Do you know about the Setagaya Ward in Tokyo? It is one of the 23 wards of Tokyo, with various unique neighbourhoods and areas, along with different things to do and sights to see. If you are wondering what is Setagaya ward, the different areas inside Setagaya, the best things to do, history, accommodation and more, check out this ultimate Setagaya ward area guide.
What is Setagaya city ward?
Boasting the largest population of Tokyo’s 23 wards (approximately 910,000), Setagaya Ward is a huge suburban residential city that is actually larger than some prefectures.
Until recently, Setagaya was the largest ward in terms of area, until it was overtaken by Ota Ward, which expanded the Haneda Airport island. Like Meguro-ku, Setagaya-ku was once nothing more than a farming village in the suburbs of Edo. Still, when it was incorporated into Tokyo City in 1932, the population was only about 133,000. By the time of the high economic growth period, the population had soared to the 800,000 level, and it is still increasing.
While towns along the Odakyu and Tokyu Denentoshi lines were developed after World War II, and everything from detached houses to city-owned housing complexes was built at a rapid pace, some of the old farm roads in the countryside were turned into roads for daily life, and the road infrastructure in some parts of the ward could not keep up. The slow construction of the Outer Ring Road has also caused severe traffic congestion on major arterial roads such as Kanpachi-dori.
Even so, there is still a strong tendency for people living in Tokyo to be drawn in by the image of Setagaya Ward as an “excellent residential area” propagated by the mass media. There are a certain number of Setagaya fundamentalists or Setagaya-ism followers who act as if Setagaya Ward is the one and only best residential area.
The average annual income of Setagaya Ward residents is 5.06 million yen, seventh among the 23 wards, which is not as rich as one might expect. It is only an average value because of the wide range of neighbourhoods, from the upscale residential areas to the zones lined with metropolitan housing.
Living in Setagaya City Ward
To put it simply, the name “Setagaya-ku” itself has become a brand. It has been inherited from the image of Setagaya Ward as “the place where the average Japanese middle-class family lives” that existed during the period of high economic growth more than half a century ago. Many of these residents take pride in the fact that they live in Setagaya Ward, and will never leave the area.
In recent years, however, the quality of new residents coming to Setagaya Ward has been changing slightly, driven by the image propagated by the media. In recent years, the redevelopment of the Futakotamagawa area has resulted in the birth of a chic mall with the highly conscious store Tsutaya Denki as a core tenant, which has caused even more people to rush to the Denentoshi Line, which is already extremely crowded with customers.
The imprinting of “Setagaya = rich people,” as typified by the rise of mistaken celebrity residents in the Futakotamagawa area, in particular, combined with the effects of Tokyu’s unique brand strategy, has led to an influx of people who are country people who do not understand the value of land and pay ridiculously high rent for land along the Tama River and former agricultural land that is not much more expensive than the land itself.
There are also areas such as Seijo, Seta, Fukazawa, and parts of Daizawa that are actually very upscale residential areas that are out of reach of commoners, as well as neighbouring “marginal settlements in the heart of Tokyo” such as the Shimoma Apartments, where low-income residents are live. In other words, Setagaya Ward is home to a wide variety of people.
History of Setagaya City Ward
Bordered by the Kokubunji cliff line along the Tama River in the southwest, the terrain is a plateau in the east and a lowland in the west.
The area is one of the most densely populated areas in Tokyo, and ruins of various ages have been discovered in the entire area, indicating that the area had been well established since ancient times.
When Ieyasu Tokugawa entered the Kanto region and established the Edo shogunate, most of the villages in Setagaya came under his direct control.
After the Sino-Japanese War, the demand for gravel increased due to the progress of civil engineering and construction projects. A railroad was built to supply gravel from the Tama River, and in 1907, the first train in the district, the Tamagawa Train, opened.
From the Taisho Period to the early Showa Period, the Keio, Odakyu, Oimachi, and Inokashira lines were constructed, and after the Great Kanto Earthquake, the population grew rapidly, and the area along the railroad line was quickly transformed into a residential area.
In 1932, two towns and two villages formed Setagaya Ward, and in 1936, Chitose and Kinuta villages in Kita-Tama County were incorporated into Setagaya Ward.
Areas of Setagaya City Ward
Tokyu Denentoshi Line
The name of the station is a composite of Ikejiri in Setagaya-ku and Ohashi in Meguro-ku. The Mishuku Camp of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is a remnant of the prewar Komazawa Military Training Camp. The many cafes and restaurants on Mishuku Street near Setagaya Park, give off the quality of the modern Setagaya residents.
