While Shibuya is often seen as one of Tokyo’s liveliest districts, for those in search of something a little quieter, the surrounding neighborhoods are often packed with a similar level of character, only within a far more laid-back atmosphere.

One such location is Ikejiri-Ohashi, an area where you’ll find elements of contemporary Tokyo alongside fragments of an old-town Japan, making it a great place to eat, relax and sightsee.

Well-Known Waterways

Ikejiri-Ohashi is the starting point for the Meguro River, famed for its natural scenes, particularly during spring when the overhanging cherry blossoms create a thick canopy of pink above the water.

Small cafés dot the length of the river as it winds its way to Meguro and beyond, and shaded seating areas offer relaxing spots to soak up the serenity either on a lunch break or a Sunday stroll. The area offers the perfect disconnect from the nearby expressways and the hustle and bustle of Shibuya.

It’s also here that you’ll find the elevated green spaces Meguro Sky Garden and O-Path, set within an enormous arena-like setting of white stone.

Sky-High Horticulture

With a rising pathway that takes visitors to a 35-meter-high peak, and topped with a plantation of more than 1,000 trees, the Meguro Sky Garden is nothing short of incredible. With numerous spots to relax among nature and offering views of Mount Fuji on a clear day, it’s easy to miss the fact that the garden’s construction serves primarily as a cover for the intersection of two metropolitan expressways that run beneath it.

The garden also contains a recreational area known as O-Path. Consisting of a large synthetic turf field, seating area and some play equipment for young children, it serves as the perfect spot to let the kids run around or kick a ball about. Both the Meguro Sky Garden and O-Path are free to enter and open year-round, except in the event of extreme weather.

A Range of Restaurants

The beauty of Ikejiri-Ohashi’s culinary offerings is not only in the quality, but also in the variety. While you can quite easily find trendy options, such as a well-crafted American-style burger at 393 Burger, coffee and craft gin at the pet friendly Sicx, or delicious baked goods at the famed Tolo Pan, there are still a number of older izakaya and restaurants that have remained unchanged over the years. One such spot is Grill Miyoshiya, a small home-style eatery with limited seating where you can enjoy a hearty tonkatsu set meal surrounded by Showa-era decor.

Along the Garden Path

Winding its way through Ikejiri-Ohashi and much of Setagaya is the ever-serene Meguro River Green Belt. A pathway frequented by those looking for a scenic route through the neighborhood, this walkway is flanked by thick channels of greenery and waterscapes, which slowly change in appearance as the numerous varieties of flowers come and go with the seasons.

Offering a number of rest stops perfect for a quick snack or some reading among nature, a keen eye might spot some of the koi that inhabit the waterways, creating anime-esque scenes that one might struggle to believe can exist in the heart of a city like Tokyo.

A Recreational Retreat

A short walk from Itkejiri-Ohashi Station, Setagaya Park is a sprawling landscape of both nature and recreational options. Centered around a large fountain area popular for picnics or those simply looking to soak up some sun on nicer days, Setagaya Park is also home to a public pool, skate park, tennis courts and even an archery range. During the season, a full-size baseball field also hosts local games that are free to watch.

Numerous playgrounds and open spaces create plenty of options to keep children entertained as well, while on weekends it is not uncommon to see food and drink stalls pop up around the central fountain area.

A Quick Escape

Located only a single stop from Shibuya on the Den-en-toshi Line, or approximately 20 minutes’ walk for those keen on a stroll, Ikejiri-Ohashi is the perfect place to find a slice of calm in the middle of Tokyo. Whether you’re in search of a bite to eat, an afternoon’s recreation or simply a moment to relax, this quaint neighborhood has something for everyone.


Photos by Ben Cooke