Okachimachi is one of the most prosperous areas of Shitamachi, a traditional shopping, entertainment and residential district of Tokyo. On visiting, you will see everyday Japanese lives, full of thrift shops, wholesale stores, and discount shops. So, if you are now interested in peeking into this real and active commercial center of Tokyo, including a former black market, Okachimachi Station is the place to stop on the way to Asakusa or Ueno.
Okachimachi Station is a generic name for 4 different stations – Okachimachi Station (JR: Keihin Tohoku Line and Yamanote Line), Ueno-Okachimachi Station (Toei subway: Ōedo Line), Ueno-Hirokoji Station (Tokyo Metro: Ginza Line), and Naka-Okachimachi Station (Tokyo Metro: Hibiya Line). People treat them as one big station, because they are all connected by passages outside of the ticket gates. I would like to introduce you to Naka-Okachimachi Station in this article, which is the station in between Akihabara and Ueno stations on the Hibiya Line.
Although it does not have an outstanding exterior, Naka-Okachimachi Station is part of an enormous underground complex. As I mentioned above, the depot is connected with 3 other similarly named stations; but in addition, they also made a massive passageway in 2009 that connects this station with Keisei-Ueno Station and Ueno Station, making transportation on days of severe weather much easier.
I know that the station structure seems very complicated, but there are many informative display boards along the walls. There are maps of the station and the surrounding area, boards giving names of the major places you would want to visit and the most suitable corresponding exits, and clear signs telling you how to reach the other attached stations. Of course, all of these have English translations.
There are many sights that I highly recommend visiting around Naka-Okachimachi Station, and it would be a nice and interesting thirty-minute walk if you were thinking of choosing the scenic way to Asakusa from the Okachimachi area. It is an extremely convenient station to transfer to other rail lines as well, so when you are on the Hibiya Line, don’t just pass by Naka-Okachimachi Station to go to Akihabara or Ueno, but spare your time for a merry walk around and you may have some unexpected, wonderful encounters with warm-hearted people and lucky finds in the rattling area of Shitamachi.