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Welcome to the bohemian ‘hood where Tokyo's cool kids gather.

With its bohemian vibe and laid-back atmosphere, Shimokitazawa smacks of urban modern cool, with numerous hipster coffee shops, laneways full of secondhand and vintage fashion, hole-in-the-wall eateries, recorded music outlets and live music venues. It has the verve like no other in Tokyo.

Photo by: Nano Betts

One of the greatest pleasures here is simply exploring the city on foot. It’s worth veering into some of the little laneways, as that is where you’ll find some of the coolest places and spaces. Just bare in mind, Shimokitazawa is a very casual and relaxed district and most cafes and shops don’t open until 11:00 a.m. or even later. You’ll also find that many places are closed on Tuesdays.

Photo by: Nano Betts

Upon arrival to the train station, head towards the south exit where you’ll find the Honda Gekijo Theater. Productions here come from established and successful writer-directors and tickets usually sell out like warm bread. From there, walk for about five minutes and you’ll find yourself at the Tollywood Short Film Theater, where you can see a number of short films by young Japanese and international animation directors.

Photo by: Nano Betts

Shimokitazawa is a real paradise for savvy shoppers. There is an abundance of thrift stores, as well as high-end vintage and zakka shops. Visit Haight & Ashbury and Flamingo, both offering a delicious selection of chic, yet affordable European and American vintage clothing. Those looking for a perfect retro outfit for their Victorian-era inspired Cosplay costumes should not miss Little Trip To Heaven. The shop is filled with beautiful clothes, shoes and accessories of the yesteryear. If you want to offload some of your unwanted clothing, head to New York Joe Exchange on the north side of the station.

Photo by: Nano Betts

Tiny Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory, located within a 10-minute walk from Shimokitazawa station, transports you into Studio Ghibli’s one of the sweetest imaginary worlds. The bakery offers enticing classics as well as seasonal flavors. Bear Pond Espresso is another cozy spot that serves phenomenal cup of third wave coffee. Another highlight, Frankie, sells Australian Melbourne-style coffee made from imported premium quality beans. One of their most popular items is the cappuccino, with the flat white being a runner up.

Photo by: Nano Betts

A complete hidden gem, Mois Cafe is nestled inside an old Showa era house just a stone’s throw away from the station’s south exit. They have an extensive list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and menu includes home-cooked items like Ratatouille burger, Mexican Jambalaya, Spicy Tomato Soup, Indian Chicken Curry and more – all very reasonably priced.

For more, check out the full story published in our sister publication, Savvy Tokyo. 

How To Get There


Japan, 〒155-0031 Tōkyō-to, Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa, 2 Chome−23−9, 京王線 下北沢駅

By train

Take the Keio Inokashira Line from Shibuya or the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku for two stops on the express train and get off at Shimokitazawa station.

Where To Stay

The B Sangenjaya
  • 2-17-9 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, 154-0004 Japan
  • ¥13,500 - ¥38,000
  • 3.97/5 (1,987 reviews)
  • 1.8 km
Hotel Suave Shibuya
  • 2-24-4 Ohashi, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-0044 Japan
  • ¥11,400 - ¥49,800
  • 3.5/5 (1,883 reviews)
  • 2.0 km
Wander Tokyo Shibuya
  • 2-22-7 Ohashi, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-0044 Japan
  • ¥14,700 - ¥66,150
  • 4.05/5 (300 reviews)
  • 2.0 km
Olympic Inn Shibuya
  • 2-22-6 Ohashi, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-0044 Japan
  • ¥7,900 - ¥26,800
  • 3.44/5 (102 reviews)
  • 2.0 km
Turn Table
  • 10-3 Shinsencho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0045 Japan
  • ¥7,920 - ¥44,550
  • 3.33/5 (55 reviews)
  • 2.4 km

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