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What to do in Kiyosumi Shirakawa

Kiyosumi Shirakawa is a historic downtown area that these days sees tradition and hip contemporary culture exist harmoniously side-by-side. Twin centerpieces of this neighborhood, both must-sees, are the tranquil Kiyosumi Garden, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo which finally reopens in 2019. On the slow-paced surrounding streets you’ll discover cool cafes and the birthplace of a hugely popular Japanese snack.

Index

  • Relax in tranquil Kiyosumi Garden (Kiyosumi Teien)

  • Try the Original Karepan (Japanese Curry Bread) at Bakery Cattlea

  • Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

  • Cruise round on an Alohaloco bicycle

  • Dip into Kiyosumi Shirakawa Cafe Culture

  • Relax in tranquil Kiyosumi Garden (Kiyosumi Teien)

    Relax in tranquil Kiyosumi Garden (Kiyosumi Teien)

    Relax in tranquil Kiyosumi Garden (Kiyosumi Teien)

    Just a couple of minutes walk from Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station lies this traditional Japanese landscape garden, originally the sole pleasure of an Edo-era feudal lord and his lucky guests, before being donated to the city of Tokyo in 1932 then opened to the masses. Highlights include a vast central lake, featuring giant stones placed to form a ‘bridge’ across the placid water. This is a great spot to pause and take in the spectacle of the garden reflected on the lake’s surface, with swimming fish and turtles visible beneath. Also of note is Ryotei, which is built in the style of a traditional teahouse and appears to ‘float’ above the lake.

    Kiyosumi Gardens
    Address
    Tokyo Koutou-ku Kiyosumi 2 and 3-chome
    Phone
    0336415892
  • Try the Original Karepan (Japanese Curry Bread) at Bakery Cattlea

    Try the Original Karepan (Japanese Curry Bread) at Bakery Cattlea

    Try the Original Karepan (Japanese Curry Bread) at Bakery Cattlea

    Karepan (‘curry bread’) is an everyday Japanese snack ubiquitous in convenience stores. This modest-looking local bakery has a role in Japanese culinary history, as the very place where in 1927 an imaginative baker came up with the idea of deep-fried bread with a curry filling, originating karepan as it is still eaten today. It goes without saying that Bakery Cattlea’s karepan is far superior to anything you’ll find in a combini: get to the sauce of this staple snack while in Kiyosumi Shirakawa.

    Cattleya
    rating 28 Reviews
    Address
    Tokyo Koto-ku Morishita 1-6-10
    Phone
    0336351464
  • Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

    Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

    Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

    The MOT, located within Kiba Park and one of the city’s major art museums, has been sorely missed while closed for renovations over the past three years. Boasting one of Japan’s most comprehensive collections of postwar art, including works by Andy Warhol and David Hockney, the museum building itself is an architectural marvel in stone, wood, and steel. Happily for art lovers, MOT will reopen at the end of March 2019.

    Tokyo Contemporary Art Museum
    Address
    Tokyo Koto Miyoshi 4-1-1 Kiba Park Uchi
    Phone
    0352454111
  • Cruise round on an Alohaloco bicycle

    Cruise round on an Alohaloco bicycle

    Cruise round on an Alohaloco bicycle

    Kiyosumi Shirakawa, with streets far more peaceful than many Tokyo ’hoods, is a great area to leisurely explore by bike. Pop a baguette from one of the area’s hipster bakeries in your front basket, and you’ll be halfway to retro European chic in the heart of a Japanese metropolis. Short-term visitors will probably want to grab a rental cycle for a day or two, and one of the best places to do so around here is Alohaloco. This boutique bicycle maker rents out its two exceptionally stylish models, which are also available to buy. The Kailua is a classic curvy-framed beach cruiser, with the addition of gears to make getting around easier, while the Haleiwa is a more utilitarian city bike with space for carrying luggage. Rental of either costs a very reasonable 500 yen per day.

    alohaloco
    Address
    1-4-10, Tokiwa, Koto-ku, Tokyo
    Phone
    0366595761
  • Dip into Kiyosumi Shirakawa Cafe Culture

    Dip into Kiyosumi Shirakawa Cafe Culture

    Dip into Kiyosumi Shirakawa Cafe Culture

    This neighborhood has more than its fair share of cool cafes: one could spend an entire afternoon just flitting from spot to spot. One of our favorites is Portman’s Cafe, just over the other side of Kiyosubashi-dori from Kiyosumi Garden. Nicely worn-in antique furniture and fittings make it a spot beloved of hip locals with Anglo- and Europhile tastes, while the food menu ranges from English-style scones flavored with chocolate or caramel, to curry and pasta dishes. Other cafes worth checking out include Ginger.Tokyo and the organic LS Cafe.

    Dip into Kiyosumi Shirakawa Cafe Culture

    Dip into Kiyosumi Shirakawa Cafe Culture

    PORTMANS CAFE
    Address
    Tokyo Koto
    Phone
    0336411050
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