by Kelly Wetherille

Nestled between Kojimachi and Hanzomon metro stations on the Yurakucho and Hanzomon lines respectively is the area of Kojimachi. Just a stone’s throw from the grounds of the Imperial Palace, the neighborhood is yet another of Tokyo’s ubiquitous business districts, meaning it’s not exactly the first place that comes to mind when thinking of shopping or dining out. But scrape below the surface of salaryman-friendly ramen shops and chain restaurants and there are a few diamonds in the rough just waiting to be discovered.

Kojimachi Cafe

Kojimachi CafeKojimachi Cafe

This rustic and friendly café is conveniently located just across the street from exit one of Hanzomon station. The interior, with its exposed concrete floors and mismatched wooden furniture, is warm and inviting, as is the food. Whole grains, fresh seasonal vegetables, and a variety of meats and seafoods are used in creative yet homegrown sandwiches, salads, pastas and other dishes. The dessert menu and fresh juices change daily, and vegetarian options are also available. Lunch starts at ¥900, and the impressive alcohol selection makes this a popular hangout even after work.

1-5-4 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-3237-3434

Horitsu Tea Ceremony Goods

Horitsu Tea Ceremony Goods

Just a block away from Kojimachi Cafe on the main road is a quaint little shop specializing in Japanese tea cups, pots, bowls, kettles and strainers. While ¥48,000 for a tiny ceramic tea cup may seem ridiculously exorbitant, these are one-of-a-kind, handmade items painstakingly crafted by traditional artisans. Less expensive pieces are also available, and there is a wide variety of colors, shapes and patterns to choose from. Since each cup and bowl has its own story to tell, these make excellent souvenirs for those looking for something a cut above the usual junk found at Narita airport.

1-3-9 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-3262-1381

Pizzeria & Osteria Lumino

Pizzeria & Osteria Lumino

A wood-burning brick oven specially imported from Italy is the pride and joy of this small eatery located in the back streets of Kojimachi. The pizzas cooked in this oven are as good as just about any others you’ll find in Tokyo, and start at ¥1,380 for a margherita made with fresh mozzarella and basil. In addition to the pizzas, there is also a full menu of starters, salads, mains and desserts to choose from. The appetizer combination platter (¥1,280), which includes five of the day’s starters, is particularly appetizing, and a great way to kick off any meal.

3-7-9 Kojimachi , Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-6268-9111