Shimokitazawa has always been a lively town packed with new restaurants, cafés, live shows, events and vintage shops. Since the relocation of the Odakyu line to its current underground location in 2017, the town has had a total rejuvenation – although some might argue that it was never needed. The former location of the Odakyu line tracks has opened room for loads of new establishments, events and festivals.
Of course, like everywhere else in Tokyo, and the world, Covid-19 has put a reluctant halt on almost everything that anyone would consider fun, but some events have managed to persevere and operate according to guidelines. These mostly include outdoor events, as they are inherently safer. Here are just some of the events, new restaurants and shops, exhibitions and seasonal activities that you can find in and around Shimokitazawa during the New Year season.
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While curry still dominates the Shimokita food scene, ramen seems to be trying to take some of the spotlight with two ramen restaurants in the area having now been added to Michelan’s Bib Gourmand list. Maruki Shokudou is the newest ramen shop in the area and it serves Chinese style ramen (chuka soba) at a reasonable price. The shop also offers a mini-size, if you just want a taste.
Keep up-to-date with Maruki Shokudou on Instagram
The 10 Percent x Fraction Bar
Funded on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake, The 10 Percent x Fraction Bar is a trendy yakiniku shop with an attached bar. They specialize in Ishigaki beef from Okinawa for their yakiniku and they are trying to promote visiting their bar for an aperitif prior to feasting on some rich marbled wagyu.
Check out the Insta-friendly cocktails on Instagram
While you might mistake the sophisticated exterior for a jewelry shop or a luxury handbag boutique, this is a shop that specializes in chiffon cakes. Their website describes in great detail their refined process and customized oven that produces the silkiest fluffiest chiffon cakes, but it is best that you try them for yourself.
Where: 2-9-19 Uematsu Dai-Ichi Bld.101, Kitazawa
When: 7:00–15:00 | Closed Tue
Yuen Bettei Daita
It is certainly unusual to find such a beautiful ryokan in Tokyo, especially this close to a train station. Yuen Bettei Daita is located less than a minute away from Setagaya Daita station on the plot of land that used to be occupied by the train tracks. The former railroad is now a beautiful and clean waking path filled with lush plants that weaves around the traditionally styled modern ryokan. While it is brand new, it looks like it might have been relocated from a resort town like Karuizawa or Hakone, which is fitting, because the soothing alkaline water used here is supplied from Lake Ashi and other springs in Hakone.
You can stay the night in a variety of beautiful rooms, some with private baths, or you can come for one of their day trip plans which include access to the onsen and a meal. Whichever option you choose, it is sure to be a great way to spend some relaxing days off without having to venture outside of Tokyo.
Where: 2-31-36, Daita, Setagaya-ku
Tollywood is a small theatre in Shimokitazawa that focuses on screening shortfilms. It is famous for having screened the first film by Makoto Shinkai, the director of Your Name and Weathering With You. The theatre will rescreen Cocolors from December 19 to 28 after its popular run earlier this autumn. This is a Japanese animation film from animation studio Kamikaze Douga with a unique animation style that sets it apart from other Japanese animation.
Tollywood will also be screening two European animation films, Marona’s Fantastic Tale and Long Way North from January 3 as well as the Canadian film Ville Neuve from January 16.
Shimokitazawa Shangri La
Shangri La will open on December 19 at the former location of Shimokitazawa’s largest live house, Shimokitazawa Garden. The operators of Shangri-la also operate a live house in Osaka called Umeda-Shangri La.
Gallery Hana launches an exhibition featuring Alexandre Imai in collaboration with Tatsunoko Productions titled Solo Exhibition “Cannonball 4” and Hakusyhon Daimao 2020. His simple and colorful art will be on display from Dec 17 to 20.
Small Shops, Small Lights Vol.11
At this event on December 19 and 20 over twenty shops in Shimokitazawa will celebrate Christmas by lighting candles in front of their shops. These participating shops will also have something special and festive to offer, so please step inside and check them out. The event is scaled back from previous years due to the pandemic, but it is still a great opportunity to find new places to visit in Shimokita.
Mish Mash Holiday Food Market
The Mish Mash Holiday Food Market is held in two locations simultaneously. Luckily, they are within walking distance from each other, and you are sure to find something interesting on your journey from one place to the next. One location is just outside the East exit on the vacant lot of the Senrogai (former Odakyu Line tracks). The other is at the newly opened Bonus Track, a collection of wonderful shops near Setagaya Daita Station. With lots of outdoor seating and places to relax, Bonus Track is worth visiting any time. The Mish Mash Holiday Food Market will be held on the weekends of January 9–10 and February 6–7.
The event is full of things to do, buy, and eat. With shops selling specialty foods like coffee, hot sauce, international spices, peanut butter, and cheese, and activities like holiday wreath making, and a community lunch, it is an event you shouldn’t miss!
Shimokitazawa Market Caravan
The market caravan is similar to the holiday food market, but it happens (almost) every weekend. It is a small collection of food trucks and other mobile vendors on the vacant lot of the senrogai outside of the station. There are often new and different vendors here, so be sure to check it out and see what you can find.
Xmas Present by Time Trip Shimokitazawa
This is another event with lots of variety being held in the same location as the previous two events. It will be held on December 20 and will feature live Christmas music from several Japanese artists from a range of genres. There will also be a music workshop for children, and a market selling goods.