The first stop on the Tokyu Setagaya Line, a local streetcar line. The shopping district in front of the station, the most ramshackle in Setagaya Ward, spreads out in all directions and is full of life. The “Triangle Zone,” as it is commonly called, in a prime location, is a postwar dining district that was built after the black market. The statue of the goddess Teruko at Taishido, and the Civil Defense Setagaya Korean House, a 100-year-old former military training camp building, are the backstage specialities of the area.
Komazawa Daigaku 駒沢大学
Setagaya Ward residents boast of their high health consciousness, and families with dogs gather at Komazawa Olympic Park.
Famous for the Hasegawa Machiko Memorial Museum of Art. The landmark of the town is the modern twin water towers, which only residents of the neighbourhood can see in full view.
In front of the station is the headquarters of Setagaya Natural Foods, famous for its Setagaya-bred glucosamine. It is popular among the health-conscious elderly of Setagaya Ward. Kinuta Park and Setagaya Art Museum, the pride of Setagaya Ward residents, are located along the Kanpachi Expressway.
With the birth of Futakotamagawa Rise, a hangout for families. The Tamagawa Takashimaya Department Store, beloved by the old Setagaya mums, is also located here. It is the most sophisticated riverside town in Japan and plays a role in the branding of the Tokyu Denentoshi Line.
Shimokitazawa is located near Shibuya Ward. Metropolitan Road No. 420 running in front of the station is undeveloped. The legendary old boarding house Ryochu-so, which was located along the unimproved section of Inokashira-dori Avenue, has been demolished.
Along with Koenji, Shimokitazawa is a theatre and subculture district that is much appreciated by students and young people who have just moved to Tokyo. The Village Vanguard store is strangely spacious. The shopping district is a student town with only 20-somethings strolling around. Perhaps because the Inokashira Line crosses through the area, the fashionable atmosphere is more fashionable than that of Koenji, and the residential areas in the vicinity are more upscale. The Odakyu Line station has gone underground, and redevelopment in front of the station is underway.
A neighbourhood on the western edge of Shimokitazawa. You can find the headquarters of Camel Coffee, which operates Kaldi Coffee Farm, an imported food store that looks like Kintaro candy in every town.
Hanegi Park, famous for its ume groves, is located here. Masuzoe Institute of Political Economy, which serves as the home of former Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, who resigned over allegations of mixing public and private affairs, is located here.
Gotokuji Temple, which is associated with the Hikone Clan, is located in this town. It is famous for its beckoning cat figurines. The shopping street in front of the station is one of the more modest among the many towns along the Odakyu line in Setagaya. The Tokyu Setagaya Line intersects with the station.
The closest station to the Tokyo University of Agriculture campus is a student town. The shopping street in front of the station is full of Chinese restaurants and set menus, but there are also restaurants specialising in pak choi cuisine and organic crepe shops, where 90% of the customers are girls, and elementary school students on their way home from tutoring school enjoy eating crepes that cost over 500 yen each.
Chitose Funabashi 千歳船橋
A town that could be mistaken for Funabashi in Chiba. The unusual architecture along Kampachi Street is the M2 Building, designed by Kengo Kuma.
The shopping area in front of the station is decorated in the Ultraman style, as the area is associated with Tsuburaya Productions. There is a black hot spring bathhouse as well as TV and movie production studios. The house where the Setagaya family was murdered remains in Soshigaya Park. The National Center for Child Health and Development Hospital, a mecca for pediatric care, and the Okura Daibutsu Buddha are also famous.
Seijo is one of the most exclusive residential areas in Setagaya Ward. The supermarket in front of the station is of course, Seijo Ishii. The neat residential area on the north side of the station is the celebrity zone.
Keio Line and Inokashira Line
On the eastern edge of the Shimokitazawa area. The section of Metropolitan Road No. 420 in front of the station is extremely narrow, making it very difficult for cars to come and go. Some areas of Daizawa 2 and 3 Chome are seriously upscale residential areas.
West edge of Shimokitazawa area. Kannana-dori in front of the station.
Higashimatsubara 東松原: Passing through the small shopping street in front of the station, you will find Hanegi Park, one of the most famous plum trees in Setagaya.
A shopping district in front of the station that is so downbeat and seedy that it is hard to believe that it is in Setagaya Ward.
