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20 of the Best Things to Do in Shimokitazawa

Trade in the crowded crosswalks of Shinjuku and colorful teenagers of Harajuku for the new life of the hip twenty somethings in Shimokitazawa. Just a few minutes from Shibuya, Shimokitazawa is a packed mini town that has avoided the mass conglomerate of international corporations with small and independently owned stores. It’s home to vintage shops, stylish cafes, small theaters, and unique snacks, as well as much more you can see and Brooklyn esque atmosphere, Shimokitazawa puts a new spin on the Japanese hipster.
Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your visit to Shimokitazawa!

20 of the Best Things to Do in Shimokitazawa

Index

  • A perfect breakfast to start a wonderful day

  • Walk around the shutter gallery

  • Taste curry at Shimokitazawa’s curry hot spots

  • Explore the vintage shops

  • Try different types of snacks on the street

  • Enjoy cafe hopping

  • Visit shrines and temples

  • Buy souvenirs at Village Vanguard

  • Have lunch at an officially recognized Ghibli café

  • Go shopping at select antique shops

  • Watch movies at the only movie theater in town

  • Watch a play in this town of theaters

  • The Suzunari and Suzunari Yokocho

  • Check out the retro stores

  • Indulge in some art

  • Be amazed by Japanese cuisine and sake at an Izakaya

  • Enjoy drinks accompanied by live music

  • Experience a deep retro cinema bar

  • Check out the events at Shimokitazawa Cage

  • Go treasure hunting at the record shops

  • 20 of the Best Things to Do in Shimokitazawa

    20 of the Best Things to Do in Shimokitazawa

  • A perfect breakfast to start a wonderful day

    A perfect breakfast to start a wonderful day

    A perfect breakfast to start a wonderful day

    Woken up early? Why not visit the mixture bakery & cafe! It opens at 7:30 am and offers all different kinds of affordable breakfast sets. Imagine the smell of fresh bread and nicely roasted coffee. This is the best place to try Japanese bread if you haven't yet. Their selection of various breads, from authentic European bread to Japanese buns with red beans inside are waiting for you!

    A perfect breakfast to start a wonderful day

    A perfect breakfast to start a wonderful day

    mixture
    Address
    東京都世田谷区北沢3-31-5
    Phone
    03-5453-7677
  • Walk around the shutter gallery

    Walk around the shutter gallery

    Walk around the shutter gallery

    The storefront shutters in this part of Shimokitazawa are decorated by mural artists. After years of being covered by graffiti, the Shimokitazawa Ichiban-gai community came up with the idea of asking artists to draw beautiful pictures on the shutters. No one has sprayed paint on them since.

    Walk around the shutter gallery

    Walk around the shutter gallery

    下北沢一番街商店街
    Address
    東京都世田谷区
    Phone
  • Taste curry at Shimokitazawa’s curry hot spots

    Taste curry at Shimokitazawa’s curry hot spots

    Taste curry at Shimokitazawa’s curry hot spots

    There is no doubt about Shimokitazawa being the center of subculture. However, it is also known as “The Town of Curry”. In Shimokitazawa, you are surrounded by curry shops. Our recommendation is the Mahal cutlet curry for 1,520 yen from PANNYA CAFE CURRY. PANNYA is pretty famous among curry maniacs. Their curry is quite spicy but you can also feel the sweetness of onions at the same time. Make sure you experience this magic on you trip.

    Read more
    The Best 10 curry shops in Shimokitazawa
    If you’re looking for great curry, then you’ve come to the right place.…

    Mahal cutlet curry

    Mahal cutlet curry

    PANNYA CAFE CURRY

    PANNYA CAFE CURRY

    Pannyatoukyoushimokitazawaten
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-33-6 Suzuki Building 1F
    Phone
    0334854548
  • Explore the vintage shops

    Explore the vintage shops

    Explore the vintage shops

    For those who still don't know what Shimokitazawa's subculture is about, here is a good example: used clothes and vintage fashion. It’s home to plenty of cheap used clothing shops where you can get casual dresses, as well as shops with high-end vintage dresses. Look around and see if you can find a shop to fall in love with. It won't be too hard!

    Read more
    Shimokitazawa: The Heart of Tokyo's Second Hand and Vintage Scene
    Fashion is serious business in fashion conscious Tokyo, and combined with a “waste not, want not attitude,” thrifting makes perfect sense.…

    Explore the vintage shops

    Explore the vintage shops

  • Try different types of snacks on the street

    Try different types of snacks on the street

    Try different types of snacks on the street

    Extra fluffy cakes, tremendous types of bubble tea, and rice balls rolled up with meat instead of seaweed - Shimokitazawa is a remarkable place for casual snacks. People just come and go to check out the eye-catching deliciousness. Some of the snacks in Shimokitazawa could be a good conversation topic. Some of them are also great for souvenirs. Others are pretty Instagrammble too! If you are tired of eating at restaurants, why not try small bites of a variety of different snacks!

