A piece of Europe in Tokyo
Away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, the small area of Jiyugaoka, in south-western Tokyo, allows curious people from all walks of life to take a break. Take the opportunity to stroll through its charming streets, among cafes, cake shops, jewellery shops and galleries...
The Jiyugaoka district will satisfy the curious, for a surprising walk, away from the large avenues dotted with signs from Shinjuku or Shibuya neighborhoods. Jiyugaoka means "hill of freedom", and the neighborhood began to develop in the 20's. While much of it was demolished during the Second World War, everything was rebuilt into a modern pedestrian precinct, creating a cozy, relaxed atmosphere, well worth a Sunday afternoon visit.
The area is just a few stops from Shibuya Station, less than a 10-minute train ride away, making it easily accessible for a quick visit. It's a small residential area, pretty upscale, which has recently become very popular with Tokyo residents. Its small streets with unique charm offer a European atmosphere, quite a novelty for Japan! The streets are dotted with small cafes, tea rooms, and bakeries of all kinds, as well as many indepemdent fashion and interior design-related boutiques and galleries.
This little-known district is quite unique within the capital. Visitors can even discover some European architecture, particularly in the Parisian and Venetian styles, while enjoying the quietly Japanese atmosphere.
Jiyugaoka has a Venetian atmosphere!
A street in Jiyugaoka
Marie-Claire Promenade and Green Street are two pedestrian roads very pleasant to wander along. The first is lined with sakura, which makes it a very popular place during the hanami. But don't miss it in May, during the Marie-Claire Festival, when take-out food stalls set up shop.
For lovers of Italy, a small block called "La Vita" reproduces the famous streets of Venice, with Renaissance architecture, a canal and even a gondola. Why not complete the scene and enjoy a ristretto on the terrace!
The district is home to many fashion and design stores, especially by independent creators, making it a favorite destination for trendy Tokyo residents. Fans of interior decoration and antique furniture can visit ACME or Idée Shop, which offers a more contemporary selection.
It's also the perfect area for strolling through the zakka shops, where you can find a little bit of everything from stationery to dishes and fashion accessories. The two most famous names for this are Today's Special and Koe House.
Shops in Jiyugaoka
Shops in Jiyugaoka
Sweets Forest, Jiyugaoka
Cakes at Sweets Forest
After having tired out their feet shopping, gourmets will find their happiness in the streets of Jiyugaoka. "Sweets Forest" offers various delicate and kawaii pastries and sweets of all kinds, in a pretty pastel pink setting.
Feel free to enjoy the sun and relaxed atmosphere by taking a break on the terrace at one of the many cozy cafes in the area. Visitors looking for Japanese authenticity can sample matcha tea at Kosoan, a tea room set in a beautiful wooden building. You can enjoy the view of a beautiful garden from tatami mats.
- To read: Kawaii cakes and sweets
Those who are more interested in heritage and Japanese culture will also find places of interest in the neighborhood, including the small Iwatate Textile Museum, or the 800-year-old Kumano Shrine. Also nearby is Joshin (also called Kuhonbutsu) Temple, set in a park and home to beautiful Buddha statues. Happy exploring!