As the station name suggests, this is a student town with Meiji University’s Izumi Campus. The shopping district in front of the station belongs to Setagaya Ward, but it is generally geared toward students and has little character. The station is a transfer station between the Keio Line and the Inokashira Line, so Keio users use the station frequently.
This station is the terminus of the Tokyu Setagaya Line tramway. In front of the station is a postwar market, and together with the crossing of the Keio Line, the scenery in front of the station is reminiscent of the Showa period.
A student town with the campus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Nihon University. The old and dirty store of “Aburamen”, a long-established abura soba shop, which can be seen from Koshu Kaido, is a landmark of the town. The taste is loved by students.
Similar to Shimokitazawa, but a completely different location and atmosphere.
The nearest station to the Tokyo Metropolitan Matsuzawa Hospital, a mecca for psychiatric care. Along the Kanpachi Ring Road is the Shin-Ene Hachimanyama SS, a very inexpensive gas station that always appears on TV.
As the station name implies, Roka Koshun-en Gardens is located along Kampachi, but it is quite far from the station. The Showa-era market “Marubi Store” on the north side of the station and the old-fashioned shopping street in front of the station is nice.
Chitose Karasuyama 千歳烏山
The most prosperous shopping area in Setagaya Ward on the Keio Line.
The station is located in front of Chofu City, but the nearest station is in Kyuta, Setagaya Ward, and some areas in Kamiososhigaya.
Tokyu Oimachi Line and Meguro Line
Outside of the Nikotama area. It is also close to Futakotamagawa Park with Starbucks where conscious people gather. Easy to get to Yokohama from Kanpachi-dori to Daisan Keihin. Beware of bald-headed males living here, as they will be tossed about in various ways. There is hair (Uenoge) and hair (Shimonoge) on the Kawasaki City side.
This town is known for Todoroki Valley Park, a great natural beauty on the outskirts of Setagaya. The daily scenery of madams with dogs strolling around is typical of Setagaya, but I saw a real fight between the owner of a dog and a woman passing by, saying “Oh my, your dog is in the mud, poor thing!
Among the stations on the Oimachi Line, the shopping area in front of the station is rather prosperous.
The western edge of the Jiyugaoka area. Jiyugaoka is a desirable place to live, but rent is expensive, so there are many single sweet girls who live one station away. The station platform is short, so you can see the famous door cut where a five-car train overhangs the platform and blocks the railroad crossing. Kuhonbutsu Josinji Temple, from which the station takes its name.
The southern outskirts of the Jiyugaoka area. There are almost only residential areas.
Things to do in Setagaya City Ward
Kinuta Park 都立砧公園
Kinuta Park was used as an air defense space during the war and as a metropolitan golf course after the war. With the concept of a park that can be enjoyed by the whole family, the park has a family park, a baseball field, a soccer field, and other sports-related facilities. The park also has a store and the Setagaya Art Museum. Seasonal flowers can be seen every season, and Tanabata Festival and bird-watching events are also held.
Futako Tamagawa Rise Shopping Center 二子玉川ライズ･ショッピングセンター
Futakotamagawa Rise is directly connected to Futakotamagawa Station on the Tokyu Denentoshi Line and Oimachi Line. It is a major leisure facility that combines commercial facilities with many hot spots, popular restaurants, a cinema complex, a fitness club, a hotel, and even a park.
The project was completed in 2015 as one of the largest private redevelopment projects in Tokyo. The townscape leading to Futakotamagawa Park is well landscaped and is a popular spot for many people to visit on weekends, with a full lineup of limited-time events and other activities.
Gotokuji Temple 豪徳寺
Gotokuji Temple is a Soto sect temple located in Gotokuji 2-chome, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. It was built in 1480 by Kira Masatada, lord of Setagaya Castle. The temple is also said to be the birthplace of beckoning cats, as there is an anecdote that Ii Naotaka, the second lord of the Hikone Domain, who later took Setagaya as his domain, escaped a thunderstorm by being beckoned into the temple by a cat. Many tourists visit the temple for the sight of the countless beckoning cats dedicated to the temple.
Setagaya Park 世田谷区立世田谷公園
Setagaya Park is an urban park located in Ikejiri, Setagaya Ward, and has sports facilities, a fountain plaza, a play park, and other amenities. On Saturdays and Sundays, a mini SL “Chibikuro-go” runs through the park, which is popular among families and people of all ages. An outdoor swimming pool can be enjoyed during the summer.
