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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Ultra-modern meets retro with a stroll through Shibuya and Shimokitazawa

If you're looking for trendy cafes, live music, and shopping for Japan-only goods, these popular pockets of Tokyo will give you a full day in two totally different worlds.

While Shibuya is arguably Tokyo's main shopping hub for new and modern items, Shimokitazawa offers the chance for some retro and antique bargains.

Don't Miss

  • Watching the world fly by at Shibuya Crossing
  • Unearthing thrift store gems in Shimokitazawa's many boutiques
  • Soaking up the music at historic live venues, nightclubs and record stores

How to Get There

Shibuya Station and Shimokitazawa Station are connected by the Keio Inokashira Line.

Shibuya is accessible from the JR Yamanote Line as well as most of Tokyo's major train and subway lines. From Shibuya , the express train will take you to Shimokitazawa in less than five minutes.

Quick Facts

Once a farming town, Shimokitazawa is now home to Tokyo's indie film, music, and theater culture

With up to 2,500 people crossing every signal change, Shibuya Crossing is the busiest in the world

Shibuya's station front is home to a statue of Hachiko, Japan's most famous dog

Unlikely beginnings

Both the neighborhoods underwent significant changes to become the city hubs they are today. The laid-back corner of Shimokitazawa was once an agricultural town, which can still be seen in its narrow, pre-automobile streets.

Thanks to its close proximity to Shibuya and lower living costs, Shimokitazawa became popular with young families and students after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and especially after World War II. Right after the war, it was home to a marketplace for American soldiers, creating a hotspot for young, Western culture.

As Shimokitazawa was going through a period of social and cultural evolutions, Shibuya was doing the same. A Tokyo train stop since 1885, Shibuya became the main station for the Tokyu Toyoku line's route to Yokohama in 1927. Now the Den-en-toshi Line, this new connection established the area as one of the city's major transport and economic hubs. Today it's the second-busiest station in the world after Shinjuku .

Go digging in thrift store paradise

If Harajuku and Omotesando are the centers of fashion's cutting-edge future, then Shibuya and Shimokitazawa are home to its present and past. Shibuya's mega shopping centers like the iconic 109 and brand-new Hikarie stock everything being worn by the young and trendy, while also offering a number of well-curated secondhand shops and outlets. Look out for independently run stores like Kekishi and The Sun Goes Down to find well-priced one-off pieces.

If you have a love for retro, bargain hunting and antiques, Shimokitazawa has more thrift stores than you could see in a single day. Home to a number of chain outlets like Flamingo and Chicago, Shimokitazawa also has great deals at New York Joe Exchange or the 700-yen flat-priced Stick Out. You'll also find some of Tokyo's best curated Western vintage at Haight & Ashbury. The streets of Shimokitazawa are awash with independent, niche and very comprehensive secondhand fashion outlets. The hardest thing is knowing where to begin.

Music for every taste

For secondhand records, both neighborhoods rival one another in terms of selection and price. While Shimokitazawa has the smaller, more selective secondhand record outlets like Flash Disc Ranch and Disc Shop Zero, Shibuya has mega stores like Recofan and DiskUnion. Most stores cover a variety of genres and formats like CD, vinyl, DVD and cassette so if you're chasing that rare limited-run picture disc, you should spend some time hunting around these areas.

For the best in new music, Shibuya is also home to the Tower Records flagship store.

Experience the many sides of Tokyo nightlife

From DJs to live bands, on any given night Shibuya and Shimokitazawa are putting on a music performance to suit your tastes and get you dancing.

Shimokitazawa , along with Koenji, is home to many live music venues. Small, more rock-focused dive bars with eclectic lineups, like Club 251, Garage, and Era, populate the area, but the main space is Shimokitazawa Three, which hosts shows by both new upcoming names and local legends.

If you're more into clubbing and electronic music, Shibuya is your destination. The main nightclub capital of Tokyo, Shibuya's venues, like Womb, Contact and Sound Museum Vision, see big-name acts and unique one-off parties all-year-round.

Both areas also have ample dining, bars, karaoke and theaters.

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