Takadanobaba Area Guide

Takadanobaba exists as a melting pot of two distinct communities: it's a commuter's hub for those in west Tokyo coming in on either the Seibu Shinjuku or Tozai (and Chuo-Sobu) lines and a college town (anchored by Waseda University). This eclectic combination of populations gives the area a unique feel and energy, especially due to the large number of cheap bars and restaurants that you can find.


-- Home to a number of universities and colleges, including prestigious Waseda University and many Japanese language schools.
-- College town vibe.
-- Izakayas and restaurants tend to cater to students, which means you can always find affordable dining options.
-- Lively nightlife in Sakae Street.



Takadanobaba Station is located in the northern area of Shinjuku Ward. Adjacent to Shinjuku Ward to the north are Bunkyo and Toshima, to the east is Chiyoda, bordering the south are Shibuya and Minato, and you’ll find Nakano to the west of Shinjuku.

Historically, the area of Takadanobaba was referred to as Totsuka, and today you’ll still see traces of this previous area name. For example, Shinjuku City Hall has a separate office near Takadanobaba Station called the Totsuka Special Office. The name of Takadanobaba comes from when the land was used for horse riding and horse racing in the early Edo period. The land was owned by a family named Takata, and the word baba means “horse area.” Today, you might hear some youngsters refer to the area as just “baba” to cut down on syllables to sound as hip as possible.

Key Stats

Average Rent in Takadanobaba

Apartment Type Average Rent ($1 = ¥110)
1R 1K ¥102,000/month ($930)
1LDK 2K 2DK ¥233,900/month ($2130)
2LDK 3K 3DK ¥306,500/month ($2790)

Apartments For Rent in Takadanobaba

Train Lines

JR/Subway/Other Line
JR East Yamanote
Seibu Seibu Shinjuku
Tokyo Metro Tozai


Transportation to…  Line Time
Shinjuku Yamanote, direct 5 min
Shibuya Yamanote, direct 11 min
Tokyo Yamanote, direct 29 min
Waseda Tozai, direct 2 min
Kichijoji Tozai (Nakano), train continues on Chuo-Sobu Line 18 min
Kodaira Seibu Shinjuku, direct 23 min
Omiya, Saitama Yamanote (Ikebukuro), transfer to Saikyo Rapid 35 min

Waseda Street cuts through Takadanobaba – you’ll find plenty of restaurants and businesses lining the street. If you follow it east of Takadanobaba Station you’ll make your way to Waseda University. Photo: Scott Kouchi

Orientation Around the Station

When arriving at Takadanobaba Station, you’ll find that there are a few options for exiting the station. Basically, it boils down to exiting to the heavily trafficked Waseda Street or to the smaller streets towards the south of the station.

  • The Waseda Exit of Takadanobaba Station is aptly named as it faces towards Waseda University. The defining landmark of this exit is the BIGBOX shopping center just around the corner of the exit. The adjacent road, Waseda Road, is lined with a variety of cafes and restaurants tailored mainly towards students. Across from this exit you’ll see the entrance to Sakae Street, where you’ll find cheap, affordable izakayas (Japanese style bars). On weekends these establishments will be packed with students unwinding and taking a break from their studies.
  • The Toyama Exit brings you to the south of the station, where you can head either east or west. It’s much less crowded compared to the Waseda Exit, where the popular hangouts and meeting spots are located.

With the handful of universities and colleges located nearby, you’ll notice that Takadanobaba has a bit of a college-town feel. Most of the cafes and restaurants around the area are tailored for a student’s needs and budget. You’ll also find establishments geared towards those stopping for a quick drink in the evening after a day’s work.

Once you get a little bit away from the station, you can find pockets of Takadanobaba which reflect a more vintage-Tokyo aesthetic. Photo: Scott Kouchi

Blending Past and Present Tokyo

Although Takadanobaba is located in Shinjuku City, parts of the area haven’t been swept up in as much redevelopment, especially compared to the glitz and glamor around Shinjuku Station. Just a short walk from the station, you can almost feel transported back in time down some of Takadanobaba’s retro streets. If this kind of vibe is your calling, you might be more interested in the Yanesen area in north Tokyo, which is famous for holding onto the traditional old-school Tokyo environment. But Takadanobaba blends this retro atmosphere with the lively energy of a college town that’s just a few minutes ride to the “bright lights and big city” of Shinjuku.

Roughly a 10-minute walk from Takadanobaba Station is Orange Court. It’s a small shopping center connected to a Maruetsu supermarket, providing residents in the area with a convenient one-stop-shop location. Photo: Scott Kouchi

It’s All Fun and Games at Bigbox Takadanobaba

Takadanobaba would be bereft of a department store or shopping mall if it weren’t for the Bigbox shopping plaza right next to the east of the station (outside the Waseda Exit). This building is where you’ll find the Seibu Fitness Club gym, a bowling alley, a video game arcade, and a selection of chain restaurants. This adds an entertainment aspect near the station. You can also scratch your itch for excitement by hopping on the train to Shinjuku or Ikebukuro (either station is just 5 minutes away on the Yamanote Line).

