- -- 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.
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)|
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|Seiyu Takadanobaba Store||10:00 AM – 11:00 PM||〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 3-chōme−3, 新宿区高田馬場３丁目３−８|
|Peacock Takadanobaba||9:00 AM – 11:00 PM||〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 1 Chome−28−7 ピーコックストア高田馬場店内|
|Ozeki Supermarket Takadanobaba||10:00 AM – 9:00 PM||3 Chome-12-10 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075|
|Seijo Ishii Takadanobaba||24 hrs||〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 2 Chome−13−2 プライムゲート 1F|
|OK Takadanobaba||8:30 AM – 9:30 PM||3 Chome-29-1 Takada, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0033|
|Maruetsu||9:00 AM – 9:00 PM||3 Chome-10-1 Okubo, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0072|
*This is just a selection of supermarkets in the area.
|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
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.
|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|
|Nearby Language Schools||Information||Address|
|International Study Institute||International Study Institute Home Page||2 Chome-14-19 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075|
|Human Academy Japanese Language School Tokyo||Human Academy Japanese Language School Tokyo Home Page||〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 4 Chome−9−9 早稲田予備校13時ホール|
|Sakura Tokyo Japanese School||Sakura Tokyo Japanese School Home Page||〒161-0033 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shimoochiai, 1 Chome−1−1 トキワパレス|
|Sendagaya Japanese Institute||Sendagaya Japanese Institute||1 Chome-1-6 Shimoochiai, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 161-0033|
|Shinwa Foreign Language Academy||Shinwa Foreign Language Academy Home Page||〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 2 Chome−10−6 第2新東ビル|
|Shinjuku Japanese Language Institute||Shinjuku Japanese Language Institute Home Page||2 Chome-9-7 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075|
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
|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
|1 Chome-9-8 Shimoochiai, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 161-0033|
|Takadanobabasakura Clinic||〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 4 Chome−11−8 河上ビル ３Ｆ|
|Mikikodomo Clinic (Pediatrician)||1 Chome-24-14 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075|
|Takadanobaba Ekimae / Jibiinkoka Hiro Clinics||〒169-0075 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Takadanobaba, 3 Chome−2−5 ＡＮビルディング 7F|
*These are examples of clinics in the area.
|Toyama Park||3 Chome-5 Okubo, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0072|
|Otomeyama Park||2 Chome-10 Shimoochiai, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 161-0033|
|Takadanobaba Park||4 Chome-22-43 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075|
|Suwa Park||1 Chome-16 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0075|
|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|
|Nearby Department Stores||Information||Address|
|Bigbox Takadanobaba||Bigbox Takadanobaba Home Page||1 Chome-35-3 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-8677|
Apartments for rent near Takadanobaba Station:
- Takadanobaba Station apartments
- Mejiro Station apartments
- Shimo-Ochiai Station apartments
- Okubo Station apartments
- Shin-Okubo Station apartments
- Waseda Station apartments
- Nishi-Waseda Station apartments
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.
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Lead photo: Scott Kouchi