Quirky Corners of Shimokita

Shimokitazawa, or Shimokita for short, is Tokyo’s current “it” place. It’s laid back and unpretentious with a completely different vibe to the hectic streets of Shibuya just a few stops away.

This neighbourhood has an arty, alternative feel to it and is full of second-hand stores, cafés, bars and live houses. During the week, the streets are pretty quiet, but come Friday night, it is inundated with hip 20-somethings most likely from the nearby Tokyo Uni and Meiji Uni campuses. Throughout the weekend, it’s a great place to hang out for young and old!

The streets and laneways in Shimokita twist and turn in all directions, making it so easy to get lost here. But that’s all part of the adventure. Taking a wrong turn could lead you to discover something you would otherwise have never come across. Like a hole-in-the-wall bookstore, or a small temple housing a giant ‘tengu’ mask.

In particular, Shimokita is home to some of the most unique cafés and bars I’ve ever come across.

Up first is Tolo Coffee and Bakery. In one word, I would describe this place as ‘cosy’. Tucked away in the residential part of town, this café is just like a tree house. A giant Japanese cedar tree stands at the entrance and from the second floor of the building, it feels like you’re in amongst its branches! The interior of the café features a lot of natural wood and there’s even a fireplace upstairs. On the ground floor is a bakery called Shirohige’s Cream Puff Shop that makes delicious Totoro-shaped cream puffs. It’s all just super adorable.

In one word, I’d describe this next location as ‘colourful’. Flower Bar Gardena is a store that you’d probably not think twice about when walking past. But unexpectedly, this florist also doubles as a bar! It’s only when you look closely through the window that you realise there’s a shelf of bottles behind the counter. Flowers and alcohol is definitely a unique mix; it seems like such a simple idea, but I’ve never seen anything like it before.

In this next store, I was transported into the ‘wild’. As I sipped on my cup of tea, I could feel the eyes of something burning into the back of my head. The Darwin Room is home to toucans, a zebra, warthog, otter, penguins and a bunch of other stuffed animals. And yes, there were all alive at one point in time. With Charles Darwin as the inspiration, this store is like a fascinating natural history museum where everything is for sale.

Lastly, we are going ‘underground’. Mother’s Ruin is often likened to Indiana Jones or Middle Earth or somewhere medieval. Only distinguishable at street level by a small sign, this secret bar is in the basement of a building. Grabbing onto the dragon-like door knob, it’s hard to know what to expect on the other side. In the dungeon that awaits, the tables and chairs have all been carved beautifully from wood and the walls are covered in old, rugged bricks. But the star attraction: a giant lizard snaking it’s way over the ceiling. It has to be seen to be believed.

Although I’ve visited Shimokitazawa bunch of times, I still discover something new every time. It’s ever evolving and always so much fun!





14 thoughts on “Quirky Corners of Shimokita

  1.  喫茶店(きっさてん)というのは 憩いの場(いこいのば)であり、
    交際の場(こうさいのば)でも あります。そして 外国のコーヒーや
    紅茶を飲むのは 「ハイカラ」という 観念(かんねん)が あります。
    すてきな喫茶店では、貴族的(きぞくてき)な ハイティーの雰囲気も
     北下沢のおもしろいカフェーは バラエティに 富(と)んでいますね。
    自然科学や動物学に興味がある人には ダーウィンの展示物(てんじぶつ)が 
    とても たのしいでしょう。わたしは トトロのいる森の中のような 
    喫茶店が 一番好きです。セリアさんは ダーウィンの動物、トトロの森、
    フラワーガーデン、洞窟(どうくつ)の生き物の うち、

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 私はヨーロッパのカフェ文化が好きですので、テラスのある場所をいつも探しています。この四つのカフェのうち、私もトトロのが一番好きですね。本当に可愛かったです!(^o^)


  2. Just came across your lovely blog. One of my best friends has just spent three weeks in Japan and said it’s now her favourite country. How I wish I’d known about your posts beforehand, she would have loved exploring the places you describe here – and they make me want to visit too!


    1. Thanks for checking out my blog! Japan is an amazing country and so many visitors leave saying they can’t wait to come back. I hope you get the chance to come over sometime too! Cheers :)


Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.