To-do-list in Nakameguro

Is Nakameguro a residential area? Especially in weekends and in March and April, you probably think Nakameguro is part of Tokyo’s center. But! Nakameguro is officially a residential district. It is noticeable when you arrive at the main road next to Nakameguro station, there are all apartments along this road. Despite being a place to live peacefully, there are many unique shops, restaurants, art galleries, green strolling areas and other facilities.

Not far from Nakameguro, there are some iconic spots for visitors, like Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Meguro Sky garden (a roof top park), Tokyo Metropolitan Teien art Museum, Hotel Gajoen and it is extremely close by Shibuya, Ebisu and Sangenjaya! It is a great place to visit several spots in 1 day. Going from one spot to another, the famous river is a good place to walk along. When all the cherry blossoms are blooming, it is the best moment to stroll along Meguro River, since this place is one of the most famous cherry blossom spot in Tokyo. Beautiful during daytime and nighttime. Although, during the blooming season, don’t expect a smooth stroll. It can be so crowded, that there are moments that you are trying to dive in a bath of people and pink flowers.

Nakameguro to do lmap

Nakameguro station is in 12 minutes reachable from Ebisu station on foot and 25 minutes reachable from Shibuya on foot. The trains and undergrounds which are coming to Nakameguro station:

  • Hibiya line
  • Toyoko line

 

Some historical facts about Nakameguro:

  • The name Nakameguro seems to come from an important guard of Edo period. “Naka” means “Inside”, “Me” means “Eye” and “Guro” came from “Kuro”, which means “Black”. Meguro, so Black eyes can from the guard statue with black eyes. That statue is to protect at the Edo borders.
  • Not so far from Nakameguro, closer to Meguro station, there is a temple called Meguro Fudoson temple. Around that temple there are at least 2 main points known of that area, the iconic Meguro-ame, in English Meguro candy. And the second iconic food was the bamboo shoot rice.
  • Apparently around Meguro there was a lot of bamboos. Nowadays the bamboo farmers have been disappearing.

 

Interesting points about Nakameguro:

  • Nakameguro is still changing, and more interesting shops, restaurants and galleries are coming. Especially Nakame Gallery Street under the railways, is becoming more elegant hipster style.
  • Interior Design of different cafes and shops are also interesting to check!
  • The cherry blossoms are a must-see

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Nakameguro restaurants

Nakameguro Temple and BookstoreNakameguro Coffee + Hawaii + Notebook store

Nakameguro Hotel Chocolat

Nakame gallery street

Nakameguro Aesop + Sri Lanka restaurant

Nakameguro others

Life Facility Map Nakameguro

Special thanks to Elena Calderon Alaez to guide us in Nakameguro.

This is about Nakameguro in Setagaya-ku, but in walking distance, you can easily walk to Yutenji. To know more about Yutenji, see our guide map:
To-do-list in Yutenji

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To-do-list in Yutenji

Tuuu-tuu-tuuu, for train geeks, Yutenji is probably an interesting area. A train geek opened a train curry restaurant and actually bought an original wheel of the last locomotive C57117. The original wheel is seen in public, not far from Yutenji station. The train restaurant has moved to the north part of Yutenji, but it basically has the same train theme as before.
Funny thing is, you will get your curry meal by a train toy, which goes through the restaurant.

Yutenji is a bit similar as Mishuku and Ikejiri area, since they are all three quiet residential areas, conveniently close to main areas, like Shibuya, Sangenjaya and Nakemeguro. Yutenji is just one train stop further from Nakameguro and is not far from Sangenjaya. So basically these main areas are in walking distance from Yutenji.

To do map Yutenji

Train to Yutenji

Yutenji station is in 2 minutes reachable from Nakanmeguro station by train and 14 minutes on foot, and 18 minutes reachable from Sangenjaya station by bus or 28 minutes on foot. The train which is coming to Yutenji station:

  • Toyoko line

Some historical facts about Yutenji:

  • The name Yutenji is derived from the famous temple, Yutenji temple. In 1723 a Buddhist monk opened this temple dedicated to his master Buddhist monk Yuten.
  • The kept wheel of the locomotive C57117 is made by Mitsubishi in 1939. In 1973 the locomotive went through Japan.

