Shin-Okubo: Tokyo’s very own Little Korea

By Erika Van 'T Veld

When living in Japan, you won’t need to purchase a plane ticket to visit Korea: enter Shin-Okubo, Tokyo’s very own Koreatown. Conveniently located just one subway station from Shinjuku (or about 20 minutes on foot), this trendy neighborhood is always filled with young locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re hunting for all the K-beauty products of the 10-step skincare routine, a spicy bibimbap (rice bowl) topped with even spicier kimchi, or just want to jam out to K-pop music blasting from every storefront, Shin-Okubo is an excellent place to immerse yourself in a youthful mix of Seoul and Tokyo.


History and Background

South Korean immigrants first moved into Shin-Okubo around 1983, when Japan opened its doors to foreign exchange students. Back then, it was an inexpensive neighborhood overshadowed by the commercial and economic city of Shinjuku that was just south of it. Over the last few decades, many South Korean immigrants have followed suit and settled in the Shin-Okubo area. 

It wasn’t until a huge boom in over-the-top Korean TV dramas that K-drama merchandise was practically flying off the shelves of the Shin-Okubo stores ("Winter Sonata" marathon, anyone?) More recently, the K-pop and K-beauty craze continues to support the popularity of the capital’s mini Korea. 

Things To Do

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© Savvy Tokyo

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Great place to visit!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Was just there last night for some Korean bbq. Very tasty. Just be aware it is crowded as all hell.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was there Monday for lunch. Glad to see it is as crowded as ever. I hear both Japanese and Korean spoken there. Fortunately, the younger generation doesn't pay attention to the news about the bad relations between Japan and Korea. When the current generation of leaders dies off and they take over, things will go a lot better.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

We have a similar Korea-town in London.

There are some good Korean restaurants in the centre of London, of course - but there's a wonderful Korean "focus" in a suburb called New Malden - like Ogikubo in Tokyo - where you can get all sorts of Korean food - and indeed Japanese food that the Korean residents import also.

Please - Japan and Korea - sort out all these current political issues - they are so negative. You are both great countries that have so much to contribute to the world - And - if you do it TOGETHER - you will have a huge impact. I wish all the best to you both. You are wonderful countries.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

David Cope, I didn't know there's a Korean focus in Ogikubo too. Do you know some of the names of the Korean restaurants in Ogikubo or near which Exit of Ogikubo station? Thanks for this info

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Quite possibly one of the most irritating places to walk around in, it's not just the crowds but the fact that the main street was clearly not built for the amount of traffic it gets now. Very narrow sidewalks that are constantly at full capacity and the food stands and displays outside the stores create bottlenecks. I suppose if you're just there to window shop and enjoy the atmosphere then it's fine, but if you actually have a place you need to be at the crowds are just frustrating.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dammit, I was in Yoyogi/Shinjuku area the other day. This sounds great. I loved the Korean areas in London (New Malden and parts of the West End) and always tried to visit when possible,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Was there earlier this week for some Korean fried chicken and Hotteok. Always a fun place to visit!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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