by Elisabeth Lambert
Nearly eight kilometers out of Shibuya on the Den-en-toshi line lies the neighborhood of Yoga. This little patch of the Setagaya ward was originally opened as a stop on the Tamagawa Electric Railway in 1907. Nowadays, with the modern urban architecture that greets you from both the north and south exits of the station, you could be fooled into thinking that Yoga is strictly a business district. Yet when you take the time to explore a little further afield you will discover urban parks and restaurants sitting on the fringe of a gorgeous little area with beautiful private gardens that still has pockets of the old town.
Situated along what is referred to as the Yoga Promenade is Kondo, ‘the futon shop for your amenity.’ Although the English might be a little off track, Kondo certainly isn’t when it comes to meeting all your traditional Japanese futon needs. From plain, patterned and licensed futons, covers, pillows, tataki (bamboo contraptions used for beating the dust out of your futon as you hang it outside the window) and everything in between, Kondo offers futon accessories you never even realized you needed—or wanted!
A tiny but cosy organic cafe and delicatessen, Nodoca uses vegetables and brown rice as the staples of its dishes in order to promote health, well-being and being ‘restfulness.’ Take-out meals vary in price, including small vegetable and fish salads from ¥250 right through to a lunchtime set including soup, salad, rice and a main dish for ¥1,000. You can also opt to dine in and enjoy an organic coffee after your meal. Finally, stock up on organic grains, juices, soy sauces and veggies before returning home to your own kitchen.
Tapas & Tapas
Although the name indicates Spanish cuisine, Tapas & Tapas incorporates Italy and other areas of Southern Europe (as well as Spain) into its kitchen. This chain of casual restaurants offers great value with its multiple course menus, ranging in price from ¥2,000 to ¥5,980, along with options to include alcohol. The bulk of the menu is seasonal and currently includes gratins, hot pots and lots of meaty, hearty meals to warm patrons up through the winter.