Interesting points about Yutenji

  • There are small good shops spread all over the place. A popular lunch café Torse, is in the middle of a residential area close to Yutenji station, but there is always a line of people waiting before it opens.
  • Yutenji was not a place of trains or locomotives, just the owner of the train curry restaurant is am extreme train fan and made Yutenji a locomotive area.
  • In the end of April, there is the ceremony for firemen at the Yutenji temple, Edo Firemen’s Annual Memorial. This event is a memorial ceremony for fire fighters who sacrificed their life.
  • In mid-July there is the summer children Obon dori festival. Normally people with their Japanese yukata wear, will come and join the obon dance.

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Train curry restaurant and Art galleryJam pack Sawing store

Coffee and Cookies

Mexican restaurant

Sweets and spicy curry

Others

Life Facility Map Yutenji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is about Yutenji in Setagaya-ku, but in walking distance, you can easily continue to Mishuku and Ikejiri. To know more about Mishuku, see our guide map:
To-do-list in Mishuku & Ikejiri

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To-do-list in Kagurazaka

Kagurazaka West side has small shops, cafes and art galleries. It is less crowded than the east side of Kagurazaka, although it doesn’t mean it has less interesting stuff. The famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and his architectural family members built some architecture pieces which make Kagurazaka West side more interesting.

Kengo Kuma renovated the old warehouse La Kagu to a Life style store with a bunch of wooden steps, Akagi Shrine and its surroundings. His wife  Satoko Shirohara (Spatial Design Studio) designed the tall sharehouse SHERE close to the warehouse La Kagu. And his son Taichi Kuma got an opportunity to design a small temporary foodtruck Trailer at Kuma’s property in Kagurazaka.

Kagurazaka to do list map

The stations and metros in Kagurazaka are

  • Tozai line (Kagurazaka station)
  • Yurakucho line (Edogawabashi station)
  • Oedo line (Ushigome-Kagurazaka station)

Some historical facts about Kagurazaka

  • Kagurazaka dori connected to the Edo castle (the current Imperial palace) started to develop in the 17th century with a lot of shops and houses of the Samurai warriors.
  • More in the 18th century it became more an entertainment area, since there was a red-light district developed with various theaters, the Zenkokuji temple and its festival.
  • Akagi shrine was built in 1300, but the latest version was opened in 2010.

Interesting points about Kagurazaka:

  • The character of France continues from Iidabashi to the west side of Kagurazaka by having several French patisserie stores and French international restaurants.
  • There is a lot of art or design touch in cafes and stores. With 2 small art galleries around, there is a café called Syrup which is also an exhibition space. It is the same for Hasabon. Also Weekender is interesting, it has art books to buy.

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

The old area of Kagurazaka

Akagi shrine & Donutsu

Aux Merveilleux de Fred and coffee

Akomeya La kagu

Kameido bakery and Italian restaurant

E-to, Cat post office

others in Kagurazaka

Life Facility Map

This is more about the west side of Kagurazaka, but in walking distance, you can easily continue in Kagurazaka dori until Iidabashi station. To know more about Iidabashi, see our Iidabashi guide map:
To-do-list of Iidabashi

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To-do-list in Roppongi

Roppongi is well known of endless entertainment night life with an international vibe.

If you look back, how Roppongi developed, it is not a surprise it has turned to this international night life hub. Roppongi was an American military base, shortly after the world wars and the Americans created their entertainment facilities to enjoy during their free time. The bars and clubs were introduced too. Ever since, more and more international bars and restaurants have come.

But don’t forget, during day time Roppongi has many entertainment as well! Roppongi is an art hub, with 4 big museums (Roppongi Mori museum, National Art museum, Suntory museum and 2121 Design museum) and lots of galleries. They call it the Roppongi Art Triangle. Beside of the art facilities, Roppongi has a lot of shopping centers with great unique shops and restaurants. No any plans in daytime, no worries there are many things to watch in Roppongi.

Roppongi map

 

Roppongi station is in the center of Tokyo, it is easy access almost anywhere in Tokyo. Shibuya is reachable in 10 min. Tokyo station in 15 min. and Shinagawa in 21 min. The trains which are coming to Roppongi station and Roppongi Itchome station.