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    11 Tokyo snacks you should try in Shimokitazawa
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    Try different types of snacks on the street

    Try different types of snacks on the street

  • Enjoy cafe hopping

    Enjoy cafe hopping

    Enjoy cafe hopping

    A unique cafe culture is another thing that makes Shimokitazawa popular. How would you pass the time in a cafe? Work? Talk with friends? Or just drink coffee and relax? There are all different types of cafes in Shimokitazawa and you can use them according to your needs. Spend time surrounded by the stylish atmosphere, taste good coffee!

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    The Best 15 cafes in Shimokitazawa
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    Enjoy cafe hopping

    Enjoy cafe hopping

  • Visit shrines and temples

    Visit shrines and temples

    Visit shrines and temples

    Shimokitazawa has a lot of subculture places but there are also beautiful and traditional buildings. Temples are just one of them. Shinganji Temple, which was selected as one of the “100 Famous Views of Setagaya” in 1984 is a great place to visit and around 400 years old. Once you enter through the temple gate, you’ll be welcomed by glorious gingko trees.

    Shinganji Temple

    Shinganji Temple

    If you want to visit a Shinto shrine, Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine is the place to head. Established about 500 years ago, it’s been keeping Shimokitazawa peaceful ever since. These two powerful spots are only three minutes’ walk away from each other.

    Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine

    Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine

    Shinganji
    rating 8 Reviews
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Daizawa 3-27-1
    Phone
    0334211730
    Shukyohojinkitazawayahata Shrine
    rating 16 Reviews
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Daizawa 3-25-3
    Phone
    0334221370
  • Buy souvenirs at Village Vanguard

    Buy souvenirs at Village Vanguard

    Buy souvenirs at Village Vanguard

    Village Vanguard is known as ‘the book store where you can have fun’ The inside of the store is like a maze. Floppy disk-shaped note pads, Beatles figurines, eye-shaped stuffed dolls - interesting things are everywhere. They have comic books from the 80s too! It’s a great place to find something unique to take home but just looking at all the unusual products is fun too. Visit and experience this random universe.

    Buy souvenirs at Village Vanguard

    Buy souvenirs at Village Vanguard

    Village Vanguard
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-10-15 Marche Shimokitazawa
    Phone
    0334606145
  • Have lunch at an officially recognized Ghibli café

    TOLO COFFEE & BAKERY

    TOLO COFFEE & BAKERY

    Are you a Ghibli fan? At this officially recognized cafe, TOLO COFFEE & BAKERY, you can eat Totoro-shaped cream puffs for 465 yen (420 yen / take out). Step inside the café and you’ll feel the warm Ghibli atmosphere, just like when you watch their movies. They offer meals too. Our recommendation is the root vegetable pasta with cream cheese bolognese sauce, which costs from 1000 yen with a drink (the price changes depending on which drink you order).

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    TOLO COFFEE & BAKERY

    TOLO COFFEE & BAKERY

    TOLO COFFEE & BAKERY
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya Daita 5-3-1
    Phone
    0357876732
  • Go shopping at select antique shops

    ANTIQUE LIFE ☆ JiN

    ANTIQUE LIFE ☆ JiN

    ANTIQUE LIFE ☆ JiN has been open since 1982 and they now have two shops in Shimokitazawa. One is focused on their Japanese small items and the second one has furniture from the early Showa era (dating from 1926). If you’re looking for antique accessories, Pêche (a French vintage goods shop) is perfect. You can find an attractive selection of cute little things all over the shop, with the owner bringing some items direct from Europe.

    ANTIQUE LIFE ☆ JiNⅡ

    ANTIQUE LIFE ☆ JiNⅡ

    pêche

    pêche

    antique Life gin
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-30-8
    Phone
    0334673066
    Pesh
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-27-2
    Phone
    0354533634
  • Watch movies at the only movie theater in town

    Shimokitazawa Tollywood

    Shimokitazawa Tollywood

    Shimokitazawa Tollywood is where you can watch rare films by up-and-coming directors. They show Japanese and international films that include anime and often host a talk show with directors and actors of the movies. They also host sneak peek previews. Watch a movie there and be a pioneer of a new trend!

    Tollywood
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Daizawa 5-32-5
    Phone
    0334140433
  • Watch a play in this town of theaters

    Honda Gekijo

    Honda Gekijo

    We can’t forget to mention about the theater culture of Shimokitazawa. There are plenty of small theaters in this town. Among them, Honda Gekijo is considered the most famous and is known as the center of small theater in Tokyo. Whether it’s famous plays or underground titles, they have been showing tremendous shows since they opened in 1982.

    Honda Gekijo

    Honda Gekijo

    Honda Gekijo theater
    rating 2 Reviews
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-10-15
    Phone
    0334680030
  • The Suzunari and Suzunari Yokocho

    The Suzunari and Suzunari Yokocho

    The Suzunari and Suzunari Yokocho

    The Suzunari is a small theater built by Kazuo Honda who is also the founder of Honda Gekijo. At Suzunari Yokocho, small retro-style bars make up the first floor of the theater. It is definitely shaping Shimokitazawa culture. You should grab a drink there before leaving this town!

