Mejiro Area Guide

Mejiro is a neighborhood in Toshima Ward. Most well known as the home to Gakushuin University, one of the top universities in Tokyo. For those looking for an upscale residential vibe or respite from the dense crowds of downtown Tokyo, Mejiro might fit the bill.

Contents

Location

Located in the western part of Toshima Ward, Mejiro is a residential neighborhood that offers good livability in a quiet corner of Tokyo. It is known for its high-class atmosphere, historic significance as an enclave for the literati and well-to-do, and the elite Gakushuin University. Mejiro also enjoys a reputation of having great educational facilities, which attracts a fair amount of families to the area. With this kind of status in mind, you won’t find pachinko parlors and late-night izakayas surrounding the station. For a calmer, more reserved Tokyo living experience, Mejiro might just fit the bill.

Key Stats

Average Rent in Mejiro

Apartment Type Average Rent ($1 = ¥110)
1R 1K ¥106,100/month ($960)
1LDK 2K 2DK ¥180,300/month ($1,640)
2LDK 3K 3DK ¥241,100/month ($2,190)

Apartments For Rent in Mejiro

Train Lines

JR/Subway/Other Line
JR East Yamanote

Accessibility

Transportation to…  Line Time
Shinjuku Yamanote, direct 7 min
Shibuya Yamanote, direct 13 min
Tokyo Yamanote, direct 27 min
Shinagawa Yamanote, direct 26 min
Roppongi Yamanote (Ebisu), transfer to Hibiya 29 min
Yokohama, Kanagawa Yamanote (Shinjuku), transfer to Shonan-Shinjuku 43 min

Orientation Around the Station

A shot of Mejiro Station. Photo: Tokyo-Good via Wikimedia Commons

There are only two stations on the Yamanote Line which do not have any direct connections to other train or subway lines. Mejiro is one of them. With only one train line at the station, it’s a very straightforward station to navigate. In fact, there’s only one entrance/exit so it’s almost impossible to get lost inside the station.

  • The exit of Mejiro Station brings you right above the tracks, on a section of Mejiro-dori Ave. that overpasses the train tracks. Going right from here will get you close to Gakushuin University, while going left will bring you through a few shops/restaurants along the main road.

Mejiro is sandwiched between two much larger stations on the Yamanote Line: Ikebukuro to the north and Takadanobaba to the south. While its nearby Yamanote Line peers are staples of urban Tokyo living, Mejiro is the odd-station out in that it’s a much calmer and primarily residential area.

Gakushuin University

One of the most (if not the most) famous claims to fame of Mejiro is that it is home to Gakushuin University. This is a very prestigious private university that can boast many members of the Imperial Family among its alma mater. The campus is easily accessed from Mejiro Station, and having this elite university in the neighborhood gives the area a refined and cultured atmosphere.

One of Gakushuin University’s buildings. This university is one of the top private universities in Tokyo and is the reason for Mejiro’s upscale atmosphere. Photo: Gotanda via Wikimedia Commons

Seibo Hospital

Towards the western edge of Mejiro, in the Naka Ochiai neighborhood, is Seibo Hospital. Hospital visits and doctor’s appointments can be stressful in Japan because most medical facilities do not have English-speaking staff. Seibo Hospital (also known as International Catholic Hospital) is a major full-service hospital that has English, French, and Spanish-speaking staff. Its departments include internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, and dermatology, among others.

Eating

While not particularly a notable destination for foodies, the upscale nature of the neighborhood provides residents with a variety of charming (and sometimes quite refined) cafes and restaurants. Shimura Confectionary is a delightful traditional Japanese sweets shop where you can indulge your sweet tooth. For actual meals and not just desserts, Narutake serves up Japanese meals in a cozy, intimate setting.

Livability

The neighborhood of Mejiro has an upscale residential vibe. Since the area is known for the high level of educational facilities, it tends to attract families who are interested in providing their children with top-notch educations near highly rated Japanese public and private schools. However, there are no international schools in the immediate vicinity.

The Lycée Français International de Tokyo (French International School), located near Itabashi Station in Kita Ward, is about a 25-min train ride away. The British School‘s Shibuya campus is also about a 25-min ride away, direct on the Yamanote line. Families who want to be within walking-distance of Nishimachi International School or Sacred Heart may want to instead consider Hiroo.

Mejiro is very clean (even among Tokyo standards) and although Mejiro Station is only serviced by the Yamanote Line, it’s just one stop away from major transportation hubs.

Mejiro is one of the more family-friendly neighborhoods on the Yamanote line. It offers a great balance of proximity to city-center convenience and a calm residential feel.