  • Namboku line
  • Oedo line
  • Hibiya line

Some historical facts about Roppongi

  • Roppongi means 6 main trees. It is still a mystery how the name came from, but the rumors are, either the name came from the 6 large trees which were the landmarks of the area, or there were 6 lords staying in this area, who coincidentally have this kanji 木 (tree) in their names.
  • Can you imagine, Roppongi was just a piece of empty land, a bit outside of old Tokyo?
  • Roppongi started to develop when it started to be a base camp for Japanese soldiers in 1890. Later on after the Second World War the American Military base moved to Roppongi.

Interesting points about Roppongi

  • Roppongi is well known for bars and clubs, but there are also other kind of entertainment. There are theaters and dance shows. Burlesque shows and theater are here too. Also if you would like to do salsa, here is the place!
  • As an art lover, it is nice to be in a hub with more art related spots. Roppongi has started to be an art and culture hub, starting with the big museums around Roppongi station and now with small galleries around it.
  • Every year there is a huge art event in Roppongi, called Roppongi Art Night. A lot of performances and art pieces outside at night and museums and galleries are open too.

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Roppongi Hills

Piramide Roppongi

Mori tower Roppongi

Drinks > Juices & Alcohol

Art Galleries Hub

Mid Town facilities & Swedish Restaurant

Food > Restaurant & Snack bar

Mid town Museums

Others

Roppongi important facilities

To know more local places to visit in Roppongi, our reviews are interesting to read too. Alex from sharehouse Roppongi tells her story of the neighborhood:
Resident Interview Witt-Style Roppongi with Alex

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To-do-list in Kamikitazawa & Sakurajosui

When you walk around Kamikitazawa area and its neighbor Sakurajosui, there is one thing you will notice specifically. These areas have a lot of small green pockets, wonderful gardens and parks around. There is a long narrow Public garden between houses, it called Tamagawa Josui Second Park. It is a part of the 2000-meter waterway Tamagawa Josui, which was created in the Edo period to supply drink water to Edo town (Tokyo city). That canal had transformed to a park, which is lovely and beautiful, especially during spring time.

About 20 minutes on foot from Kamikitazawa station, there is a park called Roka Koshu-en Garden. This is a designated cultural heritage site, and the most unique part of this public garden is the original Japanese-style house from Tokutomi Roka (a Japanese famous author) and the high bamboos. Beside of these two parks, you have Shogun Pond Park and Koshinomiya park in walking distance. And there is a small temple (Mitsuzoin) which its architecture is interesting. You can tell this residential area is good for a walk or a run.

Guide
Map of Kamikitawa, in Tokyo

Kamikitazawa and Sakurajosui stations are in 13 minutes reachable from Shinjuku station by train and Fuji mountain and Yomiuri theme park are reachable too from these two stations. The train which is coming to Kamikitazawa station and Sakurajosui station.
– Keio line

Some historical facts about Kamikitazawa
– Kamikitazawa started to develop when the station Kamikitazawa opened, which happened in 1913. So it has been residential for a long time, but it is developing more and more, since more people prefer living outside of the city center.

Interesting points about Kamikitazawa
– A lot of green and low built houses. Nature-friendly and peaceful area
– Some owners of hybrid café & shop like Kepo Bagel, Okaz design and Megane Coffee, started with their unique business because of their passion. Passion for design, food and coffee.

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Guide

Guide
Map of the main facilities in Kamikitazawa and Sakurajosui in Tokyo

To know more personal opinion of Kamikitazawa our reviews are interesting to read too. Edith from sharehouse Kamikitazawa tells her story of the neighborhood:
Resident Interview Happy House Kamikitazawa with Edith

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To-do-list in Sugamo

Searching for traditional food stores and red underwears in Tokyo, Sugamo is a good place to check it out. Another name of Sugamo is Grandma’s Harajuku (Obaachan no Harajuku). You will notice a lot of Japanese traditional snacks, sweets, tea and food which seniors love because of their childhood memory with. In the recent years, some modern stores are squeezed in between the old ones. It is basically a cute shopping area for seniors, families and younger visitors.