Indulge Your Frugal Side

Near the station is also Shinjuku Recycle Katsudo Center, where flea markets are held. These only happen twice a month though, so you’ll have to plan ahead when you want to browse some deals on used goods. You can also donate your old clothes or appliances to be sold here as well.

Astroboy’s Origins

As the fictional birthplace of the extremely well-known character Astroboy (known in Japan as 鉄腕アトム or Mighty Atom), you will notice a large, detailed mural across the Waseda Exit of the station dedicated to Astroboy and his friends. Since 2003 (the fictional year of Astroboy’s birth), the station has played an Astroboy-themed tune when alerting passengers that doors are closing.

Various events are held at the Bellesalle Event Hall, including beer festivals, video game tournaments, and research conventions! It’s also next to Toyama Park, a nice open location for getting some fresh air! Photo: Scott Kouchi


Takadanobaba is also considered a haven for ramen lovers. You’ll find a wide variety of shops in the area serving their take on the dish! You can have your choice of Sapporo-style ramen at Raiden, a hearty roast beef and ramen combination offered at Dogen, or a unique fried-noodle take on ramen prepared at Tsurugi. For those looking for ramen that isn’t as heavy, Tori Paitan Kageyama serves a lighter, chicken-stock based broth with fresh vegetables – particularly popular with women!

Trading Card Game Sanctuary in Tokyo

One obscure feature of Takadanobaba is that it’s a popular destination for Tokyo residents who play trading card games. In particular, the Hareruya Tournament Center is where players come to play games with each other, most notably for games of Magic: The Gathering.

Right across from the Waseda Exit of Takadanobaba Station is the entrance to Sakae Street. You can even see how densely packed the izakayas are in this picture! Photo: Scott Kouchi


In all honesty, Takadanobaba probably doesn’t rank highly on most livability factors for families. The high number of bars in the area tends to result in quite a few drunken rabble-rousers in the evening and night. Most of the establishments are also geared towards university students or commuters, so it can be difficult to find family-friendly entertainment near the station.

However, if you are single you might love the diversity of cheap bars and restaurants in Takadanobaba. The lively nightlife might also be something that is right up your alley, especially if you’re a student.

Of course, “Baba” is also highly recommended for students attending any one of the many universities, colleges, and language schools nearby. Check below for nearby universities and language schools, all of which are within walking distance of Takadanobaba Station.

This area might be an option for couples who want to live on the Yamanote Line, but it might be difficult to find alone time to just relax together since this is a relatively active area. However, if both of you love the energy of city life you might want to consider Takadanobaba.

Useful Info at a Glance


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


Nearby Gyms Hours Address
Seibu Fitness Club Mon. – Fri.: 8:30 AM – 11:00 PM

Sat.: 8:30 AM – 9:30 PM

Sun.: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM

1 Chome-35-3 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075
Club Selfitz 24 hrs 〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 4-chōme−17, 高田馬場4-17-15東陽ビル3F
Anytime Fitness Waseda 24 hrs 〒169-0051 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Nishiwaseda, 2-chōme−18, 新宿区西早稲田2丁目18−18 堀記念ビル 1F
Expa Takadanobaba (Women only) Mon. – Thur.: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Fri.: Closed

Sat. – Sun.: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM

〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 4 Chome−11−10 Kaleido(旧:テオリア高田馬場)3階 VORT

*These are just examples of gyms available in the area.


Nearby Universities Information
Waseda University Waseda University Home Page
Gakushuin University Gakushuin University Home Page
Japan College of Foreign Languages Japan College of Foreign Languages Home Page
Tokyo Fuji University Tokyo Fuji University Home Page
The Graduate School of Information & Communication The Graduate School of Information & Communication Home Page
J.F. Oberlin University J.F. Oberlin University Home Page

Language Schools

Ward Office, Police, Library

Nearby Community Center/City Hall/Police Station Hours Address
Shinjuku City Totsuka Office Mon., Wed. – Fri.: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Tue.: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM

Sat. – Sun.: Closed

2 Chome-18-1 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075
Totsuka Police Station Mon. – Fri.: 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM

Sat. – Sun.: Closed

Holidays: Closed

3 Chome-30-13 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0051
Shinjuku City Shimoochiai Library Mon., Wed. – Sat.: 9:00 AM – 9:45 PM

Sun.: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tue.: Closed

1 Chome-9-8 Shimoochiai, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 161-0033


*These are examples of clinics in the area.


Family-Friendly Features

Nearby Family Friendly Features Address
Takadanobaba Children Hall 1 3 Chome-18-21 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075
Takadanobaba 2nd Children Hall 1 Chome-4-17 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075

Department Stores

Nearby Department Stores Information Address
Bigbox Takadanobaba Bigbox Takadanobaba Home Page 1 Chome-35-3 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-8677

Takadanobaba Apartments

Apartments for rent near Takadanobaba Station:

The average rent for apartments in Takadanobaba is quite high, but there are actually a lot of affordable apartments aimed at students. If you browse our site, you can find rooms in shared houses starting from ¥38,000 around Takadanobaba Station. Rent for 1R rooms around Takadanobaba Station starts at ¥55,000. Shop around a little and you should be able to find something that fits your budget.

Apartments For Rent in Takadanobaba

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

Lead photo: Scott Kouchi

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