Setagaya Museum 世田谷美術館
The museum is located in Kinuta Park in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, and the building, which is integrated with the lush green landscape, was designed by architect Shozo Uchii. The museum’s collection consists of approximately 16,000 items, including Henri Rousseau’s “Portrait of Frumance Biche,” Kitaoji Rosanjin’s “The Year of the Fish,” and works by artists associated with Setagaya Ward.
In addition to collection exhibitions that display the collection according to themes, the museum also holds special exhibitions in cooperation with museums in Japan and abroad. The French restaurant overlooking Kinuta Park is also popular.
Honda Theatre 本多劇場
Located in Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, this theatre was opened in 1982. It is the largest of the Honda Theatre Group’s small theatres scattered around the area, with 386 seats and full stage facilities. It has been a driving force in the small theatre culture of Shimokitazawa as well as Tokyo and is often used for performances by famous theatre companies. It is about a 2-minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station.
Futakotamagawa Park 世田谷区立二子玉川公園
About a 2-minute walk from the Tamagawa High School bus stop, or about an 8-minute walk from Uenoge Station. The park is located along Tamatsutsumidori Street and has a good view of the city. There are a great many things to see and do, from the entrance plaza, playground equipment, and other facilities ideal for children, to the former Shimizu Residence Shoin, which is designated as a tangible cultural property of Setagaya Ward, and Kishinen, a circular Japanese garden.
The park itself is open all year round, but please note that some facilities are closed on certain days of the week. Many events for children are also held.
The Gotoh Museum 五島美術館
The Goto Art Museum was established in 1960 as a private art museum (foundation). It is composed of antiques collected by Keita Goto, former chairman of Tokyu Corporation, from the prewar to postwar periods before the Meiji Era. The museum’s collection consists of approximately 5,000 items, including five national treasures and 50 important cultural properties, such as “The Tale of Genji Picture Scroll” and “Murasaki Shikibu Diary Picture Scroll.
The museum also has a special collection of about 25,000 volumes, including three national treasures and 33 important cultural properties, making it one of the most widely used museums in Japan and abroad for various types of research in various fields.
Hanegi Park 世田谷区立羽根木公園
Hanegi Park is about a 5-minute walk from Umegaoka Station and about a 7-minute walk from Higashimatsubara Station. The park is characterised by its ume (plum) grove, which was originally planted in 1967.
Commemorative tree plantings have been held many times, and today there are 650 ume trees of about 60 varieties. From early February to early March, when the ume trees are in full bloom, the park is crowded with tourists from all over Japan. There are also a variety of facilities such as stores, tennis courts, a baseball field, and a children’s playground.
Todoroki Ravine Park 等々力渓谷公園
Todoroki Ravine Park is the only ravine in the 23 wards of Tokyo. It is an urban oasis conveniently located about a 5-minute walk from Todoroki Station on the Tokyu Oimachi Line and about 20 minutes from Shibuya.
From the signboard at the entrance of the ravine at the foot of the golf bridge, visitors can descend a flight of stairs to find a natural setting that makes it hard to believe that they are in the city and can see a variety of seasonal colours: plum blossoms in February, cherry blossoms in April, fresh greenery in May, and yellow maple trees in autumn.
In addition to the natural beauty of the valley, there are also famous landmarks such as an ancient burial mound, a Japanese garden and the Fudo Falls, which attract many visitors regardless of the season.
Setagaya Hachimangu Shrine 世田谷八幡宮
Located in Miyasaka 1-chome, Setagaya-ku, this shrine was built in 1091 by Minamoto no Yoshiie, who stayed in the area on his way back from the “Later Three Years’ War,” and asked for the spirits of Usa Hachiman Shrine in Buzen (present-day Oita Prefecture). The shrine enshrines Emperor Eishin, Emperor Nakai, and Empress Jingu as its deities. The shrine also has a history of dedication sumo tournaments during the Edo period (1603-1867) and is known as the shrine of the “Three Great Sumo Tournaments in the Suburbs of Edo”.
Jōshinji Temple 九品山 唯在念佛院 淨眞寺 (浄真寺)
Located in the heart of the city, Jōshinji Temple is a 5-minute walk from Kuhonbutsu Station and a 10-minute walk from Jiyugaoka Station. This temple of the Jodo sect features an authentic karesansui (dry landscape garden) that makes you feel as if you are in Kyoto.
