Hello Kamikitazawa, introduce yourself

Kamikitazawa started to develop when the station Kamikitazawa opened, which happened in 1913. This area has been a residential area for years. It is peaceful and homey. If you like more a quiet place, outside of the city center, but still easy access to Shinjuku, this is the place. It takes 14 minutes to reach Shinjuku by Keio line. Kamikitazawa is located in the west side of Tokyo, therefore it is easier from this area to reach Fuji Mountain, Yomiuri Theme park and Sanrio Theme park. From Kamikitazawa station, these 2 theme parks are reachable in 45 minutes.

[Kamikitazawa in April]

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. Just 5-minute from our two sharehouses Okura House and Happy House Kamikitazawa, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Tamagawa Josui Second Park, credit]

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.

[Roka Koshu-en, credit]

We need food and drinks, so some food suggestions in Kamikitazawa and Sakurajosui would be good to know too!

We noticed one unique coffee shop, Megane Coffee (Glasses in Japanese). We tried a Coffee Latte and a toasted bread with butter and Red bean paste (Anko). The coffeemaker with glasses makes his coffees by an espresso machine Simonelle Appia II and apparently it is a good coffee shop. It is also published on the website Good Coffee (https://en.goodcoffee.me/coffeeshop/).

 

 

 

 

 

[Megane Coffee, credit]

If you walk closer to Kamikitazawa station, there is also a local Bagel store, owned by a woman called Kepo and she called her bagel store, Kepo Bagel. They sell their own local bagels which are chewy, original New York bagels and other extra breads.  For more information about Kepo Bagel (http://www.kepobagels.com/).

[Kepo Bagel, credit]

For the ramen lovers, there is a small must-try ramen restaurant in Kamikitazawa: Ramen Koike. This restaurant is even recommended in the Micheline guide! Their recommended signature ramens are Niboshi ramen and Noukou ramen. Noukou ramen is made of chicken broth-based and Niboshi ramen is made of dried fish broth-based. There is a long line, but worth it to wait and try. (https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1318/A131809/13172994/)

[Ramen Koike, credit]

Kamikitazawa is overall a peaceful residential area, not crowded and loud. There are useful facilities around Kamikitazawa and Sakura josui stations, like drugstores, supermarkets and convenient stores. Beside of the 3 recommended food & beverage places, there are other izakayas, ramen and the well-known chain restaurants and cafes, like Doutor, Tully, Sukiya etc. To live here, it is a promising convenient place. It would be nicer to have a bicycle, then you are able to go to some popular spots around Kamikitazawa station for bigger nature areas, shopping areas, famous temples, like Gotoku-ji and other local restaurants.
This is a nice guide of Setagaya-ku, you can visit each area, store, touristic spots and others by bicycle: https://mitte-x-img.istsw.jp/kanko-setagaya/file/pamphlet/Setagaya%20Guide%20Book.pdf

 

For more information about the spots we listed up here:

Ramen Koike

Address: 4-16-13 Kamikitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday  10:00 to 17:00.

Due to Pandamic situation, the opening hours might be different

Megane Coffee

Address: 3-3-3 Shimotakaido, Suginami City, Tokyo

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 to 17:00 and 18:00 to 21:30

Due to Pandamic situation, the opening hours might be different

 

Tamagawa Josui Second Park

Address: 1 Chome-1-33 Kugayama, Suginami City, Tokyo

Roka Koshu-en Garden

Address:  1 Chome-20-1 Kasuya, 世田谷区 Setagaya City, Tokyo

Opening hours: Every day, 9:00 to 16:30

Due to Pandamic situation, the opening hours might be different

Kapobagel

Address: 4-chome-19-18 Kamikitazawa Setagaya City Tokyo
Opening hours: Every day  10:00 to 14:30 and 18:00 to 21:00

Due to Pandamic situation, the opening hours might be different

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Sakura Season 2020

It is not the brightest and the most romantic moment right now in 2020, the corona virus is still spreading and it hasn’t been decreased. You might probably know a lot of entertainment facilities are closed and a lot of events are canceled. End of March is almost coming, which means the cherry blossoms will full bloom soon. The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike warns people, hanami (picnic under the cherry blossoms) is still a risky activity in this situation. She asks people to refrain doing picnic and having parties in parks. Although, she doesn’t want to stop people enjoying cherry blossoms, she said on March 12th: “We discussed what to do with hanami. It is open-air, therefore we still want people to admire flowers.”