Sugamo map
Sugamo map activities

Sugamo station is one of the JR Yamanote train stops, which makes it one of the convenient places to live. In 6 minutes you reach Ikebukuro station by train, With the Mita line, you have easy access to Tokyo station and Meguro station. The trains which are coming to Sugamo station
– JR Yamanote line
– Mita line

Some historical facts about Sugamo:
– Sugamo was a resting place for pelgrims. Beside of temples in this area, it needed stores for the travelers.
– The current Grandma’s Harajuku street was an important part of the road Nakansendo in the Edo period, which connects Nihonbashi, Tokyo until Kyoto

Interesting points about Sugamo:
– You will notice a lot of stores selling strong red items, especially red underwear. They restore health and the color symbolizes the seniors of 60 years old, becoming babies again. Babies called in Japanese “Aka chan”, which means little reds.
– It might started being a senior famous street, because of the famous temple of health and healing along this Grandma’s Takeshita Street in Sugamo.
– There is a semi-arcade street close to Sugamo station, which has been renovated with some sustainable technical equipment, like solar panels, led street lights and dry mist system during the hot summer.

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

visiting places in Sugamo

Life map
Sugamo Life map

 

To know more local places to visit in Sugamo, our reviews are interesting to read too. Thidaphat from sharehouse Sugamo tells her story of the neighborhood:
Resident Interview Apricot Terrace with Thidaphat

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May 5th, it is Children’s Day in Golden week

Have you seen some fish flags hanging outside these days?
It means, Children’s Day (or Boy’s Day) is coming soon.

Here are some iconic items for Children’ Day:
– Carper Fish flags: normally in the order from Black (father), Red (mother), Blue (first son), green (second son) etc.
– Newspaper/Paper Samurai Origami Helmets and swords
– Décor Helmet
– Kashiwa Mochi: rice cakes folded in oak leaves
– Iris Flowers

In Japan, this event is for children and parents, but for people who don’t have children, it could be interesting to explore Japanese culture. In some events in Japan, there are many Carper flags (Koinobori) in a row, which is impressive and very instagrammable. Worth it to visit.
– Tokyo Tower, Tokyo 333 floating fishes
– Tsuruudagawa River, Gunma 5200 floating fishes over the river
– Hakawa, Kochi Laying paper fishes in water
– Shimojo, Kumamoto 3500 floating fishes over the river

Children
Origami folding time

Samurai Helmet

Also, you can try to fold the typical Helmet origami and to make the Kashiwa mochi. This is more the safe way, since the third emergency declaration is announced on 2021 April 25th.

Carpers, Symbol of strong and healthy

Kashiwa Mochi recipe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCSOW6CHrzA

Kabuto Helmet origami manual:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9NHjkI0-84

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To-do-list in Mishuku & Ikejiri

Mishuku and Ikejiri are neighbors and these neighbors are not the famous spots to visit, but they are very convenient to live in. They are between Shibuya, Nakemeguro and Sangenjaya. The three powerful and popular places to hang out. To live in these three areas, it is a bit pricey, but living close to these three neighbors and living cheaper, Mishuku and Ikejiri are the places to stay. There are a few drops of identity of Nakameguro and Sangenjaya in Mishuku and Ikejiri. The most interesting part is IID, Ikejiri Institute of design. It is a design hub with art galleries, shops, craftsmanship workshops and work studios in a renovated elementary school.

Map of Mishuku

Ikejiri Ohashi station is in 3 minutes reachable from Shibuya station by train, on foot it takes about 20 minutes from Shibuya station. Nakameguro station is also reachable on foot in 30 minutes. The train which are coming to Ikejiri Ohashi station
– Den-en-toshi line
– Hanzomon line

Some historical facts about Ikejiri and Mishuku:
– Mishuku and Ikejiri don’t have a very interesting past, but the names tell a bit about their history. Apparently, Mishuku means ‘Three posttowns’, but Mishuku had a different meaning in the past. Mishuku had three important rivers, Kitazawa gawa, Karasuyama gawa and Meguro gawa. Mi came from Mizu (water). The old meaning of Mishuku was ‘Water is teeming’.
– Ikejiri was probably an old village Ikezawa or nearby Ikejiti. Ikejiri means ‘Mouth of a lake’.