The Trad building is a small shopping mall right next to Mejiro Station. Inside you’ll find a selection of cafes, restaurants, and shops.  Photo: Suikotei via Wikimedia Commons

In fact, within Mejiro is Tokugawa Village, a high-class gated community just a 5-minute walk from Mejiro Station. This verdant oasis within the urban landscape of Tokyo is a highly sought-after neighborhood, particularly for diplomats and expats of international companies living in Tokyo with their families. The area gets its name from being built on the site of Marquis Yoshichika Tokugawa’s residence. The Tokugawa family is the most powerful family in Japanese history from the end of the Sengoku period (1467 – 1615) until the end of the Edo period (1603 – 1868). In fact, members of the Tokugawa family ruled Japan for so long that the Edo period is also referred to as the Tokugawa period.

Since the area tends to be family-oriented, single apartment hunters might feel as if the area is a little too tame. Those who enjoy a calmer side of Tokyo will be very pleased with Mejiro, but those who prefer exploring Tokyo’s nightlife might be better suited with a more downtown location. A great feature of Mejiro’s location is that that Ikebukuro is about 10 minute walk away. This gives residents great entertainment and shopping options nearby, so there is a sense of balance between calm and excitement in the area.

You can find pockets of nature within this neighborhood, such as the Mejiro Woods as pictured here. Photo: The Nature Box via Wikimedia Commons

Most of the shops and restaurants in the area have a slightly upscale clientele in mind and prices reflect that. The high-class nature of the neighborhood is on the forefront of its reputation, but it is also livable for those on a bit of a budget.

Short History of Mejiro

The name of Mejiro (目白) originates from the Goshiki Fudo (五色不動), a group of five temples in Tokyo listed in Buddhist texts. The name Goshiki Fudo literally translates to “five colors,” and these colors are associated with five elements and five directions. One of these colors is white (白), and so the temple in the area was named Mejiro (目白) and in turn the area became known as Mejiro.

Mejiro Temple. One of the five temples listed as part of the Goshiki Fudo in Buddhist text. Photo: Kentin via Wikimedia Commons

Although the area is named after this part of Buddhism, there aren’t actually five of these temples. The only two temples in Tokyo that bear resemblance to the Goshiki Fudo are Mejiro and Meguro. In fact, the historical accuracies of this claim of five mystical temples in Tokyo are a little murky and actually might have roots in a popular mystery novel in the Meiji period.

Around 1922, the neighborhood of Mejiro began to attract artistic and open-minded individuals. With this boom in residents’ interest in cultural activities, Mejiro Bunkamura (culture villages) dotted the area. Many historically significant individuals chose to make this area their home, including Nobuko Yoshiya (a novelist whose works explored same-sex relationships during a very conservative era of Japan’s history, and one of Japan’s first women to emulate Western fashion and thinking).

Useful Info at a Glance

Supermarkets

Nearby Supermarkets Hours Address
Queen’s Isetan Mejiro 10 AM – 10 PM 〒171-0031 Tokyo, Toshima City, Mejiro, 2 Chome−39−1 トラッド目白地下1階
Kinokuniya entree Mon. – Fri.: 7:30 AM – 9:30 PM

Sat. – Sun.: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM

3 Chome-3 Mejiro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0031
Peacock store Mejiro 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM 3 Chome-14-21 Shimoochiai, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 161-0033
My Basket Mejiroekinishi Shop 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM 3 Chome-19-2 Shimoochiai, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 161-0033

*This is just a selection of supermarkets in the area.

Universities

Nearby Universities Information
Gakushuin University Gakushuin University Home Page
Sophia University Mejiro Seibo Campus Sophia University Home Page
Japan Women’s University Mejiro Campus Japan Women’s University Home Page

Language Schools

Nearby Language Schools Information Address
Japan College of Foreign Language JFCL Home Page 5 Chome-18-17 Mejiro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0031

Ward Office, Police, Library

Nearby Community Center/City Hall/Police Station Hours Address
Toshima-ward Mejiro Library Mon.: Closed

Tue. – Fri.: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Sat. – Sun.: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

4 Chome-31-8 Mejiro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0031
Toshima City Hall Mon. – Fri.: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Sat. – Sun.: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

2 Chome-45-1 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-8422
Mejiro Police Station Mon. – Fri.: 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM

Sat. – Sun.: Closed

2 Chome-10-2 Mejiro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0031

Hospitals/Clinics

*These are examples of hospitals/clinics in the area.

Parks

Family-Friendly Features

Nearby Family Friendly Features Address
Residents’ Hall Mejiro 2 Chome-20-26 Mejiro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0031

Mejiro Apartments

Apartments for rent near Mejiro Station:

Mejiro is a very livable neighborhood that has a very clean and upper-class atmosphere. Because of this, rent in the area tends to be slightly higher on average, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find great deals on apartments here. For example, you can find studio 1R apartments in Mejiro for around ¥60,000 per month!

Apartments For Rent in Mejiro

Where should you live in Tokyo? Check out all our Tokyo Area Guides to find the perfect place!

Lead photo: Takayuki Kusano via Flickr

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