The Japanese megalopolis is commonly considered as one of the world’s capitals of fashion, and rightly so. In that department, there is no denying the leading influence of western Tokyo’s fashion shops. Take the shop-covered hills of Shibuya, or Takeshita-dori in Harajuku, which provide an introduction to Tokyo’s fashion world, even though very much tourist-oriented.
For those looking to fill their eyes with beautiful cityscape, such places should not overshadow the sublime architecture of Daikan-yama or the delightfully affluent boho atmosphere of Cat Street.
In this spirit, it seems only natural to continue on to Shimokitazawa which is wrought with the same creative spirit that shapes its unique identity. In the pretty pedestrian side streets that wind through pleasant hills, you will find a galore of non-franchised (at long last!) fashion boutiques surrounded by small bars offering a profusion of delicacies. An untypical feature is that you will find ladies’ as well as men’s and not just teenagers’ wear there.
If you are a follower of fashion and have a relish for unusual looks, you should not miss the maze of shops around the station with its convivial atmosphere created by travelling street musicians, local performing arts venues or movie theaters.
There is also something cutely shitamachi, except for the sleekness, about Shimokitazawa, which makes for its unique character; from the roof tops, the likeness is so strong that one cannot help recall the stunning Tekkonkinkreet anime movie. In the background, Shinjuku skyscrapers make a statement of sound character, underlining the exquisite ambivalence of Tokyo.
How to get to Shimokitazawa
From Shibuya -- Keio Inokashira line train, Shimo-kitazawa station, ¥130 / ~US$ 1.20 (4 minutes by Express, 8 minutes by Local)
From Shinjuku -- Odakyu Odawara line train, Shimo-kitazawa station, ¥160 / ~US$ 1.40 (7 minutes by Express, 11 minutes by Local)
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
How long / when to visit
About an hour + shopping!
Ideal on weekends when the area becomes even more alive