Kita Ward is literally “North Ward,” one of Tokyo’s northernmost districts, bordered by the cities of Kawaguchi and Toda (in Saitama prefecture) to the north and the wards of Adachi, Arakawa, Itabashi, Bunkyo, and Toshima to the east, south and west.
Like much of northern Tokyo, Kita Ward is largely populated by working-class families, single working people, and increasingly by foreign residents, mainly from Asian countries. Kita is crisscrossed by four rivers and has an abundance of green spaces, which also makes it very family friendly.
Major residential neighborhoods in Kita are extremely convenient for getting to Saitama, central Tokyo, and even Kanagawa prefecture. These include: Jujo, Akabane, and Oji. In 2013, the Lycée français international de Tokyo moved its campus to the Takinogawa neighborhood, which raised the international flavor of the area, but overall, Kita Ward is known for being blue-collar and shitamachi (“low town,” in contrast to the poshness of central Tokyo areas inside the Yamanote line).
- Kita quick facts
- Main residential neighborhoods
- Kita Ward ranks high for
- Who lives in Kita Ward?
- Popular housing searches in Kita Ward
Kita quick facts
- Population: 329,355 (as of January 1, 2019)
- Area: 20.61 km²
- Density: 15,980 (/km²)
- Population of foreign residents: 22,621 (6.9% of total population of Kita)
- About 4.9% of the total resident foreigner population of the Tokyo 23 Wards lives in Kita.
Major Train Stations
|Akabane||JR Tohoku Main Line (Utsunomiya)|
|Tokyo Metro Namboku|
|Toei Sakura Tram|
Main residential neighborhoods
Kita Ward ranks high for
- Retro, inexpensive neighborhoods located on major hub stations.
- Convenient for families needing to commute between Saitama, northern Tokyo and central Tokyo.
- Families moving to the Takinogawa neighborhood to be near the French international school.
Who lives in Kita Ward?
- Those who work in central Tokyo, but prefer a much more relaxed, shitamachi living environments.
- People and families looking for lower than average rent and cost of living near major train hubs.
Popular housing searches in Kita Ward
Location and highlights
Akabane, located on Tokyo’s northern border with Saitama, is one of Kita Ward’s main residential neighborhoods and a major station in the JR East network. It has enjoyed a surge in popularity recently as an under-the-radar neighborhood that ticks all the right boxes: being convenient, down-to-earth, and inexpensive. Akabane’s many retro-izakaya and small-plate restaurants have also made a destination for after-work drinks, especially for workers commuting between central and northern Tokyo and Saitama.
Akabane is highly recommended for its convenient access to major stations. From Akabane you can get to Tokyo non-stop in about 19 minutes, to Shinjuku in about 14 minutes, and to Ikebukuro in 8 minutes. Being on the Keihin-Tohoku and Saikyo lines, Akabane also allows easy access to locales north and south of the city. For example, from here you can get directly to Yokohama in less than 45 minutes on the Saikyo line.
Akabane is also a major shopping destination in northern Tokyo. On the west side are the APIRE and eCute shopping centers and an Ito Yokado supermarket. Akabane Philippine Square is also near the station. Sarap Bussan, on the first floor offers filipino foods, snacks and delicacies, as well as electronics, computers and accessories. On the north side of the station is a big branch of Biba Home, which sells pet supplies and home and kitchen goods.
Average rent for a 1K in Akabane is about ¥75,900 ($690) per month.
Jujo, located on the on Saikyo Line, is another notable residential and shopping neighborhood in Kita Ward.
Jujo Ginza is the largest shotengai (pedestrian shopping arcade) in Kita, with about 180 shops and mom-and-pop restaurants. The atmosphere here is retro- and working-class and very representative of the what it is like to live in Kita Ward, as opposed to Tokyo’s more central areas.
Just one-stop south of Akabane on the Keihin-Tohoku line is Oji, another major hub station in northern Tokyo. It is served by the JR Keihin-Tohoku line, Tokyo Metro Namboku line, and the Tokyo Toei Sakura Tram (which is the new name given to the Toden Arakawa Line), a hybrid tram-light rail line. It is one of Tokyo’s few remaining tram lines and runs through Arakawa, Kita, Toshima and Shinjuku Wards, with its southern terminus at Waseda Station.
Oji is a highly recommended residential area for people commuting anywhere along the Keihin-Tohoku line (for example, 16-minutes direct to Tokyo Station) and the Namboku line (a 23-min direct ride to Roppongi-Itchome Station and 25-min direct to the tony residential area of Azabu Juban in Minato Ward).
Oji is historically important as a paper making district and for being a high-class residential area. Today, it is a highly sought after residential area for families who want to be closer to traditional Tokyo and opens spaces, while still allowing for a doable commute. It cannot be considered an area with a lot of Western residents, but is well-known among longer-term foreign residents who want to avoid stereotypically “ex-pat central” areas.
Asukayama Park is located just south of Oji Station, Asukayama Park. A small free monorail connects Oji Station to the north side of Asukayama Park, which has an old SL train and huge playground and water park. This makes it a great day out for the kids in the summer! The park is also home to the Asukayama Museum, the Paper Museum and the Shibusawa Memorial Museum (Shibusawa Eiichi was a leader in business and finance who fostered the growth and development of the modern Japanese economy). Please note that the museum will be temporarily closed until March 28, 2020).
Asukayama Park is one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots for residents of Kita and the surrounding wards. It is said that Yoshimune Tokugawa, the eighth shogun of the Tokugawa clan, ordered 1,000 cherry trees to be planted there during the Edo period. About 650 trees still remain to this day. Asukayama Park is supposedly also the first public cherry blossom spot in the city to allow visitors to picnic and consume alcohol. In the summer, Asukayama Park is famous for hydrangea.
Lycée français international de Tokyo (LFIT) – French International School of Tokyo
The Lycée français international de Tokyo (LFIT), was established in 1975 in near Kudanshita Station in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. The campus was moved to a six-acre site in the Takinogawa district of Kita Ward in 2013, but for students commuting to the school by train, Shin Itabashi Station on the Toei Mita line (located in Itabashi Ward) is the nearest station. For more on the French international school in Tokyo, please see the Itabashi Ward Guide.