by Kelly Wetherille

Situated in the area between Daimon, Shiba Koen, Onarimon, and Akabanebashi stations, the neighborhood of Shiba Koen is an eclectic mix of offices, residential areas, and leisure space. Home to the municipal office of Minato-ku, the area is just a few blocks from the business district of Hamamatsucho, but has so much more than that to offer. The large park from which the neighborhood takes its name, as well as public sports fields, tennis courts and a swimming pool, make this a great destination for those looking for some outdoor action during the summer months. And wherever you go, you’re never too far from a fantastic view of Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Shiba Tofu-ya Ukai

4-4-13 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-3436-1028

Sendagaya is already surprisingly calm given that it neighbors two of Tokyo’s biggest and busiest areas. However, for those looking for a place with absolute Zen and quiet sans the tourists (like the throngs at Meiji shrine), Hato no Mori Hachiman shrine fits the bill. The shrine is home to pine trees over three centuries old, and seems to exist in a world of its own, away from the sometimes choking metropolis. On weekdays you might spot a few businessmen hoping for a serene getaway during lunch breaks, and weekends see a handful of local visitors and revelers.

Shiba Park and Zojoji Temple

4-10-17 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-3431-4359

First opened in 1873, this is one of Japan’s oldest parks, and is one of central Tokyo’s most peaceful. Much of what used to be the park is now technically included in the grounds of Zojoji temple, but there are still plenty of shaded walkways and quiet benches that are perfect for a solitary afternoon or a picnic lunch with colleagues. Located just next to Tokyo Tower is a small section of the park that is home to tall maple trees and a trickling waterfall that are so soothing they’ll make visitors nearly forget that they’re in the center of one of the world’s largest cities.

Garb Pintino

3-5-4 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-5472-1057

Diners who sit in the glassed off terrace area of this café are treated to a view of Tokyo Tower literally looming above them. Located just across the street from the main entrance of the tower, the restaurant is a big step up from the fast food outlets that lure tourists from within the tower’s base. The menu consists of European fare made with fresh, quality ingredients, and the staff are friendly (plus, some even speak English). Lunch starts at only ¥900 for a salad with roast chicken, soup and bread, and main dinner dishes are available from about ¥1,500.


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