Just minutes away from the crowds in Shibuya is a little, quiet neighborhood with the perfect blend of traditional shops, hip businesses, and casual hangout spots.
Stop, Shop and Stroll
Jet-setting lifestyle magazine “Monocle” chose Tomigaya as the location for their retail store, Monocle Shop (1-19-2 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku), which deals in product partnerships with brands like Comme des Garçons, Porter, Barena and Mackintosh – and it’s not hard to understand why they like the inviting setting. Walking around the neighborhood, it’s fun to see traditional businesses, like Tailor Masumi (1-43-7 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku) with its charming facade, sharing real estate with modern storefronts like that of trendy toy store Project 1/6 (37-10 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku). Although you do have to wonder how specialty shops like German Hobby Dora (1-44-5 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku), which sells rare plastic scale models, will afford rising rents in Tomigaya, but here’s to hoping they can keep up.
Besides your usual French bakeries and konbinis, Tomigaya has some great spots to pick up a quick walkaround snack. On those hot summer afternoons, look no further than Gelateria Theobroma (1-9-23 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku) for freshly made, creamy gelato. If that’s not enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, Cacao Store (1-6-8 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku) offers enough bean-to-bar treats to send you straight back to a Chocoholics Anonymous meeting. For those who have never had a pastel de nata, a Portuguese egg custard in a puff pastry shell, prepare to be hooked by the selection at Nata de Cristiano (1-51-10 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku). End off with a stop at Fuglen (1-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku), a hip Norwegian café/cocktail bar with a vintage-style interior that’s perfect for coffee or cocktail sipping while people watching.
Let’s Do Lunch
Some neighborhoods indulge your dinner and nightlife needs but Tomigaya seems more content serving up casual lunches. There’s a plethora of lively cafés where you can tuck into a hearty sandwich, delicious soup or healthy salad. Camelback Sandwich & Espresso (42-2 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku) is one such place. You also can’t miss the cow statue in front of Shibuya Cheese Stand (5-8 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku)– they serve up freshly made mozzarella and ricotta in a variety of tasty sandwiches. A rarity in Tokyo, Glutenfree Cafe Little Bird (1-1-20 Uehara, Shibuya-ku) caters to celiac disease sufferers and otherwise gluten-intolerant folk. If you do find yourself in the neighborhood for dinner, fear not, as places like Ahiru Store (1-19-4 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku), Path (1-44-2 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku), and Tomigaya Terrace (1-14-13 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku) can take care of your supper needs.
Tomigaya borders the southwest corner of Yoyogi Park (2-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya-ku), so you can stroll over to Meiji Jingu Gyoen (1-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya-ku) in a matter of minutes. This is the often-overlooked inner garden of Meiji Shrine and features a Japanese-style tea house, an iris garden, a turtle and koi pond, and “power spot” Kiyomasa’s Well. If you want to keep it local, however, on a hill just to the north of the neighborhood lies the historic Yoyogihachiman Shrine (5-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku), founded in 1212 by a warrior of the Genji Clan. On the same premises, you can see a reconstruction of a 4,500-year-old straw dwelling discovered only relatively recently in 1950. If you’re seeking some art, the Toguri Museum of Art (1-11-3 Shoto, Shibuya-ku) is conveniently located on your way south towards Shibuya, close to the Bunkamura Art Museum and Orchard Hall performing arts center (2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku).
The Book is Better
Augmenting the chill vibes of the neighborhood, Tomigaya is also home to several independent bookstores to give you something to read over lunch. Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers (17-3 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku) is one of the best local publishers, and the Tomigaya location serves as their headquarters as well as their flagship store. Just down the street, Rhythm and Books (1-9-15 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku) is a charming hole in the wall for those with cavernous reading appetites. If you prefer motion pictures to static pages, movie theater Uplink (37-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku) is also nearby, and is a great place to catch the latest batch of independent film releases. The cultural complex also includes a gallery, a gift shop, and the laid-back Tabela café.