Just a 15-minute walk away from the noisy and crowded streets of Shibuya is the neighborhood of Daikanyama. Known for its chill atmosphere and grown-up aesthetic, its booming art and music scene, eccentric shops and cafes, and not to mention its high-concentration of some of the best hipster food you’re going to find in Japan, it’s no wonder the locals are calling it Tokyo’s Little Brooklyn.
What Is It?
Daikanyama was the location for one of the earliest building projects undertaken after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1924. A 232-apartment complex was developed there and served as a showcase for modern suburbs and earthquake proofing architecture throughout Tokyo. Daikanyama has since become a quiet outlier smack in the middle of Shibuya, Ebisu, and Nakameguro, filled with trendy boutiques and pedestrian zones.
What Can You Do?
Daikanyama is a popular destination for shopping, especially during the weekends. An entire day could be spent just browsing the shops found along the roads and backstreets. Places like Daikanyama T-SITE, Hillside Terrace, and the 17dixsept shopping mall were all designed with a relaxed shopping experience in mind. It’s like a whole different world compared to the bleach blonde gyaru screaming “SALE” in your face at Shibuya 109.
Daikanyama has also become home to many music venues in Tokyo. Daikanyama Unit is a venue that hosts DJs, indie and experimental Japanese and international bands, as well as the occasional punk hardcore act. Mameromantic is an intimate venue that features jazz and acoustic acts. While Space Odd, named after the David Bowie song (sort of), also welcomes a variety of genres including metal and idol groups.
History buffs can also enjoy a stroll through the Kyu Asakura House. Constructed in 1919 by Torajiro Asakura, the historic building and garden survived both the Great Kanto Earthquake and the Tokyo firebombings of the Second World War. Designated as an Important Cultural Property in 2004, the beautiful museum has been left practically untouched, giving visitors a wonderful opportunity to experience Taisho era architecture.
What Can You Eat?
You can’t call a place “Little Brooklyn” without serving up some delicious New York style pizza. The aptly named Pizza Slice is a popular and stylish restaurant serving pizza slices that are the size of your head starting at 500 yen per slice. Right next door to Pizza Slice is Café Habana, probably the only place in Tokyo you can get an authentic cubanos.
The Spring Valley Brewery offers up a wide selection of craft beers and burgers, while Hylife Pork Table serves high-quality meats and wines directly from Canada. Your best vegan option will be the Blue Jam Café. Not everything on their menu is vegan friendly, but they do have things like vegan tofu tacos and 100% vegan burgers.
Coffee lovers could spend a few trips to Daikanyama, but one of the more popular shops is Caffè Michelangelo. There is also the absolutely hipster named The Coffeeshop, a very small standing-only café run entirely by just one guy. Lastly, Canvas Tokyo has a “concept space”, whatever that means. You can find Nico Donuts here, often considered to be some of the best donuts in Tokyo, as well as Ink, a truly minimalist café with colorful lattes and solid flat whites.
Where Is It?
Daikan-yama Station is served by the Tokyu Toyoko Line. It is easily accessible from major stations like Shibuya, Nakameguro, and Yokohama. It is also connected to the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line for easy access from Ikebukuro.