In today’s Japan Travel Q&A we answer a question about off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods in Tokyo from Dominic in London:

“What are the best new off-the-beaten-path places in Tokyo – eateries, music and fashion – that aren’t Roppongi, Omotesando or Shibuya?”

Related article: What to do if you have one day in Tokyo

Great question, Dominic!

As with London, New York, and other great cities, Tokyo is packed with great neighborhoods – and things are always changing. And of course everyone has their own opinion about what Tokyo’s best neighborhoods are.

But actually this is an easy one for me: my favorite neighborhoods in Tokyo are Shimokitazawa, Naka-Meguro, and Ebisu.

While none of these areas are totally off the beaten path, they’re all great places to spend time. And while they’re not actually hidden, most travelers still miss out on them.


Shimokitazawa neighborhood Tokyo Japan
Photo Credit: Ryosuke Yagi via Compfight cc

Shimokitazawa is the most alternative of the bunch.

In addition to hipsters, you’ll find hippies, rockers, and all sorts of people who don’t totally fit into the Japanese mainstream.

Shimokitazawa is easy to get to, and is overflowing with restaurants, cafes, boutiques, bars, and small music venues.


Naka-Meguro shops along canal Tokyo Japan
Photo Credit: kalupa via Compfight cc

Naka-Meguro is no secret either – yet most people who spend a short time in Tokyo never make it here, either.

The best part about Naka-Meguro is the cherry blossom tree-lined canal. It’s quiet and a great place for a daytime stroll, run or bike ride.

There are some really nice restaurants here, and during cherry blossom season the tree-lined canal area fills up with people barbecuing and partying under the gorgeous cherry blossom canopy!

Tip: For high fashion, also visit the adjacent neighborhood of Daikanyama, which is full of amazing fashion boutiques and some of Tokyo’s most stylish people.


Ebisu Restaurant Tokyo Japan
Photo Credit: Jun Seita via Compfight cc

Finally, theres Ebisu.

Actually, Ebisu is the least hidden of the three – it’s located right by Shibuya on the Yamanote line, Tokyo’s loop line – but it’s often skipped by travelers in favor of more touristy areas.

Ebisu is a stylish area, but more than anything it’s an amazing area for eating and drinking. It’s mostly well-heeled locals with a good mix of expats, and is a great place for a lively meal out with some drinks.

Ebisu Restaurant Tokyo Japan
Photo Credit: Jun Seita via Compfight cc
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About Andres Zuleta

Andres is the founder of Boutique Japan.

Unlike a lot of travel companies, we don’t work from a cubicle!

In 2005, I first moved from New York City to Tokyo to study Japanese, and living in Tokyo changed my life, leading me to want to dedicate my life to helping others really experience Japan, the way I have been able to do so!

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