Kokubunji is a city with a population of about 123,000, about 1.7% of whom are foreigners. It is located in the western reaches of greater Tokyo and is primarily a residential town serving as a bedroom community for people working in the capital; from Kokubunji Station, it is a 30-minute direct ride to Shinjuku Station on the JR Chuo line. Kokubunji is also known among locals for its many beautiful gardens and quiet temples and being home to a number of prestigious public and private schools and universities.
If you want to live closer to nature, while still being within commuting distance of central Tokyo and enjoying lower average rent than in the city center, Kokubunji is worth considering.
It is especially recommended for international students studying at Chuo University, Meiji University, and Tokyo Gakugei University, all of which are within an easy commute of Kokubunji Station.
Average Rent in Kokubunji
The average rent for an apartment near Kokubunji Station (as of September 2018) is:
- Studio (1R): ¥53,900 ($484 @ 110 JPY = 1 USD)
- Studio (1K): ¥62,300 ($561)
- 1BR (1LDK): ¥120,800 ($1,087)
- 2BR (2LDK): ¥190,000 ($1,709)
- 3BR (3LDK): ¥230,800 ($2,076)
You can find apartments for lower than the average rent levels mentioned above. Search for:
- Apartments for rent in Kokubunji. Listings for studio apartments start from around ¥45,000 ($405) per month
- Shared house and guesthouses in Kokubunji
The city of Kokubunji is located about 27-km west of Shinjuku Station. To the west is Tachikawa City and to the east is Musashino City. Kodaira City is just north and and Fuchu, Tama and Inagi Cities are to the south.
Transportation and Access
Kokubunji Station is a major hub located on the JR Chuo line and the Seibu Kokubunji and Seibu Tamako lines. The JR Chuo line, which runs approximately east-west through Tokyo is a major rail line. From Kokubunji, it is about 30-min direct ride to Shinjuku and about a 50-min direct ride to Tokyo Station, so it is very convenient for city-center commuting. The Seibu Kokubunji line runs approximately north-south. From Kokubunji Station it is a direct 30-min ride to Tokorozawa Station in Saitama.
The Seibu Tamako line is convenient for getting to Sayama Nature Park, which is about a 30-min direct ride away. Sayama Nature Park offers gorgeous views of Mt. Fuji and encompasses Sayama and Tama Lakes, the two massive reservoirs which supply Tokyo with fresh water.
Orientation Around the Station
In April 2018, two large mixed-used commercial and residential towers opened right in Kokubunji Station as part of a large re-development project for the area: Cocobunji East and Cocobunji West. At 36-stories high, they are not only major landmarks but also offer a plethora of new shopping and dining options. Shinjuku is just a 30-min ride away, but you may not need to go that far to get your shopping fix.
Shopping venues in the station building include CELEO Kokubunji, MI-TS Kokubunji, and a branch of Marui department store.
The Tonogayato Gardens, a classic Japanese garden with a small pond and landscaped greenery, is just a 3-minute walk from the South Exit of Kokubunji Station. This garden is one of Kokubunji’s most well-known tourist attractions.
Koganei Park, a large city park, is a favorite place for locals year-round and an excellent spot for cherry blossom viewing in the spring.
Support for Foreigners
The Kokubunji International Association offers Japanese language classes, international exchange, consultation services, and so on for foreigners residing in the city.
Official website of Kokubunji City
Schools and Recommended Universities for Foreigners
There are a number of well-known schools and universities located in Kokubunji.
Waseda Jitsugyo School, located about a 10-minute walk from the station is attached to prestigous Waseda University.
The following universities are located within easy commuting distance of Kokubunji Station.
Tokyo Gakugei University is located just a 10-min bus ride from the station. Chuo University (with 846 foreign students in 2018) has a campus located in Tama, about a 40-min train ride from Kokubunji Station. Meiji University, one of the largest most prestigious universities in Tokyo, has a number of campuses in Tokyo and Kawasaki; the campus in Chiyoda Ward is about a 40-min direct ride from Kokubunji Station. In 2017, Meiji University had 2,077 foreign students.
These are the top three picks for restaurants in Kokubunji.
# 1 Kurenai (Ramen)
This could very well be the best ramen shop in Tokyo.
#2 Mutahiro Ramen
Another highly rated ramen restaurant in Kokubunji.
#3 Lighthouse (Dutch)
Lighthouse is a British pub with a Dutch owner. Foreigners make up a large part of the clientele, while many of the staff are foreigners studying Japanese or Japanese studying English.
Tokyo is a big, crowded city and is a lot of fun for tourists, but if you want to live in a relaxing area with a bit of nature near you and many fewer neighbors, consider Kokubunji: a great college town not too far from the center of Tokyo.
By: Kohei Nagaoka