Tokyo

Shimokitazawa Area Guide

Just one stop on the express train from Shibuya, Shimokitazawa is one of the most laid back areas in Tokyo. Its second-hand clothes shops, live music venues, boutiques, and cafés are the reasons it frequently ranks as one of the top places to live for young Japanese.

The south side has a little of the frenzy of Shibuya in its streets—crowded, chain restaurants, cheap clothes stores—while the north side is far more chilled out with a slightly hipster vibe. The north side is also one of the best places in Tokyo for buying second-hand clothes, and the self-labelled “vintage” shops would fool most into thinking that they are boutiques selling some obscure clothing labels. Shimokitazawa is also known for its alternative or indie music scene with regular live performances at its many venues and several well-known music bars and cafés.

You could easily walk the entire area in two hours if you weren’t taking much time to stop. But that would be missing the appeal of the town.