[Post Credit]

Even though, hanami is very fun and it is a tradition in Japan, it is better to listen to the governor of Japan. But how and where can we enjoy sakura (cherry blossom) this year? It is better to go to small local parks in the residential areas instead of the popular big public parks, where a lot of people (locals and tourists) come. Before going to the list of suggestions. Here is the list of sakura festivals which are canceled:

Ueno Sakura festival 2020
Chiyoda Sakura festival 2020
Nakameguro Sakura festival 2020 (along the river)
Shibuya Sakuragaoka Sakura festival 2020
Bunkyo Sakura festival 2020
Jiyugaoka Sakura festival 2020
Sa*kaso Sakura festival 2020 in Asukayama park
Koganei Sakura festival 2020
Sumida Koen Sakura festival 2020

In other small places, there are no festivals hold, but they are still nice to walk around or sit there. According to the cherry blossom forecast, the blossoms have started blooming in Tokyo on March 14th. The best moment is around March 27th. Probably in the weekend of March 28th and 29th you can enjoy the beautiful scenario.

For Happy House Mint and Witt-Style Clover
Two big parks in Nerima ward with a lot of cherry blossoms. Hikarigaoka Park and Toshimaen Park in Nerima ward.

[Post Credit]

[Post Credit]

For Happy House Koenji and Happy House Kamikitazawa
A popular spot for locals and less for tourists, it is the Wadabori park in Suginami ward. Big cherry blossom trees along the Zenpukuji river.

[Post Credit]

For Happy House Orange, Vitamin Color and Asian
Nakano has a lot of Cherry Blossoms and not specifically in parks. Nakano dori is full of cherry blossoms.

[Post Credit]

For Witt-Style Nakameguro and Witt-Style Mishuku
One of the most popular spot to see sakura is in Nakameguro, along the Nakameguro river. It might be less busy compare to the previous years, but probably it is better to skip to go there for this year. In Setagaya ward, there is a park called Kinuta Park, which has about 930 cherry blossoms blooming.

[Post Credit]

For Happy House Kagurazaka & Chilli Pepper and Cream
PersonallyI went to Iidabashi area for hanami last year, it was not super crowded along the Kanda river, so probably there won’t be many people walking this year. It is beautiful though.


[Post Credit]

 

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Tulip Staff Introduction II

Hi, this is Yuka and I have worked at Tulip for more than half a year, but I hadn’t introduced myself yet. This blog is about me, my home country the Netherlands and my experience in Tokyo.

I was born and raised in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. My parents decided to live in the Netherlands a long time ago, because they really fell in love for this country when they were in their twenties. Even though they like to live there, I decided to move to Japan. In 2010 I had the opportunity to do an exchange program in Tokyo and since then I have liked Japan a lot. I haven’t always lived in the Netherlands since I had started my bachelor study, I was going somewhere else to get more experience in architecture. Because of my nomadic lifestyle, I have started to see how great the Netherlands is. I didn’t understand why people like to visit the Netherlands, but now I do understand!

Windmills and tulips in the country side of the Netherlands (Photo Credit)

The Netherlands is a very small country in Europe, close to Germany and Belgium. The size is about the size of the island Kyushu in Japan. Probably, people know this country as the country of tulips, and windmills. We indeed have windmills and tulips, but generally speaking you won’t see them in the main cities of the Netherlands. So, what is the Netherlands beside of the suburban iconic elements? You might know, it is the country of the tallest people on earth, the LGBT rights are the most progressive in the world, a flat landscape which is 70% below the sea level and the country of legalized soft drug law.

Amsterdam canals, Amsterdam houses and house boats (Photo Credit)

The Netherlands is well known of the brick Canal houses along the canals. Normally, they are about six-stories high, have quite big windows and steep stairs, and lean a bit to the front. The relationship between the buildings and the canals are potential urban elements what I miss a lot. A lot of Dutch cities have chill public spots between the buildings, for example big plazas with terraces around (good places to have a cold orange juice or beer in the sun) and canals to sit on the side and stare to the boats. There are even cafes and restaurants along the canals; Beautiful, cozy and enjoyable. The country of water!

Terraces along the canals (Photo Credit)

Since a big part of the country is below sea level, water is the weakest and the strongest element in this country. Since ages ago, Dutch people have fought against water; high dunes, dikes and other water systems were created. Even the wind mills are water systems, you will notice that the most of wind wills are next to the water. They also appreciate water by creating a lot of canals, lakes and water leisure parks. Also, the Dutch team during Olympic Games is strong at water related sports, for example Swimming, Ice skating, Beach volleyball and Sailing. But probably the Dutch people are mostly proud of their high-skilled water technology and innovative water ideas. Dutch companies are often been asked by other countries for tsunami disasters, rising water level and drink water.

