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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

Culture

Shimokitazawa 下北沢エリア

Tokyo's laid back, creative center is the perfect antidote to hectic city life

Away from the manic energy of the Shibuya Crossing and the neon-drenched hub of Shinjuku, Shimokitazawa is a trendy laid-back suburb located just minutes from the heart of Tokyo.

Called "Shimokita" by its thriving creative community, this former farming town has reinvented itself while maintaining an authentic connection to its roots. Here you can find live theater and music, as well as trendy cafes and retro culture.

Don't Miss

  • Book shopping with a beer at B&B
  • Wednesday night markets or Vietnamese under the train tracks at Shimokitazawa Cage
  • Some of Tokyo's best up-and-coming live bands at Shimokitazawa THREE

How to Get There

Shimokitazawa is easily accessible from Shinjuku and Shibuya Stations.

If you're visiting from the Shinjuku area, catch the Odakyu line from Shinjuku Station and get off at Shimokitazawa. From Shibuya, catch the Keio Inokashira Line from Shibuya Station. This ride is a little shorter, getting you to the station in four to five minutes on the express train.

Quick Facts

Shimokita is home to Tokyo's independent music, theater, comedy, and film scenes

The area has one of the largest concentrations of thrift stores in all of Tokyo

The narrow, winding streets date back to the area's farming roots before cars were commonplace

A historical escape from the city

Shimokitazawa as it is today found its start following the devastation of the 1921 Great Kanto Earthquake. Formerly home to the city's farming population, after the disaster people moved to the district for a little more peace of mind. Following World War II, the suburb became the adopted home and market hub for US Soldiers.

Thanks to its now well-connected central location and comparatively lower rent, "Shimokita" has become increasingly popular with young students and creatives wanting to start their own enterprises and live in the city without the pressures of big city life.

Vintage shopping for every interest

If there's one thing Shimokita is most famous for, it has to be its vintage antiques and retro thrift shopping boutiques. Whether it's used records or books, high-end vintage or cheap second-hand clothing, if you're chasing a chance at a deal you can find it here.

The area is home to many independent and chain store thrift boutiques whose abundant wares often overflow onto the well-trodden paths. Given the sheer amount of what's on offer, it's best not to plan too much when shopping in Shimokitazawa. However, some names you can't miss in this thrift-seekers paradise are Flamingo, Joe's New York Exchange, and Chicago, all of which house carefully organized racks of clothing to suit every style and subculture under the sun.

Shimokita is home to Village Vanguard's flagship store, where you'll find clothing, accessories, toys and more all dedicated to vintage nostalgia and hip counterculture.

Center for coffee culture

Beyond clothing, Shimokitazawa also has some of the best coffee shops in all of Tokyo. Check out some of the specialty coffee hotspots while you're wandering through the area, including the historic Moldive, world-famous Bear Pond Espresso, and Frankie Melbourne, which introduced the city to authentic "flat whites" popular in Australia and New Zealand.

For something a little heartier, the area is also home to an eclectic collection of cafes and restaurants that serve everything from Okinawan Tex-Mex, Canadian fast food, avocado dishes while sitting in hammocks, and of course plenty of pub-style Japanese. While Omotesando has high-end luxury cafes, this area is all about relaxed, down-to-earth dining with an undeniable eye for quality.

Tokyo's live music destination

Thanks to the area's thriving, youth-driven arts culture, Shimokitazawa has also become one of Tokyo's premier live music hubs. With a collection of different sized venues dotted across the streets, it has something for everyone.

One milestone on many new bands' must-do lists is a performance at the revered Shimokitazawa THREE, a small and cozy dive bar that features a rotating cast of bigger indie names and new upstarts. Second only to the neighboring suburb of Koenji, the home of Japanese punk, you'll find in Shimokita a wealth of well-trodden, beer and whiskey soaked venues like Club 251, Basement Bar, and Era.

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