Better Know a Neighborhood: Daikanyama (Tokyo)

Want to visit a neighborhood in Tokyo that will make you completely forget that you are in Tokyo? Then head for Daikanyama, one of Tokyo’s trendiest areas, tucked in between the party powerhouses of Ebisu and Shibuya.

Daikanyama is one of those areas that you go to for the “feeling”, not for the sights. The narrow streets here host a warren of boutiques, ranging from upscale clothing to “lifestyle shops” to bags and baby gear. You’ll be walking the streets with mothers and models, and there are dozens of excellent cafes in which to grab a leisurely lunch.

True, Daikanyama is devoid of any real tourist sites (except perhaps the Kyu Asakura House mentioned below). But if sightseeing is stressing you out or you simply want a place to spend an afternoon shopping or sipping coffee, this is the place to be.

If you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss the following:

The Kyu Asakura House – Even most Tokyoites don’t know about this gem of a traditional home, tucked away just across the street from one of Daikanyama’s main intersections. The house itself dates from 1919, and somehow managed to survive the Great Kanto Earthquake, the firebombings of World War II and the rush of modernization. In the front of the house, a beautiful stroll garden sprawls over the hillside. I am eager to see it in autumn, when the many maple trees will be in full color.

Overlooking the garden at the Kyu Asakura House
Overlooking the garden at the Kyu Asakura House

T-Site – How does one take a bookstore and make it a destination? Combine cutting edge architecture, an excellent selection of bilingual books and magazines, a sprawling terrace and TWO in-house coffee shops and you have a recipe for relaxation. It’s easy to spend several hours here, but should you feel a bit peckish, pop right next door to the breezy terrace of Ivy Place for a bite to eat.

The intriguing architecture of T-Site
The intriguing architecture of T-Site

Log Road Complex – If Ivy Place is booked up, a ten-minute stroll brings you to the brand-new Log Road Complex. Housed along an old section of railroad tracks, the complex comprises a cafe and bakery, a delectable donut shop imported from Portland, Oregon and a craft brewery from beer conglomerate Kirin.

Log Road
Log Road

Daikanyama has its own train station but it also only a short walk from either Shibuya or Ebisu stations.

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