15 of the Best Things to Do in Kiyosumi Shirakawa


2019.06.30

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Kiyosumi Shirakawa is a historic downtown area that’s become one of the most popular neighborhoods for coffee in Tokyo.

Its relaxed streets are home to hip cafes and roasting warehouses where tradition and contemporary culture exist harmoniously side-by-side.

Highlights in the neighborhood include the serene Kiyosumi Garden and the newly reopened Museum of Contemporary Art, both of which shouldn’t be missed, as well as a delicious curry bread shop that you have to try.

In this article, we’ll introduce some of the go-to destinations in Kiyosumi Shirakawa, whether you want great food, culture or coffee!

  • 01

    Get your morning caffeine fix at Blue Bottle Coffee

    Kiyosumi Shirakawa has established a reputation as one of the most popular neighborhoods for coffee in Tokyo, with large warehouses that provide the ideal location for roasters to set up shop.

    One not to miss is Blue Bottle, a California-based coffee retailer that’s become one of the hippest coffee joints for locals and visitors alike to get their morning brew.

    In addition to Western-style espresso, they also serve Japanese siphon coffee, with a light-filled space that also serves as their roasting headquarters.

    Blue Bottle Coffee perfectly combines the industrial feel of this dynamic neighborhood with Japanese kissaten culture.

    Read more
    A Day of Coffee Tasting in Kiyosumi Shirakawa
    Eastern Tokyo’s Kiyosumi Shirakawa is one of the unlikeliest places to find some of the best coffee in the city.…

    Blue Bottle Coffee Kiyosumi-shirakawa Roasterie & Cafe
    place
    Tokyo Koutou-ku Hirano 1-4-8
    opening-hour
    8:00-19:00
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  • 02

    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
    rating

    4.5

    396 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Koutou-ku Kiyosumi 2 and 3-chome
    phone
    0336415892
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00 (Admission ends a…
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  • 03

    Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

    Situated in Kiba Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo has only recently reopened after renovations in early 2019.

    It’s dedicated to art created from 1945 to the present day, with names such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka represented in the permanent collection.

    Paintings, sculptures, fashion, design and architectural works are all featured, with rotating themed exhibits held throughout the year.

    Aside from the gallery spaces, there’s also a gift shop where you can purchase exhibited-related items and an extensive Art Library with more than 270,000 volumes.

    Opening hours 10:00-18:00 (closed Mondays)

    Official Website : Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

    Tokyo Contemporary Art Museum
    rating

    4.0

    18 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Koto-ku Miyoshi 4-1-1 Kiba Park Uchi
    phone
    0352454111
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  • 04

    Do your laundry at a cafe!

    Need to do your laundry? The World Neighbors Cafe Kiyosumi Shirakawa combines a cute-as-can-be cafe with a state-of-the-art coin laundry to make doing your washing a more pleasurable experience.

    Begin at the Sooo Liquid laundry where you can wash your clothes in their Electrolux washers, which can handle loads up to nine kilograms.

    There’s also a range of high-quality laundry goods from the “THE” brand for sale, as well as original laundry bags for carrying your clean clothes.

    Adjacent is the charming cafe space where you can order hot sandwiches, refreshing drinks and sweets, with all of the menu items available as take-aways.

    WORLD NEIGHBORS CAFE 清澄白河
    place
    東京都江東区平野4-13-1
    phone
    03-6458-8853
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    no image
  • 05

    Discover the Edo period at the Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Take a step back in time to experience the Edo period at this fascinating museum, which authentically recreates the homes and streets of Tokyo during the 17th and mid 19th centuries.

    Learn about the materials and construction techniques that were used to build the residences, accompanied by sound and lighting effects that replicate different seasons and times of the day.

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    The Fukagawa Edo Museum also hosts various activities related to the Shitamachi culture and there are volunteer guides (some English speaking) who can walk you through the museum to explain the lifestyles of people during the era.

    Opening hours: 09:30-17:00 (closed on the second and fourth Monday of each month)

    Admission: 400 yen (adults) and 50 yen (children)

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Photo by Fukagawa Edo Museum

    Fukagawa Edo Museum
    rating

    4.5

    306 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Koto-ku Shirakawa 1-3-28
    phone
    0336308625
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  • 06

    Artichoke Chocolate

    Artichoke Chocolate is a charming artisanal chocolatier that thankfully involves the eponymous plant in name only! Instead, ingredients of the shop’s delectable chocolates, all handmade on the premises, include cacao beans sourced from a diversity of locations across the globe, with each judiciously selected on the basis of the year’s weather conditions and resulting harvest.

    Each variety can be sampled in the form of a small tablet (400 yen upwards) before indulging in a whole bar, and cacao-based espressos and lattes can be enjoyed on the premises.