There are so many other Dutch characteristics, cheese, cows and milk, the direct and open communication, an orange colored festival, famous painters etc.

Beside of explaining about the Netherlands, I would like to tell a bit about my experience in Tokyo. In Tokyo, I like Aoyama, Yanaka and Kagurazaka. Since, we have two houses around Kagurazaka, which are Happy House Kagurazaka and Chilli Pepper & Cream, I will tell a bit more about Kagurazaka.

Kanda river in Kagurazaka during cherry blossom period (Photo Credit)

When I am planning to visit this area, it is mostly because I am going to meet someone to eat in one of its restaurants or cafes, to visit the Akagi shrine or to visit my friend’s contemporary art gallery when there is a new exhibition. The restaurants are very nice, I enjoy eating Japanese food and French food in this area. I recommend Rito Kitchen, a beach house restaurant where they serve meals cooked with products of the small islands of Japan. For French, I really enjoyed the food in the very popular restaurant Maison de la Bourgogne. If you go to the canal side, there is Canal café, maybe because I come from a canal country、I like to sit there with a cup of tea staring to the big canal. During spring sakura time, along the canal it is a popular spot to enjoy Hanami (picnic under the cherry blossom trees). Along the canal you have big cherry blossom trees.

 

 

 

 

Rito Kitchen in Kaguraka (Photo Credit)

I like architecture and Akagi Shrine in Kagurazaka is renovated by a current famous Japanese architect, therefore I like to go there for my prayers. The same architect also renovated an old book warehouse in Kagurazaka. It called La Kagu and it is currently an event space with shops and a restaurant.

La Kagu, an old book warehouse to an event space with shops, exhibitions and restaurant (Photo Credit)

Still many things to explore in this area and other places in Tokyo. Even though I have come to Tokyo so many times and have lived here for 2 years now. For more information about our two houses in Kagurazaka area, check our website.

Happy House Kagurazaka: https://tulip-e.com/en/estateinfo/27/

Chilli Pepper & Cream: https://tulip-e.com/en/estateinfo/30/

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Tokyo’s Hidden Gems: Livin’ in a Grandma’s Paradise – Sugamo

Our sharehouse Apricot Terrace is in Sugamo. Sugamo is a slice of pure, classic Tokyo, served up at your grandparents’ house because you told them your mum hasn’t fed you yet.

Sugamo is known locally as ‘Granny’s Harajuku’ and it’s easy to see why. Geriatrics visit Jizo Dori in their hordes to get the best picks of traditional Japanese sweets, premium matcha tea and old-timey fashions.

But this grandma’s paradise holds plenty of attractions for any ages. Especially visitors who want to see a more old fashioned side of Tokyo. These are our favourites.

(link:http://japan-local-guide.com/ja/sugamo_a_paradise_for_tourists_who_want_to_take_a_look_at_old_japan/)

Obligatory Cute Mascot Sugamon

The mascot of Sugamo is a very round, white duck called Sugamon and he is adorable. A replica of his butt is stationed at the entrance to Jizo Dori, which can be stroked for a boost of luck in love. His schedule is written only in Japanese, but you can be sure he’ll make an appearance at all Sugamo’s festivals and events. His bum also looks like the shio daifuku that Sugamo is famous for. Mochi filled with red bean paste and flavoured with salt to counteract the sweetness. http://sugamon.jp/

 

Maruji Red Pants

You may notice an abundance of bright red panties. Not so much Sugamo’s saucy underbelly, rather these underwear are believed to grant you good health if you wear them. Judging by the average age of their patrons, there may be something in it…

(link:https://matcha-jp.com/en/greatertokyo/place/ChIJSQZuOp2NGGAReuli9ZYo2Ic)

Koganji Temple (Togenuki Jizo Temple)

This temple is more commonly known by its nickname of Togenuki Jizo, meaning ‘Jizo that draws out the thorn’ in reference to a story about the Jizo deity that is enshrined there. A samurai drew 10,000 pictures of the deity in order to cure his wife’s disease and after that the pictures were also used to cure a woman who had swallowed a thorn. Even now, this temple is very popular with people who want to cure their ailments.


(link:http://japan-local-guide.com/ja/sugamo_a_paradise_for_tourists_who_want_to_take_a_look_at_old_japan/)

Ganso Sennari Monaka

Purveyors of traditional Japanese sweets, you can watch fresh dorayaki being made in front of your very eyes. They also offer cute, colourful monaka for only 100 yen each. A sweet traditionally served with tea, consisting of a jam filling (there’s a choice of flavours such as red bean paste or plum) sandwiched between crisp mochi wafers. A perfect souvenir of your time in Sugamo!