The “Kuhonbutsu” refers to the nine Amida Nyorai statues enshrined in the temple, but it is also the temple’s common name. The temple was founded in 1678 and preserves tangible cultural assets such as a wooden seated statue of the Amida Nyorai, a statue of the priest Kaishaku Shonin in colour on silk, and a temple bell.
The grounds of the temple, with its pond garden as opposed to a karesansui, is famous for its autumn foliage, which attracts many tourists every year during the season.
Snow Dome Museum
Snow Dome Museum specialises in snow domes. The history of snow domes in the world dates back to 1889 when they were popular at the Paris Exposition. The museum exhibits snow domes from antique to the latest, from the past to the present.
The museum store sells snow globes. Various projects are held on a regular basis, including on-site workshops. Visitors can also ask the museum to make original snow globes for weddings and other occasions.
Events in Setagaya City Ward
- Hikawa Shrine Setsubun Festival 氷川神社節分祭
Accomdation in Setagaya Ward
Mustard Hotel Shimokitazawa (3*)
Ideally located in the Setagaya district of Tokyo, MUSTARD HOTEL SHIMOKITAZAWA is 700 m from Tokyo Camii & Turkish Culture Centre, less than 1 km from Japan Folk Crafts Museum and an 11-minute walk from Shinganji Temple. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine, Koga Masao Museum of Music and Museum of Modern Japanese Literature.
the b sangenjaya (3*)
Located near the central Shibuya area, the b sangenjaya is a 2-minute walk from Sangenjaya Station, just 2 stops from Shibuya Station on the Tokyu Den-en-Toshi Line. The b sangenjaya is a 10-minute train ride from Meiji-Jingu Shrine and the Omotesando Hills shopping centre. It is 4 km from Harajuku Train Station and 15 km from Haneda Airport. Tokyo Skytree is a 30-minute train ride away.
Tokyu Stay Yoga (3*)
Right across from Yoga Station on the Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line, Tokyu Stay Yoga is a 12-minute train ride from Shibuya. Yoga Tokyu Stay is a 20-minute walk from Kinuta Park and Setagaya Museum. From Yoga Station it is a 15-minute train ride from Shibuya and about a 1-hour direct train ride to Yokohama and about a 30-minute train ride from Shinjuku area.
Onsen Ryokan Yuen Bettei Tokyo Daita (4*)
Well set in the Setagaya district of Tokyo, Onsen Ryokan Yuen Bettei Tokyo Daita is located less than 1 km from Shinganji Temple, a 12-minute walk from Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine and 1.4 km from Hanegi Park. Tokyo Holy Cross Church is 1.8 km from the ryokan, while Komabano Park is 2 km away. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 28 km from Onsen Ryokan Yuen Bettei Tokyo.
THE WARDROBE Hotel 下北沢 (2*)
Well located in the Setagaya district of Tokyo, THE WARDROBE Hotel 下北沢 is located 700 m from Shinganji Temple, 700 m from Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine and 1.6 km from Komabano Park. Attractions in the area include Museum of Modern Japanese Literature, 2 km away, or Komaba Museum, set 2.1 km from the property. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Hanegi Park, Koga Masao Museum of Music and Japan Folk Crafts Museum.
Kitazawa Cosy House
Attractively set in the Setagaya district of Tokyo, Kitazawa Cosy House is situated 600 m from Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine, 600 m from Shinganji Temple and 700 m from Japan Folk Crafts Museum. This property is set a short distance from attractions such as Koga Masao Museum of Music, Komaba Museum, and Hanegi Park. Popular points of interest near Kitazawa Cozy House include Tokyo Camii & Turkish Culture Center, Museum of Modern Japanese Literature and Komabano Park.
Real Life Meguro River
Conveniently set in the Setagaya district of Tokyo, Real Life Meguro River is located less than 1 km from Ikejiri Inari Shrine, a 13-minute walk from Higashiyama Kaizuka Park and 1.1 km from Kamimeguro Hikawa Shrine. The property is close to several well-known attractions, 1.4 km from Setagaya Peace Museum, 1.4 km from Showa Women’s University Hitomi Memorial Hall and 1.5 km from Showa Women’s University Koyo Museum. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Snowdome Museum, Sugekari Park and Setagaya Park.
What do you think about Setagaya Ward in Tokyo? Do you like finding out about the history and culture of this interesting area of Tokyo? There is so much history and unique things to do in this local neighbourhood of Tokyo, if you’re interested in coming for yourself, make sure to refer back to this blog.