An afternoon at Setagaya

Getting to Setagaya is easy. For this trip, in particular, our main destination was Todoroki Valley. It takes about 40 minutes to travel from Central Tokyo via train, including a couple of stops and transfers.

Google Maps is very reliable to use in Japan. When checking train schedules in the evening, make sure to set the right time when picking the origin station, as the time schedule and train choices can be different. Otherwise, travel times can be longer and other modes of transportation could be suggested.

Tokyo weekends can be quite busy, even the trains, yet I was surprised by how much busier the trains were in Setagaya (the Oimachi Line). I also noticed, while riding the Oimachi Line, many students and a lot of school ads on posts and walls. I guess being a residential area, having a lot of schools is possible. Speaking of the residential area, I was impressed with the homes I saw. The area looks high-end, with modern-looking houses.

Fam Caffe Ristorante

Upon arriving at Todoroki, our first stop was to find a restaurant for lunch. We went to the first one we could find: Fam Caffe Ristorante.

The restaurant was just a couple of streets away from Todoroki Station. Initially, I thought it’s only a small restaurant, but it turned out to be spacious, even the restroom.

For my meal, I ordered chiriman-jako with mushrooms and vegetable oil pasta. It was delicious! The portion was enough to make me full without making me want to siesta after. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I also had salad on the side and finished off with a warm cup of coffee to supposedly keep me awake and alert for the walk at Todoroki Valley.

๐Ÿ“2 Chome-33-10 Todoroki, Setagaya City, Tokyo 158-0082, Japan

Todoroki Valley

It’s easy to get to Todoroki Valley upon transferring to Oimachi Line. The stop is Todoroki Station (easy to remember, right?). The ravine should be more or less a 15-minute walk from the station.

My mistake was not checking the official website for updates considering there weren’t new reviews on Google. We were only able to get a glimpse of the valley, which was at least something.

The area has been closed because a tree had fallen, so authorities had to inspect further. It has been closed since September 2023 (โ—) and may remain so until 2025.

The trail trek is 1 km long. There are shrines, a tea house, waterfalls, and a temple.

It’s a shame the trail is closed because it seemed like a good place to hang out in warm weather. Other people were also there (looked like locals) who seemed unaware of the closure, as well.

Directions to the Golf Bridge, marking the start of the Todoroki Valley trail.

๐Ÿ“1 Chome-22-26 Todoroki, Setagaya City, Tokyo 158-0082, Japan

Gลtokuji Temple

Fortunately, there is more to see in the city. I decided we see Gลtokuji Temple.

A million maneki-neko ๐Ÿ˜›

Gลtokuji, a Buddhist Temple, is quite popular for its numerous maneki-neko, or “beckoning cat” figurines. I’ve seen it featured on NHK, in travel magazines, and on travel websites. Getting there is an experience in itself since it requires a ride on the Setagaya Line–one of the two remaining tramways in Tokyo. The Setagaya Line also has the Kofuku-no-manekineko Densha. We weren’t able to ride it but happened to see it on our way back to Sangen-jaya.

Kofuku-no-manekineko Densha
Kofuku-no-manekineko Densha

The tram is too cute!

I’ve already decided to return to Setagaya on my next visit to Japan. If the tram is still running by then, I’ll be sure to ride it. ๐Ÿ˜

Anyway, back to the temple…

The temple is serene. I don’t know the history of the many beckoning cats, but it truly is one of the highlights when visiting the temple. The only thing that somewhat ruined the experience was the noisy visitors. I’m sure it goes without saying that visiting a temple requires one to be well-behaved.

More pictures of the temple are here. ๐Ÿ™‚

๐Ÿ“Gotokuji 2-24-7, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, 154-0021


Here’s a summary of our short trip in Setagaya City.

  • Half a day is not enough to see the city. I would suggest spending at least a couple of days’ stay or visit to fully explore or see the recommended sights.
  • Visiting Todoroki Valley won’t be possible soon. The 2025 target reopening year is still tentative, from what I read.
  • Fam Caffe Ristorante is a sure recommendation. Besides the good food, the lunch meals are reasonably priced, ranging from JPY1000 to 2000. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Gลtokuji Temple is open to everyone for free from 6 AM to 5 PM, and there is more to see at the temple than the maneki-neko (upon checking their website).

Thanks for taking the time to read this. It’s been a while since I’ve written a long blog post like this. If you’re planning to visit Setagaya and need some assistance, feel free to reach out to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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