(link: https://haveagood.holiday/spots/290884)

 

Traditional Japanese Clothing

Although the vast majority of the clothes in Sugamo are geared towards a more mature market, if you want to buy some traditional Japanese wear there are bargains to be had. Old ladies know where to get value for their money. Yukata, which are light, summer kimonos can be found for unbelievably low prices.

If you want to know even more about Sugamo, read our previous blog about the market that takes place there!

(link: https://matcha-jp.com/cn/3997)

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Happy House Asian – Transformation

One of our share houses is Happy House Asian. It is located in a Showa
(1926 – 1989) developedlively and cozy area close to Nakano station.
Happy House Asian is a house of two-stories, lived by a geisha, which its architecture is the traditional Japanese style. Interior rice-paper windows (shoji), rice-paper door (fusuma), wooden exposed beams and columns, bamboo finish and old style entrance (genkan) make it a true geisha house.

It is built in the beginning of Showa period and hasn’t been renovated for a while. In the beginning of this house as a share house Happy House Asian, the most parts have been kept from the original when the geisha was living here. Finally, it has been time to renovate this geisha house!

Tulip Real Estate started to think of ideas in September and step by step the house has changed. The idea is keeping the geisha character, but making it brighter and cozier. We are trying to finish the new look in Happy House Asian in the end of January.
The current stage:

 

Image below: There will be some new items in the house!

Image below: Ready to repair some corners. A collaboration between the Tulip staff and the professional handymen.

Image below: Spraying the umbrella racks to a goldish color to fit more in the new entrance.

Image below: The carpenters repaired wooden parts. In the kitchen the upper wooden part was rotten and it really needed reparation.

    

Image below:  Planning to use some Japanese patterned curtains and cushions.

Image below: We are keeping the beautiful original wooden ceiling, but we had to repair some parts.

Image below: The dormitory space is already emptied and the wooden work had been done too. It is time for paint.

In January 2020, we will give you an update and show the transformed version of Happy House Asian. Wishing everybody a happy new year!

 

Our website: https://tulip-e.com/
Our Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/tokyotulip
Our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tuliprealestate.co.ltd/

 

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Why Koenji is an awesome place? ChapterI

Tokyo’s one of the coolest hipster area, Koenji. It is already popular among the local Japanese and step by step the tourists discover this area too. Koenji has a young and energetic vibe in an area with low-rise buildings, which makes it cozy and cute as well. Why is Koenji an awesome place to live and to be in?

Since, we have one share house called Happy House Koenji, close to Koenji station, we would like to share some cool or convenient spots in this area. This time, we have listed up some of Koenji’s characteristic popular spots! Go there, if you have time.

Koenji is well-known of the various vintage second hand stores, like second hand book stores, music record stores and especially second hand clothes stores. The most of these stores are in the south of Koenji station in the famous street called “Look Street” and in the north of the station in the street “Azuma Street”. Here are some examples of second hand stores.

CLOTHES
There are a lot of different clothes which you cannot find anywhere else and they are still in good condition! For Vintage clothes, Loversoul, Re’all, Chart and Small change are interesting. These are the most popular ones where they sell clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories.

Small change: https://www.smallchange.jp/shop_koenji.html

Lover Soul: http://koenjilook.com/modules/shop0/index.php?id=290

Re’all: http://reall-koenji.com/  

Chart: https://ameblo.jp/whistler-and-chart/

Re’all
credit: http://img11.shop-pro.jp/PA01294/717/slideshow/slideshow_img_6d22fc.jpg?cmsp_timestamp=20190109205535


Small Change
credit: https://media.timeout.com/images/102566928/750/422/image.jpg

 

BOOKS
For interesting and unique books, you might like Ehonya Rusuban Bansuru Kaisha, Cocktail, Tomaru and SUB-store. Enhonya Rusuban has a lot of children books from all over the world. Cocktail is transformed from a full bookstore to a bar with some books. Tomaru is more for people who can read Japanese and the last one, SUB-store is a place where you can eat, drink, listen music and read books.

Rusuban: http://rusuban.ocnk.net/page/36

Cocktail: https://www.tokyocreative.com/sights/7509-cocktail-koenji

Tomaru: https://nakadori.jp/shop/0333373690.html

SUB-Store: https://substore.jimdo.com

SUB-Store
credit: https://experience-suginami.tokyo/exstcms/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/054-720×540.jpg

Cocktail
credit: https://www.tokyocreative.com/sights/7509-cocktail-koenji

 

MUSIC RECORDS
Beside of that, Koenji has some music live bars and music lovers come to Koenji for music. Beside of live band performances, you can find second hand music records in small shops between the streets.
EAD records focuses on New Waves, Jazz Funky and Dance & House Classics. For Punk and Metal, Record Shop Base is the place to be. Be-in-records has vinyl records of the most famous international musicians like the Beatles. This store actually has a lot of different kind of music genres. If you are curious about Japanese indie music, you will like Enban. Enban sells CD and DVD of Japanese artists.

