Winding lanes, a hidden shrine and some great little eateries await visitors to Okusawa, while the homey feel and local appeal make this an ideal place to live. A short walk from Jiyugaoka station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line, or just outside Okusawa station on the Meguro line, the area is just a short train ride from central Tokyo. For those who have never been it is well worth the trip to relax in a place that has a small town feel yet retains the energy of the city.
5-19-10 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku
You don’t need to travel to China for authentic cuisine. This restaurant has become a favorite with locals because of its signature dish, mabo dofu. The fiery mix of beef and tofu in a chili sauce is unusually spicy for Japan, but true to the original Chinese recipe. To experience the full effect, ask the chef to make it extra spicy and be sure to have a towel on hand to wipe your sweating brow. If you can’t take the heat, the restaurant also serves a variety of traditional Chinese favorites, including many that are not spicy at all.
2-10-6 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku
Look for the conveniently placed tricolor Italian flag gracing a homemade sign attached to a lamp post for clues on how to find this rustic and charming little Italian restaurant. Vicoletto uses fresh, seasonal ingredients to create imaginative takes on Italian classics, and the out-of-the-way location means you don’t have to pay astronomic prices. Lunch sets start from ¥1,470 including dessert, and a four course dinner is just ¥3,570 including a drink.
5-12-3 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku
Is it a plant store, a coffee shop or one of the most interesting bars you’ve ever visited? The answer is all three. In addition to selling beautiful fresh flowers and arrangements, Bell Wood serves light food like taco rice and Thai curry (just ¥500 each), nice coffee and great beers. The quirky interior decorated with a reggae influence is just as unique as the flower shop cum bar concept. Look for a collection of flowers and plants at the entrance, just down the street from Okusawa station.