Interesting points about Ikejiri and Mishuku:
– Ikejiri Institute of design, creative, young and different
– There are surprisingly a lot of dog trimming shops. Do Mishuku and ikejiri have a lot of dogs?

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Shrine Coffee Terrace

This is about Mishuku and Ikejiri in Setagaya-ku, but in walking distance, you can easily continue to Sangenjaya. To know more about Sangenjaya, see our guide map:
To-do-list in Sangenjaya

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Special Cherry blossoms: Omuro Zakura

Happy spring everyone!

Despite of the ongoing pandemic situation in Japan, the cherry blossoms in spring give us a sparkle of joy. The life style has changed a lot for months in 2020 and 2021, but the cherry blossoms come each year and they give a sign that some characteristics of the Japanese life style are remained.
This year, it is a good moment to visit Kyoto, since it is less crowded than the standard years. Of course, in Kyoto there are so many things to see, but this time it is Ninna-ji Temple and its sakura. What makes this cherry blossom so special compare to all the other ones?

There are unique private tours of about 1.5 hours in this temple. During the tour the Buddhist monk will explain you everything about the temple, the environment, the sakura trees and Buddhism.
It is April right now, so basically their cherry blossoms is a hot topic.
The story is Ninna-ji is the main temple of the Omuro Shingon Sect Buddhist School and it is founded in 888 A.D. This temple is strongly related with the Empiric family of Japan, therefore this temple has aristocratic visitors from the beginning. The landscape design of Ninna-ji temple with the cherry blossoms was been thought precisely, related to the aristocratic visitors. The idea of the landscape design is that the trees shouldn’t be tall to respect the aristocratic visitors. Those visitors should feel they are looked up by the environment. To create this design concept, certain clay was poured around the roots of the cherry blossoms, to stop growing that quickly. The cherry blossoms are exceptional small even though they are old. The taller ones are about two meters high, but mostly are shorter, almost like big shrubs. Since they look different and they bloom later than all the other regular cherry blossoms (early April ~ mid-April), they got their own name. These cherry blossoms called Omuro Zakura. The word Omuro came from this Omuro Buddhist school.

If you still want to enjoy seeing cherry blossoms in Honshu island, this is the place to visit. It is breath taking!

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To-do-list in Yoyogi

JR Yamanote line trains stop at Yoyogi. You would expect an active spot in the city center, but Yoyogi is actually a quiet spot, but super convenient since it is located between Shinjuku, Sendagaya (Olympic Games stadium) and Harajuku. These three spots are reachable on foot from Yoyogi. Unfortunately, Yoyogi lost two interesting and popular spots, Healing Café & Bar and Yoyogi Village in 2020. Probably because of Covid-19, but it has not been confirmed. Despite losing these two popular spots, there are still other facilities, which are worth a visit.

Especially the Norengai! A fusion between traditional and modern food restaurants and bars. It is an old block with traditional Japanese buildings just next to Yoyogi station from Showa era (1926 ~ 1989). They renovated the buildings with a unique concept and interior design. For example the Champagne bar which serves Moet champagnes.

Eventhough there is this izakaya neighborhood, Yoyogi is rather peaceful and nice to live. For morning joggings or afternoon walks, you have two beautiful parks to choose from: Yoyogi park (incl. Meiji Jingu garden) and Shinjuku Gyoen. It is a good spot between chaotic urban vibe and beautiful nature.

 

The trains which are coming at Yoyogi station

  • JR Yamanote line
  • Oedo line

 

Some historical facts about Yoyogi

  • The name Yoyogi came from the Edo period, when Yoyogi was a green area with one big Momi Tree. The person who wrote about this tree called this area Yoyogi, which means Three of Many Generations.

 

Interesting points about Yoyogi:

  • On the east side and north side of Yoyogi there are Office districts, so Yoyogi is a good spot for lunch breaks or nomikai (drinks after work). These restaurants and bars are mostly full during workdays.

 

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

In walking distance or better by bicycle, you can Aoyama and Omotesando areas, for more activities around that area, check our other blog:
Aoyama Girls’ night out

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