    Read more
    Shimokitazawa Nightlife
    Only a few minutes from Shibuya, Shimokitazawa is up and coming in the quaint nightlife scene.…

    Suzunari Yokocho

    Suzunari Yokocho

    za Suzunari
    rating 1 Reviews
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 1-45-15
    Phone
    0334690511
    鈴なり横丁
    Address
    東京都世田谷区北沢1丁目
    Phone
  • Check out the retro stores

    Check out the retro stores

    Check out the retro stores

    Vintage stores are housed in regular storefronts, outdoor stalls or even refurbished, graffitied garages. The stores range widely in pricing and can be very cheap or very expensive, depending on the type of store and quality of clothing. Some vintage stores also specialize in antiques or memorabilia from years past. Film cameras and records are popular commodities as well as retro voting pins and costume jewelry. There are so many shops to peruse from that finding a deal turns into a fun adventure.

    Check out the retro stores

    Check out the retro stores

  • Indulge in some art

    Indulge in some art

    Indulge in some art

    Gallery Hana is the place for contemporary artwork by up and coming artists. Housed on a street corner, the gallery is a small gem off the beaten vintage store path. Exhibitions are short, normally a week long, and frequent. Each artist brings something new to the gallery in every genre of art, from classic drawings to pop art cartoons to cat toy making workshops. Stop by to see the newest artists before they enter the museums. For artists themselves, the studio is also a rental space offering availability to artists with a special student discount.

    Gallery Hana

    Gallery Hana

    Gallery HANA Shimo-Kitazawa
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya Kitazawa 3Chome26-2 ~ 1F
    Phone
    0363805687
  • Be amazed by Japanese cuisine and sake at an Izakaya

    Be amazed by Japanese cuisine and sake at an Izakaya

    Be amazed by Japanese cuisine and sake at an Izakaya

    Have you tried a Japanese Izakaya yet? Even if you have, you should go to Shirube to experience their open-style kitchen bar! Shirube has seats surrounding the kitchen and the chefs cook right in front of you. The lively ambience and sense of unity are difficult to find in chain izakaya restaurants. Their freshly cooked dishes taste even more delicious when you eat them (literally) directly from the kitchen!

    汁べゑ 下北沢店
    Address
    東京都世田谷区北沢2-18-2 パインクレスト北沢1F
    Phone
    03-3413-3785
  • Enjoy drinks accompanied by live music

    Enjoy drinks accompanied by live music

    Enjoy drinks accompanied by live music

    The music bar RPM is one place where you can enjoy great music and drinks. They don’t have any limitations when it comes to musical genres and host live shows almost every night. Some shows are sessions that you can actually jump into! If you want to hear Jazz, APOLLO is the best place for you. Taste their “made in Tokyo” beat in a cozy atmosphere.

    music bar rpm

    music bar rpm

    APOLLO

    APOLLO

    music bar rpm
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya
    Phone
    0354540179
    Shimo-Kitazawa APOLLO
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya Kitazawa 2-9-22 EIKO
    Phone
  • Experience a deep retro cinema bar

    Kinema Club

    Kinema Club

    Have a night you won’t forget at the Kinema Club. It’s a bar where you can enjoy food and drinks accompanied by an old cinematic atmosphere! Movie posters, flyers, and booklets cover the walls and ceilings, and you’ll feel the fabulous retro vibe the moment you step into the building.

    Kinema Club

    Kinema Club

  • Check out the events at Shimokitazawa Cage

    Shimokitazawa Cage

    Shimokitazawa Cage

    Shimokitazawa Cage is a temporary event space that’s open only until 2019.
    People can come in and rest inside, just like they do in a park during the daytime. At nighttime, it hosts a market, a theater, and different types of events. There is also a casual Asian izakaya inside. It’s a good place to talk with Shimokita-based creators.

    Shimokitazawa Cage

    Shimokitazawa Cage

    Shita Kitazawa cage
    rating 2 Reviews
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-6-2 Inokashira underpass
    Phone
    0364070707
  • Go treasure hunting at the record shops

    Go treasure hunting at the record shops

    Go treasure hunting at the record shops

    Unlike the huge record shops in Shibuya or Shinjuku, the ones in Shimokitazawa never rely on short-term trends. Most of the shops have been here for a long time. From well-recognized DJs to music nerds, the disc shops in this area are loved by a diverse range of musical people. You can spend forever in these shops!

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    The Record Lover’s Guide to Shimokitazawa
    Shimokitazawa, once a sleepy West Tokyo neighborhood, was transformed in the 1970s and 1980s into cultural hotbed similar to the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, Shoreditch in London, or Kreuzberg in Berlin.…

    Go treasure hunting at the record shops

    Go treasure hunting at the record shops

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