Things to Do in Daikanyama: Hip Scenery Meets Culinary Finesse
The ultra-hip residential district of Daikanyama is where Tokyo’s fashionable crowd goes to see and be seen. Located within walking distance of both Shibuya and Daikanyama Station, it’s a neighborhood of low-rise buildings and gently winding streets lined with trees and greenery. Many famous clothing brands open up shops-turned-showrooms here, and it’s not unheard of to run into a Japanese celebrity or two. Although not as densely packed as nearby Shibuya or Harajuku, Daikanyama attracts a rather trendy crowd of millennials out for a relaxing day in the city. Keep reading for a complete guide of things to do in Daikanyama, including the best places to go for shopping, good restaurants, and trendy cafés.
Places to Go in Daikanyama
There are four major clusters of shops and businesses around Daikanyama—each area marked by distinctive landmarks.
Kyu Asakura House
About a five-minute walk from Daikanyama Station is the Kyu Asakura House, an Important Cultural Property of Japan. The house was built in the early 1900s and is one of the few remaining icons of the Taisho style in Tokyo. Its nostalgic architecture and meticulously kept gardens are a must-see, and fortunately for visitors, is now owned and maintained by the Shibuya city government, which opens the house to the public for a nominal fee.
Located not too far from the Kyu Asakura House is Hillside Terrace, an architectural complex filled with shops, cafés, restaurants, galleries, and residential space. The mixed-use facility was designed by renowned Tokyo architect Fumihiko Maki, who also designed the former World Trade Center in New York City. The complex was built over the course of three decades with the style of buildings and construction materials continuously evolving over time. Despite this, the Hillside Terrace maintains a beautifully consistent feel across its various buildings.
Log Road Daikanyama
Log Road Daikanyama can be found just north of the station, on land previously occupied by the old Tokyu Line train tracks. A shopping complex that’s more terrace garden than strip mall, the facility is lined with numerous benches and plenty of greenery. Among its free-standing shop buildings, you’ll find an eclectic mix of clothing retailers, a home and garden store, several cafés, a bakery, and a craft beer brewery.
This collection of boutique shops, cafés, and a massive bookstore is the perfect spot in Daikanyama for people-watching. The main complex contains a book, movie, and music retailer along with a coffee house and convenience store. Elsewhere on the campus, you’ll find a boutique travel agency, camera shop, pet grooming salon, and bicycle store. Daikanyama T-site is themed after “a library in the woods” and has won numerous design awards internationally. Find it on Kyu-Yamate Street just past Hillside Terrace.
Things to Do in Daikanyama
It’s easy to while away the afternoon shopping in Daikanyama’s novel boutiques and exploring its abundant showrooms and galleries. Here’s what you can look forward to.
Shops and Boutiques
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the shops and boutiques in Daikanyama for art galleries or museums. Housed in sophisticated complexes and old converted buildings, many of Daikanyama’s shops act as the main showroom for different brands. You’ll find international retailers alongside pop-up shops and novelty one-off stores, with everything from vintage furniture and interior goods to hand-dyed denim wear, infant and toddler specialty items, and pet clothing and accessories. In other words, if you’re shopping for something both high quality and out of the ordinary, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in Daikanyama. The area also offers a number of select fashion brands that work in perfect harmony with the neighborhood’s unique character.
Showrooms and Galleries
Of course, some of Daikanyama’s unique buildings do indeed contain showrooms and galleries. You’ll find not only temporary spaces housing pop-up stores, apparel exhibitions, and workshops, but also rotating and permanent collections of contemporary art from both domestic and foreign artists.
Things to Eat in Daikanyama
In addition to shopping and art-gazing, people flock to Daikanyama for its unique and assorted cafés, restaurants, and watering holes.
Trendy Cafés and Coffee Shops
Tokyo is home to a booming third-wave coffee scene, and there are plenty of cafés and coffee shops in Daikanyama offering everything from pour-over and siphon coffee to gorgeous latte art—and, of course, tea (this is Japan after all). Many of the cafés also offer delicious food, tasty pastries, and terrace seating if you’d like to enjoy your coffee or tea with a bit of fresh air and sunshine.
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If there’s one neighborhood in Tokyo where you’re sure to find not only organic, vegan, and vegetarian food in Japan but also all-American apple pie, fluffy towers of pancakes, New York-style pizza, and classic French cuisine, it’s Daikanyama. Any Daikanyama restaurant you visit is sure to be excellent, but expect long lines on the weekend when the local residents are out in full force. Many eateries are pet-friendly and stroller-friendly, so you’ll encounter plenty of pet owners taking their pups out for a walk while mothers convene for lunch dates with their young children in tow.
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At night there are a number of places to go in Daikanyama for anything from a nice glass of wine to a domestic craft beer. You’ll also find delicious cocktail bars, rooftop lounges, and a popular live house venue and nightclub.
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Get in Touch with Your Inner Hipster at Daikanyama with Gurunavi
The neighborhood of Daikanyama, with its fashionable shops and trendy eateries, is one of the hippest areas among Tokyoites and for good reason. Put on your favorite outfit and get ready to strut your stuff with Tokyo’s chic crowd. And when you get hungry, be sure to check out the recommended Daikanyama restaurants at Gurunavi.