EAD records: http://www.eadrecord.com/

Record shop Base: http://www.recordshopbase.com/

Be in records:http://www.bein.co.jp/

Enban: http://enban.web.fc2.com/

SUB-Store
credit: https://www.lifein.tokyo.jp/thegear/content/theme/media/article/archive/20-180528_%E3%82%88%E3%81%BF%E3%82%82%E3%81%AE_SUBstore/SUB%201%20Dadang%20Pranoto.jpg

Record Shop Base
credit: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DBzSEkqUIAAQixk?format=jpg&name=4096×4096

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Aoyama Girls Night Out – Tulip Team Style!

Omotesando’s more down-to-earth neighbor and Harajuku’s more sophisticated older sister; Aoyama is a place to refresh, get inspired and feel fancy. So it only makes sense that our staff decided to make it our go-to destination for a girls night out – Tulip style!

There is a certain air to Aoyama that gives it an exclusive feel, perhaps because it is tucked away in the hilly slopes of Tokyo, but the small streets do not feel too narrow. Or maybe it’s the effortlessly fashionable artists and designers that can be overheard talking about their up and coming projects in passing. The tiny, boutique shops and local bars’ dedication to their craft to produce top-notch quality and protect the artisan culture, or maybe it is the eclectic architecture that somehow the groups of tourists have not yet discovered.

Heading over to dinner, we passed by Sunny Hills, designed by one of Tokyo’s most beloved modern architects, Kengo Kuma. Fans of Kuma’s work should definitely check out his many projects scattered around Kagurazaka, where we also happen to have two lovely share houses, Chilli Pepper & Cream and Happy House Kagurazaka.

As we approached the restaurant, we were taken aback at the gorgeous exterior and atmosphere. Walking through the bar area (and slightly regretting our outfit choices), we were shown to a table seated by a lit-up terrace. 

Cicada is located just a minute’s walk from Omotesando Station and specializes in modern Mediterranean cuisine. The space itself has a Euro-chic atmosphere but the flavor of the dishes were deliciously authentic. We started with some toasted pita accompanied by various dips of your choice – we went with the classic hummus and a carrot, yogurt, & mint spread.

The cocktail menu was very impressive, which is expected as the restaurant is owned by Tysons & Company, the founders of T.Y. Harbor Brewery.

After our lots of chatting, laughs and “kanpais!” we scoped around the area for a place to grab some cocktails. We stumbled upon Radio Bar and were intrigued by its retro atmosphere, like something out of an old Japanese movie. It turned out that Radio Bar has been around since the 1970s, and THE place to go for cocktail connoisseurs and aspiring mixologists to enjoy a proper pour (which is hard to come across in Tokyo nowadays amongst all the Lemon Sours and Whiskey High Balls).

Accompanied with an incredibly delicious spread of fresh fruits and cheese came Bar Radio’s original cocktails served with impeccable presentation. Each cocktail has been meticulously crafted and perfected over the decades and we appreciated the attention to detail until the last very last drop. Because of the high standards of the establishment, the cocktails are not at all cheap and be prepared to be on your best behavior, that also means to dress accordingly!

Satisfied and slightly emotional over how exquisite our night has been so far, we were not ready for it to end. We decided to check out the nearby Commune 2nd, suggested by our staff Jan who is in the know about many Tokyo’s hidden gems.

At Commune 2nd, you will be greeted with hip, neon clad signs, beer and food stands with a modern-style food truck-like layout, and groups of merry making locals and foreigners alike enjoying themselves over drinks and food.

Commune 2nd closes at 10 PM, let’s clarify that all the shops and eating spaces close at 10 PM sharp! We had too much fun in the lively atmosphere and did not want to leave, but had to take a team pic while we were getting kicked out.

Although at first a bit intimidated and unfamiliar with the Aoyama area, it has become one of our favorite places to explore. Stay tuned for hopefully an Aoyama Part 2 Guide by the Tulip Team and also a possible share house that will be newly opening up  in Aoyama some time in the future 😉

Thanks for reading and enjoy Tokyo to the fullest! Tulip Real Estate specializes in female-only share houses in Tokyo. Send us a message to ask about our share houses and we are more than happy to recommended our favorite places to check out nearby.

Tulip Website: www.tulip-e.com

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