The Boho district Shimokitazawa was formerly a farming district before it became a residential area known for selling US-second hand items after World War II. Now, Shimokitazawa is an area well populated by artists and musicians and has maintained its fame as a house for stores offering retro and vintage finds. Every creative soul will definitely find a place to fuel their imagination while tourist will find all sorts of entertainment from small theaters to live music and comedy in a laid-back atmosphere.
And when you are done sifting through some old records, browsing endless shelves of books while chugging a bottle of beer, or haggling racks of second-hand clothing, it’s time to unravel where the cool kids satisfy their hunger in this artsy region of Shimokitazawa.
If you want to taste a little bit of everything check out Shimokita Cage, a hodgepodge of food trucks serving various treats in a communal style dining experience. Meanwhile, for those who love to eat a more traditional Japanese fare, sink your teeth into some Hiroshima and Osaka style okonomiyaki, the specialty of Daikonman. On the other hand, if you want to taste a uniquely and fruity ramen, head on to Dashin Soan which serves Sudachi soba. Sudachi is a Japanese citrus known to add a refreshing kick to dishes. To taste a bite of Okinawa in Shimokitazawa, Champ Rouse is your best bet.
Ramen at ¥650? Yes, you can find it at Torisoba Saruto, with their signature ramen in chicken and salty broth. If you’d rather have a bowl of curry, then worry no more. For ¥1100, Sama’s line chicken and seafood curry is sure fire to end all your curry cravings. Also serving soup ramen Sapporo-style is Magic Spice. Here, you can customize your meal by choosing your soup, toppings and spice level. For those who love the izakaya dining adventure, check out Isaka ya Ism and do not forget to order their mackerel that is grilled—or better yet—blow torched to perfection. Also top of the list is Izakaya Ism’s beef stew. Meanwhile, get grilling and eat yakitori at Genpachi.
For those whose appetite is leaning towards seafood dishes, Uoshin is your best bet. Their sashimi platter and tempura is definitely something worth trying. Oyster is the name of the game at Oyster Bar Jackpot so if you’re a fan of this delicacy then it’s a must. This oyster bar offers the freshest oysters from various prefectures of Japan.
Creampuff is love at Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory. Who wouldn’t love the Totoro-shaped cream puff in various classic and even seasonal fruit flavors lining up in the display shelves? Don’t forget to take home some cookies for your loved ones. And after all the food chowed, cleanse it down with a cup of joe from Bear Pond Espresso and Bookends Coffee Service.
If you get to stay until the night, enjoy some beer, drinks, and good music at Little Soul Cafe, Music Bar Rockaholic Shimokitazawa, Mother or Beer Bar Ushitora. Or cap the night off with some good laughs at any of Shimokitazawa’s comedy bars or catch some shorts at any of the area’s theaters.
Shimokitazawa has long evolved from a farmland to a hippie-landia—a melting pot of what’s cool, classic, and artistic. Its array of food is definitely appealing to all ages that no wonder it has been the at the top three choices of “places to live” districts among Japan’s youth. ‘Til our next foodventure.
Aleli is a wanderlust whose main itinerary is to culture soak in the places that she sets foot on, sinking her teeth in the gustatory offerings that the place has to offer and knowing the story behind it. Food for her is a marriage of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the rich history of every city she explores and uses the pen as her tool to share to the world each unique experience she unravels.