An enclave of culture indulgences, boasting a medley of art, music, food and beverage, and a youthful sensibility to boot. A quiet stroll down its narrow streets provoke a sense of tranquility and charm, providing a respite from the rigors of Tokyo’s busy metropolis. A day in Shimokitazawa is chock full of bohemian curiosities that will have you ducking into one of many boutique shops, nourishing oneself with satiable provisions, and indulging in a first-to-know scene of artists and musicians.
Lace up your walking shoes and take a day to wander through Shimokitazawa.
Sip a cup of coffee at Yanaka Coffee, where hobnobbing with fellow neighbors is encouraged by the very design of its loyalty program. After filling a stamp card to its brim, you’re required to pass a complimentary cup to another customer, whether that be a friend, a stranger, or your kin. Coffee is, after all, a boost of adrenaline by nature and community, and at Yanaka both are ever-present.
With a vast hybrid of globally-inspired eateries, local izakaya, cafes and patisseries, Shimokitazawa is a culinary haven. If a quick nibble suits your needs, pop into Nomin Café, where a veggie-forward menu is offered. Its pantry is comprised of everything-from-scratch ingredients and a variety of dishes to please any dietary restriction and mindful eats. Or savor a stretched-out meal at Saba where you choose from a selection cozy soup curries–with either chicken or fish as your protein–ladled with a heap of vegetables, which provide the good fuel.
A lively heartbeat of artistic sights and sounds give Shimokitazawa its pulse. During the day, stop inside Honda Gekijo Theater where productions hail from established and successful writer-directors; or stumble into Tollywood Short Film Theater, to view short films by young Japanese and international animation directors. Cap the night with a cocktail at Shelter, a former bomb shelter turned live house, to see up-and-coming local rock bands performing from its checkerboard stage.
Shimokitazawa is lined with boutique shops with everything from globally-sourced vintage attire, records stores, toys, and other market goods that weigh your “wants” rather than your needs (treat yourself, ok!). Give yourself the flexibility and endurance to pop in and out at your leisure, and make sure you’re ready to strut through the day with bags filled with precious finds.
Just a quick jaunt away from the hustle and bustle of the center of Tokyo, head to Shimokitazawa to absorb a quieter treat of culture.