom community for the greater Tokyo and Yokohama areas as urban industrialization advanced. In the station area it’s a lively, bustling hotspot, but even walking a kilometer away will put you back into suburban or even rural spaces. This duality makes Machida a great place to spend the day. You can surround yourself with nature in the morning, shop ‘til you drop in the afternoon, then enjoy some of the latest gourmet or nightclub spots at night.

What to do & Where to go

With hundreds of interesting places to see and go to, the more accurate question should be what can’t you do in Machida. But let’s start from somewhere.

Machida Squirrel Garden (まちだリス園): While squirrels are a common sight overseas, they’re an adorable zoo attraction in Japan, and one that families with kids will love. Though operating since 1988, the Machida Squirrel Garden is still a little known spot for non-Japanese travelers and residents of Japan.

The Machida Squirrel Garden is 20 minutes away from Machida Station (take the bus from the #21 bus stop if you don’t want to walk). Admission costs ¥400 for adults, ¥200 for children, and a bag of sunflower seeds will set you back another ¥100. Make sure you get those seeds, though: they’ll have you surrounded by some of the 200 Pallas squirrels that call the garden home in a snap.

 

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A post shared by みどり堂 (@midoridou_hachiouji) on Aug 21, 2018 at 10:33pm PDT

They’re friendly, well-cared for, and very adorable to watch as they jump, romp and all around show off their skills among the trees. The Machida Squirrel Garden isn’t just home to squirrels though — there are also

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