While scouting for Tokyo-based shop owners and artisans to interview for her website , Popupla contributor Ruby Nichols fell in love with the boutiques, cafes, and galleries of the Daikanyama neighborhood. She shares them here.
TOKYO – Of all the neighborhoods I explored in Tokyo, Daikanyama is my absolute favorite. It's the perfect blend of traditional and modern; the chic neighborhood reflects the culture’s appreciation for high-quality fashion and design while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere. It reminds me of a more intimate version of Manhattan's SoHo.
Daikanyama is considered to be much more "livable" than Shibuya and other better known areas of the city. Though the neighborhood itself is not large, it’s densely packed. Winding streets are lined with stylish boutiques, open-air cafes, restaurants, and bookstores. I could walk forever.
WHERE TO SHOP
19-6 Sarugakucho, Shibuya;+81-03-5428-5951
This handsome shop is the perfect union of two highly respected Japanese brands, BEAMS and Yoshida. BEAMS has become quite a retail force in Japan, while Yoshida is revered for its top-notch bag and accessory designs. Together, these two can do no wrong.
28-17 Sarugaku-cho,;Shibuya-ku; +81-03-3463-5668
Famous for earthy, retro, casual wear, shopping here feels a bit like thrifting at an indoor flea market. Hunt for tons of denim and tees, many made with organic cotton and ecofriendly materials. It's always a colorful experience.
20-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya;+81-03-3461-8511
This gorgeous shop of traditional Japanese wares is aptly set in a beautiful old building. You'll find rich indigo-dyed clothing and Japanese tailoring techniques and designs. Do not miss out on this.
20-10 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-3461-8506
This newish boutique is the sister shop to Okura. The cozy space specializes in outdoor wear and carries Mt. Rainier Design — a classic brand specializing in wind- and water-resistant materials. Though much of the selection is menswear, ladies can also find some great accessories and knick knacks, including American (and particularly Californian) memorabilia.
25-1 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-3464-2109
Yet another great vintage shop that's affiliated with other neighborhood favorites such as Okura, Journey, and Hollywood Ranch Market. This is one of the original American-style vintage stores in Tokyo — a great combination of recycled and contemporary fashions.
25-8 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-3463-2258
This is the second standalone store for Jason Denham, who couldn't have picked a better name for a purveyor of premium denim. Though considered new to the game, the brand has quickly proven it's here to stay with two stores in just two years and a recent U.S. launch at American Rag. The store itself is stunning and the motto is severe: Worship tradition, destroy convention.
17-5 Daikanyama-cho #201, Shibuya-ku; +81-03-3780-6820
This pristine palace of European fashion is not to be missed. The fashion-is-art philosophy is unmistakable. The clothing is so beautifully displayed, you'll be hesitant to touch any of it. Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Rick Owens, and Fred Perry are all here.
25-2 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-3496-7570
A.P.C. has done it again. Fans should be impressed by this stunning space designed by famous Japanese architects at Wonderwall. Fellas, this one's a must.
24-1 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-5458-6020
An institution in Daikanyama, this boutique record shop is expertly curated by and for music connoisseurs.
17-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-3770-2525
I'm in love. I could have easily spent an entire day soaking up all the literature in this heavenly book emporium. It's worth visiting for the award-winning architecture alone. Within the complex you'll find shops with art books, periodicals, English-language titles, music, DVDs. Not to mention shops-within-the-shop, including Starbucks, Family Mart, pet boutiques, and specialty travel kiosks.
WHAT TO SEE
16-5 Address Garden #1F, Daikanyama-Cho; +81-03-3780-6820
Stunning doesn't even begin to describe this sartorial art gallery. Even more tucked away than its counterpart, Lift Ecru, this space is much larger and more theatrical in design. However, they both focus on highly respected European designers.
29-20 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-3476-1021
A true hidden gem and important cultural site: a wooden mansion from the Taisho era (1919) surrounded by highly manicured gardens.
WHERE TO EAT
20-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-3461-8512
This underground boho cafe is essentially located in the basement of Okura. Fantastic ambience and a great spot for a curry fix or shaved ice.
2-8, Nanpeidaicho, Shibuya;
A stellar ramen shop, using 100-percent natural ingredients with no artificial additives. The exquisite quality can be tasted in the first sip of broth.
22-8 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-5424-0656
A local favorite for the Motsu-Nabe (local dishes in Fukuoka). This izakaya is said to be one of the best-kept secrets in the neighborhood. You can thank me later!
23-2 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-3476-3853
A delicious French patisserie in Tokyo. Hot pastries are served fresh from the oven in the dine-in section.
16-15 Sarugakucho, Shibuya; +81-03-6415-3232
A spacious cafe that feels more like a villa. Three different sections are outfitted in vintage furniture. My favorite is the T-Site Garden.