When searching for apartments in Tokyo, one of the most important decisions you can make is which train line you’re on. The commute, rush hour, neighborhood restaurants, supermarkets and parks are all crucial factors when making a decision. This series gives a quick overview of the best train lives for living in Tokyo.
Let’s take a quick look at one of the south side’s most convenient lines: the Tokyu Oimachi line.
The Tokyu Oimachi line (東急大井町線) is a relatively small railway line compared to others operating in Tokyo. It runs from Tokyo’s Oimachi station to Mizonokuchi in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. Like the Tokyu Toyoko line, it’s owned by the Tokyu Corporation, proprietor of several Tokyo rail lines and the upscale Tokyu Department Store.
Although only serving 15 stations in total, it covers quite a bit of ground—12.4 kilometers to be exact. It is also a vital commuter line for people traveling to and from Kanagawa. The only big stations are Oimachi and Futako-Tamagawa. The others are in quiet residential neighborhoods with shopping streets, parks and schools.
The Oimachi line is most congested during the morning and evening rush hour.
However, many stations are transfer points to Tokyu’s other lines, such as the Tokyu Meguro and Den-en-toshi lines. Using Oimachi, you can access the Keihin-Tohoku line to popular spots such as Akihabara, Ueno, Kawasaki and Yokohama. Oimachi’s Rinkai line is also available to reach Odaiba via Tokyo Teleport or Maihama (home to Tokyo Disney) via a quick change to the Keio line at Shin-Kiba.
Basically, if you’re looking for a quiet spot in southern Tokyo with moderately quick access to more popular locations or business districts in Tokyo such as Shibuya and Shinagawa, you can’t go wrong making your home on the Oimachi line.
Although it’s a moderately small line, rush hour on the Oimachi can get tight and commuters can expect a peak congestion rate of 166 percent. The congestion rate is Japan’s way to estimate how comfortable passengers will be while riding the train.
It looks a bit like this:
- 150% Congestion Rate: Can open and read a newspaper
- 180% Congestion Rate: Can read a folded newspaper
- 200% Congestion Rate: Can barely read a magazine
- 250% Congestion Rate: Unable to raise hands or move your body
At 166 percent, you can comfortably read a book or check your phone, but you’re still going to be standing should-to-shoulder. It’s about on par with the neighboring Tokyu Toyoko line. Not too bad compared to other lines, such as the Denentoshi line, one of the most packed commuter train lines in the country.
The Oimachi line is most congested during the morning and evening rush hour from Mizonokuchi to Jiyugaoka, as commuters attempt to avoid the crowded Denentoshi line.
The good news is that most people get off at Jiyugaoka, and you might even be able to find a seat if you’re already on the train or at the front of the line.
Besides quiet neighborhoods, you’ll find plenty to do and see along the Tokyu Oimachi line.
The Oimachi line is home to one of Tokyo’s most secluded green spaces. Next to the quaint Todoroki station, Todoroki Valley is a path along the Yazawa River as it leads into the larger Tama River. A canopy of trees completely engulfs the short 30-minute course and there are attractions such as shrines, small waterfalls and signposts with history about the area.
Walking along Todoroki Valley, you’ll discover Setsugetsuka, a traditional tea house near the midway point, as well Todoroki Fudosan Temple—a popular cherry blossom viewing spot. There is even a beautiful bamboo grove and orange tree farm to explore.
The fashionable suburb Jiyugaoka has earned the nickname “Little Europe” for its upscale cafés, boutiques and cobblestone roads. In addition to great modern shops and restaurants, Jiyugaoka is also home to Kosoan, one of the city’s oldest traditional tea houses.
It’s not necessarily an expensive place to live if you’re not looking for anything fancy. You can expect to pay around ¥50,000 to ¥65,000 for a 1R apartment in Jiyugaoka and there are loads of affordable restaurants and outlet shops.
Plus, it’s home to one of Japan’s only Carl’s Jr. if you’re craving some American fast food.
Futako-Tamagawa is crazy popular. Near the station are hundreds of shops for fashion and home decor and tons of popular restaurants. It’s a bit like a condensed Shibuya. The weekends are the most crowded and there is almost always an event happening.
Nearby you can also visit the green spaces along the banks of the Tama River. It’s great for a stroll or a picnic but is most popular during October when the city puts on a massive fireworks show. The event attracts around 400,000 visitors.
If you’re considering living on the Tokyu Oimachi line, here are our picks for the best three stations.
While Jiyugaoka is nice, it can be too busy for some people. Just two stops over is the much quieter Ookayama station in Meguro-ku. The area is probably most famous for the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The institute’s museum and archives building somewhat resembles a robot and greets commuters as they leave the station.
There is great shopping and affordable restaurants found all around the station, including some budget-friendly grocery stores. A favorite of students in Japan, Saizeria, is also nearby. Of course, if you’re looking for something more lively, you can always hop on over to Shibuya, which is just a 17-min train ride away.
It’s also worth mentioning Ookayama is a connection to the Tokyu Meguro line.
Average apartment price
- 1K: ¥60,000–90,000
- Tokyo Tech Museum: a museum displaying the achievements of the nearby Tokyo Institute of Technology
- Senzokuike park: a serene park with a large pond, popular during the cherry blossom and autumn seasons
Nakanobu is a conveniently located station in Shinagawa-ku just a few stops from Oimachi. It also has a connection to the Toei Asakusa line via an underground station. This makes for a great hub for anyone working in one of the nearby business districts such as Shinagawa or Gotanda.
While there isn’t too much in terms of entertainment, there are plenty of restaurants, cafés and markets. The nearby Nakanobu Skip Road, in particular, is fantastic for shopping and eating. It’s also entirely covered and leads all the way to Ebara-Nakanobu station on the Tokyu Ikegami line—great for anyone working or living in Ota-ku. If you like the idea of a quiet neighborhood, another option on the local line is Midorigaoka.
Average apartment price
- 1K: ¥60,000–80,000
- 1DK: ¥110,000
- Nakanobu Skip Road: a lengthy market with plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars
Living close to Futako-Tamagawa may be expensive, but if you don’t mind living 15 or more minutes from the station or even closer to Yoga station, apartments start getting much more affordable. If you have a bicycle, the commute gets even easier.
Living near Futako-Tamagawa gives you convenient access to all stations and connections on the Oimachi and Den-en-toshi lines, especially if you can catch the express trains to spots like Shibuya, Mizonokuchi and Oimachi. However, you’ll need to get used to the crowds during rush hour.
The good news is you’ll have plenty of options for food, shopping and fun on your days off. Futako-Tamagawa is close enough to central Tokyo without feeling like the boonies while also being reasonably priced.
Average apartment price
- 1K: ¥55,000–90,000
- 1LDK: ¥150,000