There are many things that both locals and foreigners love about Japan. They have an amazing history that they value tremendously which can be seen in how devoted they are to preserving numerous historical landmarks and attractions. They have a cuisine that can be quite addicting due to its taste and its relative healthiness as compared to the cuisines found in other countries and their tradition is alive and well through the multiple festivities they have been celebrating regularly for hundreds of years now. With all things great things about Japan, it can be easily overlooked that they have so much more in store for those who are looking for other things here. If you are into the latest trends of the world or that luxurious lifestyle you see on TV, you’ll be glad to find out that Japan has something to address even that particular liking and it is called the Daikanyama found in the Shibuya Ward of Tokyo.
A Brief History of Tokyo’s Daikanyama
This place wasn’t always an area designated to offer the products and services they offer in this present day and age. In the year of 1924, Daikanyama ‘s evolution or preservation came to a halting stop as the Great Kanto Earthquake hit Japan hard. To put it simply, the destruction that the earthquake brought restarted the society in the Daikanyama and this new life came when a 232 apartment unit because one of the many public housing projects initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs after the earthquake.
This apartment, after this was rebuilt, became the vessel for the architectural developments that soon stormed this neighborhood. It was initially rebuilt using a concrete design that rendered the establishment to be earthquake-proof but in the year of 1996, this efficient design was brought down, only to be replaced by one of the first low-rise concrete designed buildings. This design influenced all the other buildings to follow and that explains why the Daikanyama area is filled with the low-rise type buildings.
No one was sure about how things would turn out because it was unorthodox but it soon became obvious that differentiated style of the buildings found here fit the vibe of the location well. Some contribute the successful design of the things they would soon offer here. Examples of these “things” are the small boutiques and open-air cafes that now exist in this part of Tokyo. These shops are quite unique in Japan and since the overall aesthetic of Daikanyama became unique due to these low-rise buildings as well, it all just seemed to fall into place.
A Shopping Guide around Tokyo’s Daikanyama That Involves the Bookstores, Restaurants, and Coffee Shops Found Here
Nowadays, the Daikanya is considered to be the area in Tokyo that is a perfect mix of style, sophistication, and casualness. Some people have even dubbed it as the Brooklyn of Japan due to all the wide variety of amazing stores you can find here presently. They have a store for whatever you may be interested in. For example, if you’re interested in history, you can hit up a place called Journey.
This place is quite small but people with an interest in history go here because this building was actually built during the Taisho Period which was a period of time that happened in 1917 until 1918. The building that stands there now isn’t the same exact building built during the Taisho Period because its owners from the 1940’s had a fire incident here and it destroyed the majority of the structure. It was, however, rebuilt in the year of 1948 according to the original designs with the addition of reinforced walls to fortify them during earthquakes.
Despite its history, this establishment isn’t entirely like a museum. It is a shop selling accessories and basics that come from the United States but, at the same time, it is also an establishment that commemorates Japan’s history through a gallery of pictures that come with detailed information about the history of the building and the Daikanyama area as well. With this said, even if you aren’t planning to buy any trinkets, this place would still be worth the time to stop by in due to the things you can learn about here. They are open from 11:30 AM until 8 PM and they never close on any day of the year.
If books are something you love, you’ll be ecstatic to know that there is a bookstore heaven in the Daikanyama area and it is found in the famous Daikanyama T-Site. The T-Site is actually a neo-modernist building complex that has a variety of great shops in it. One of them is the said bookstore heaven that is known as Tsutaya Books. This place has all the books you can ever dream of getting a hold of and in addition to his vast selection of books that also include English language books, you can also find DVDs, movies, stationaries, and even vintage magazines that date back as early as the 60’s. These vintage magazines can all be found in the section of the bookstore called “Magazine Street” which stretches out to an astounding length of 60 yards.This bookstore is the ideal chill spot for bookworms or book lovers because of the lounge and café that can be found here as well. If those facilities aren’t enough for you to be impressed with this bookstore, finding out that it also has an upscale convenience store as well as one of the busiest Starbucks branches in Japan may finally change your thoughts about this grand place.
If you are going to Daikanyama because of the unique architecture found here, you should definitely take time to visit the Hillside Terrace as well. This place is a mixed-use establishment that is used as a venue for museums, stores, restaurants, salons, and even a design library. If those things aren’t enough to make you see just how mixed the usage of this establishment is, you should also know that the Danish embassy is also located in this building.
With regards to the shopping you can do here, you have to option of looking through the enormous mall mentioned earlier called the T-Site. If none of the stores in this mall appealed to you, you can try to check out a store called Okura. This place is an old Japanese warehouse that sells Japanese clothes that have been dyed in colors in indigo. It a great shop to get souvenirs from because the technique they use to dye their merchandise is a technique that has been in Japan for centuries. With this being the case, you can be sure that whatever you buy there is worth giving because of the history and authenticity that it holds.
After all the shopping that you will probably be doing here, you are sure to get hungry. This is a great problem to have when in this area because this place is the best place to get a taste of the rest of the world. Walking around this neighborhood should make it obvious that it is more western as compared to the other areas in Japan. Since this is the case, a lot of the restaurants in this place offer food from the places that their local foreigners come from.
Some stores that are perfect examples of this are the likes of the Ivy Place and Mocha Coffee. The Ivy Place is actually a sister business to the T.Y. Harbor Brewery found in Tennoz Isle. This place is great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and even dinner because of the great quality of food with a touch of the Mediterranean that is served here. The Mocha Coffee, on the other, is a passion project of a man from Yemen and his Japanese wife. This place is unique because it is the only store in Daikanyama that serve you coffee made from the coffee beans of Yemen and it is delicious. There are many more stores and restaurants like these ones which serve foreign dishes so if you are in the mood for something else, you can simply search the internet to look for a store that serves what taste of the world you desire.
A Map on How to Use the Metro and Other Stations to Reach Tokyo’s Daikanyama Area and The Hotels You Can Rest In
It was mentioned earlier that Daikanyama is located in the Shibuya Ward or Shibuya-ku in the city of Tokyo. Japan’s public transportation system amazing and the fact that this particular area is located in one of the biggest and busiest cities in Japan makes it all a lot easier to reach this place. Since the public transportation system of Japan is practically all interconnected, your goal is simply to get to the Daikan-yama Station.
This station is found on the Tokyu Toyoko Line and it is specifically in between the stations of Shibuya and Naka-meguro. A person can actually walk to the Daikan-yama Station from the Shibuya Station and it would only take then around 20 minutes. With this said, riding a train should get you here from either Shibuya or Naka-meguro in less than 10 minutes. You should also remember that despite the fact that the Tokyu Toyoko Line extends from the Shibuya Station to the Yokohama Station, not all trains pass all stations. In order for you to avoid missing the Daikan-yama station, it would be wise to set an alarm to remind you to board a local train.
There are many hotels here like the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel as well as the Wise Owl Hostels Shibuya and all these hotels are great places to stay in. Unfortunately, if you are on a tight budget, you might be better off using applications like Airbnb to find an apartment to stay in during your time in this area. It should be a little more cost efficient and should also help you save a little more money for you to spend on the great things to shop for in this amazing high-class area.
Some of the main attractions to be visited here have been mentioned but those things haven’t even reached half of the attractions you can go to and enjoy in this special place in Tokyo. If you are staying in this area, you can also easily visit the places near it like Ebisu and Nakameguro which are places that are also special in their own way. Whether you decide to venture off to nearby places or shopping until you drop in Daikanyama, you are sure to have a blast as long as you have funds to spend.