    Artichoke chocolate
    rating

    4.0

    8 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Koutou-ku Miyoshi 4-9-6
    phone
    0364585678
    opening-hour
    11:00-19:00
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  • 07

    Babaghuri

    This beautiful shop, covered in creeping ivy outside and all stripped-back but warm minimalism within, was opened by the late Jurgen Lehl, a fabric-fixated German designer who has a cult following in Japan.

    Lehl’s creations, which encompass women’s and men’s clothing as well as hand-crafted furniture and interiors, blend traditional Japanese and ethnic influences while retaining a clean and simple line.

    Babaghuri Main Shop
    place
    Tokyo Koutou-ku Kiyosumi 3-1-7
    phone
    0338208825
    opening-hour
    11:00-19:00
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  • 08

    Edomiyageya Takahashi

    With a name that translates as ‘Takahashi’s souvenir shop of Edo’, visiting this great little shop is like taking a step way back in time.

    Not only the store is old school: the affable shopkeeper himself constantly wears a mock ‘chonmage’ Edo-era hairstyle, and has done for over 20 years now!

    Edomiyageya’s shelves are jam-packed with traditional snacks, toys and novelties that continue to delight in the 21st century: grab a handful.

    Edo Souvenir Ya Takahashi
    place
    Tokyo Koto-ku Miyoshi 1-8-6
    phone
    0336416305
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  • 09

    gift_lab Garage Lounge and Exhibit

    This addition to the Kiyosumi Shirakawa scene is the brainchild of Gift Lab, a hip local company involved in everything from interior and product design to art direction and exhibition coordination.

    A former garage, built back in the 1930s, has been stylishly renovated to form a combined cafe, gallery, and bookshop. Lunches on offer in the lounge-style cafe include homemade keema curry and quiches, while the store section presents a superb selection of art and architecture-related publications.

    gift _ lab GARAGE
    place
    Tokyo Koto Shirakawa 1-3-13 Kiyosu Dorm 102
    phone
    0336301201
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  • 10

    Potpurri

    Potpurri, oozes the warm patina of the hand-crafted and is the quintessential Tokyo zakka (miscellaneous goods) lifestyle shop.

    As suggested by the name, Potpurri offers an eclectic selection of well-designed accessories and interior goods, sourced from makers both in Japa and across the globe. Scandinavian style in particular makes a strong showing.

    POTPURRI
    rating

    3.5

    3 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Koto-ku Shirakawa 2-1-2
    phone
    0366599401
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  • 11

    Tamakiya Gofuku Kimono Shop

    This downtown-style kimono specialist may look resolutely traditional, and indeed old-school designs are here in abundance, but Tamakiya Gofuku also has a few innovative surprises up its flowing sleeve.

    Original kimono made of the finest Japanese denim are sold here, with the time-honored design given jeans-style pockets, while kimono in more traditional fabrics are available for cats and dogs! Also offered are handmade jewelry, tote bags, tabi socks, and sandals.

    tamakiya Fukagawa Kiyosumi Shirakawa Honten
    rating

    4.0

    6 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Koutou-ku Miyoshi 2-13-3
    phone
    0336415298
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  • 12

    Teapond

    Specialist shop Teapond, with the appearance of a traditional European tea emporium, feels like it may have been in the area for decades yet is actually a fairly recent arrival.

    Dozens of high-grade teas from across the world are each filed neatly in their own little partition on expansive wooden shelves, to be either taken home or enjoyed on the premises.

    TEAPOND
    rating

    4.5

    12 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Koto-ku Shirakawa 1-1-11
    phone
    0336423337
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  • 13

    Satisfy your Anglophile tastes at Portman’s Cafe

    Situated just a stone’s throw from the Kiyosumi Garden, Portman’s Cafe is an English-style cafe that’s furnished with vintage sofas and Union Jack flags.

    The cosy environment is the perfect setting for feasting on their hearty curries and pasta dishes, not to mention freshly baked scones and richly flavored cheesecake.

    Portman’s also does a good coffee if you’re just in need of an afternoon pick-me-up while exploring Kiyosumi Shirakawa.

    There are plenty of eclectic details and unique trinkets that will engage your eye at every turn.

    PORTMANS CAFE
    place
    Tokyo Koto-ku Kiyosumi 2-9-14 Dia Palace Kiyosumi Park 1F
    phone
    0336411050
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  • 14

    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 Pastry shop Morishita
    place
    Tokyo Koto-ku Morishita 1-6-14
    phone
    0336351464
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  • 15

    Cruise around efficiently on a rental cycle

    If you want to cover as much of Kiyosumi Shirakawa as possible in a short amount of time, then a rental bike will do the trick.

    The streets are much quieter than many of Tokyo’s neighborhoods, so you don’t have to worry about hectic traffic!

    One of the best places to head is Alohaloco, a boutique bicycle maker that also rents out their stylish bikes during daylight hours.

    Opt for their classic beach cruiser, the Kailua, or go for something more utilitarian with the Haleiwa.

    Full day rentals cost 500 yen (tax included), with the shop open from 10:00-18:00 daily.

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