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Shimokitazawa (下北沢)

Shimokitazawa (下北沢)

Old Nov 4, 19, 10:58 am
  #1  
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Shimokitazawa (下北沢)

Shimokitazawa is an area in Setagaya ward of Tokyo where Odakyu Line and Inogashira (Keio) Line intersects. My Tokyo resident is at Karasuyama in Setagaya ward so I am little familiar with Shimokitazawa for more than few decades, revealing my age. It is easy 10 min. from Shinjuku by Odakyu Line and 10 min. form Shibuya by Inogashira Line. Shimokitazawa is known for more than few decades as having small shops and small theaters for start-up actors and groups. It has been an area younger generation go on weekends, may be smaller version of Harajuku. Many area in Shimokitazawa has old "Showa style neighborhood" where small houses are build tightly next to each other on small alleys. Can remember the neighbor of Shimokitazawa is known by younger generation since '70s and '80s. But I do not think many non-Japanese tour book of Tokyo talk about Shimokitazawa.

Now TimeOut magazine has published "The 50 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World" last month and Shimokitazawa was ranked No. 2. This means we will start to see posts here about asking Shimokitazawa. Odakyu and Keio has announced that they will be involved in development of new commercial building at Shimokitazawa, now Odakyu Line has moved underground at Shimokitazawa and plan to build a commercial building at the ground level where Odakyu Shimokitazawa station used to be. Odakyu and Keio said the commercial building will reflect Shimokitazawa neighbor of small shops and small independent theaters.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 3:06 pm
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I stayed there over 2 weeks during Xmas/New Years 2017-2018 in an AirBnB at the bottom of the hill from the east exit for our first trip to Japan. We loved it and just enjoyed walking around, I found some nice craft beer bars (Kazenori Merry and Ushitora were my faves) and restaurants, was a great base to explore Tokyo.

Happy I went there before the article
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Old Nov 4, 19, 3:25 pm
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There was a dorama several years ago called Shimokita Sundays that concentrated on the small theater and arts scene. Several scenes were filmed around the neighborhood and it looked like a nice place to visit - rather like YaNeSen.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 3:46 pm
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It was already hip years ago and I believe it was featured in a television advertisement for Expedia but obviously making it onto a list like this will increase exposure. However, it's not necessarily a bad thing if it gets tourists away from the usual Roppongi/Shinjuku/Shibuya claptrap. No matter what Odakyu & Keio say, I don't think building a commercial building on the site of the old station bodes well for the area.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 12:48 am
  #5  
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For a few years, the Lonely Planet Guidebook and website has been vigorously pushing Shimo Kitazawa to anybody looking up Shibuya.

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/t...uya-and-around
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Old Nov 5, 19, 8:56 am
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It's my partner's favourite part of Tokyo - all those vintage clothing/bag shops are just perfect for her. I've been visiting for almost 30 years and I think the exposure has altered the area detrimentally and I agree that the station "upgrade" won't do any favours.

When I'm asked (which is often) where the best places are in Tokyo I always point Shimo-Kitazawa out and then recommend Koenji as an alternative as I prefer the latter; quieter, smaller and cooler.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 10:27 am
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Just today saw London based Yuriko Kotani do a short set to help promote Tokyo tourism. She mentioned Shimo-Kitazawa and said that it has an English Language Comedy Club.

And indeed, there’s a photo of her at the top of the Club’s website
http://www.standuptokyo.com/good-heavens-comedy-club/
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Old Nov 5, 19, 1:42 pm
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Originally Posted by rosensfole View Post
Koenji as an alternative as I prefer the latter; quieter, smaller and cooler.
Koenji is great too but I still prefer(red) Shimokitazawa. The central area feels more compact to me instead of just being one long street running between Koenji Station and Shin-Koenji Station.

In general, I find it interesting that folks aren't just hitting the usual sights of the Imperial Palace, Sensoji and the Shibuya scramble crossing. Travellers are getting more savvy and I think the desire for that "unique" Instagram shot is driving visitors to branch out a bit.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by kevincrumbs View Post
In general, I find it interesting that folks aren't just hitting the usual sights of the Imperial Palace, Sensoji and the Shibuya scramble crossing. Travellers are getting more savvy and I think the desire for that "unique" Instagram shot is driving visitors to branch out a bit.
For locals who live there it is not always a good thing, tourists discovering their neighborhood... I lived at Hermosa Beach in Los Angeles for 15 years, a block and half from the beach and the pier. Yes, I used to be a beach bum. I always appreciated that many tourist guide book of Los Angeles did not mention Hermosa Beach. I would have hated to live at a place like Venice Beach or Santa Monica because of the volume of tourists traffic.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 2:30 pm
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Originally Posted by kevincrumbs View Post
Koenji is great too but I still prefer(red) Shimokitazawa. The central area feels more compact to me instead of just being one long street running between Koenji Station and Shin-Koenji Station.

In general, I find it interesting that folks aren't just hitting the usual sights of the Imperial Palace, Sensoji and the Shibuya scramble crossing. Travellers are getting more savvy and I think the desire for that "unique" Instagram shot is driving visitors to branch out a bit.
I suppose.

Koenji is nicer because it's not really been hit by tourists. I know I could be classified as a tourist too but I'm too at home in Japan for that.

There's a vibe in Koenji/Suginami ku that makes it oddly special. Perhaps that's why the area crops up in Japanese fiction so often. Plus the best tonkatsu I've ever eaten was there 😋
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