Years ago I met up with one of my friends in Tokyo. We spent 7 days in Tokyo and explored different neighbourhoods. My favourite neighbourhood was artsy Shimokitazawa: the bohemian area of Tokyo. It’s filled with flower market stalls, vintage finds, laid back coffee places, vinyl stores, art galleries.
When I think of Tokyo I think of feeling lost in translation, of chaos and silence, ancient culture, orange temples, Manga, kindness, giant bamboo trees, big crowds, punctual, spirit, huge train stations, kimonos, bright lights and skyscrapers, pink blossom trees, Hachi, futuristic feels, electric, sushi, Harajuku fashion, mystery, politeness, electric toilets, hard-work, respectful, turquoise taxi’s, contradiction, organized, innovation, tea, delicate, technology, mountains.
Tokyo city travel tips: 5 artsy hotspots in Shimokitazawa
The name already sounds like an artist: Shimokitazawa. From cafes to used clothing, it’s a place to go treasure hunting and enjoy the laidback vibes. The streets are lined with thrift shops, curry shops, colourfully painted storefront shutters, vinyl stores, speciality coffee cafes without tables. If you are taking a Tokyo day tour, don’t skip Shimokitazawa: here it feels more ‘slow’ compared to the rest of ‘fast Tokyo’.
For the coffee lovers
If you need some energy, check out Bear Pond Espresso for local speciality coffee. Go slow, journal, no internet and no photos allowed. Hello, quality coffee time.
For the vintage lovers
Explore the back streets and pop in and out the small boutiques. At New York Joe Exchange you can trade your clothes or donate them. Why not make someone else happy with the stuff you don’t wear anymore? Bear in mind that fast fashion clothing brands can not be traded, only donated.
For all the art lovers
You can’t leave Shimokitazawa without checking some of the art galleries.
- Gallery Hana Shimokitazawa at 3-26-2 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku Tokyo
- Darwin Roomat 代沢5-31-8 (1F), Setagaya, Tōkyō
- Quiet noise arts and break at 45−45-2 サンプラティ, Setagaya Tokyo
- Shimokitazawa Tollywood for rare Japanese and international films
Getting to Shimokitazawa
If you come from Shinjuku, take an express train on the Odakyu line and get off at the second stop. From Shibuya, get on an express train on the Keio Inokashira Line and get off at the first stop. Exit at the North end of the station and start strolling.