Shimokitazawa, commonly called Shimokita, is one of Tokyo’s most popular neighborhoods. Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku are equally trendy among young people, but Shimokita contrasts them with its uniquely laid-back bohemian atmosphere. It is famous for vintage clothing stores, first-rate bookstores, music shops, distinctive cafés, curried rice, and theaters.
If you’re looking for vintage clothing, Shimokita is the place to go. Chicago Shimokitazawa is well known for its extensive selection of vintage treasures. Meanwhile, Ozeki Supermarket is ideal for buying fresh vegetables and a wide variety of other foods.
Shimokita is a relatively new town, with a history that goes back about 70 years. It was originally a farm village with the Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine at its center. After the 1923 Kanto Earthquake, the Odakyu Railway Company opened Shimokitazawa station in 1927, but the town gradually started attracting young people about 30 years ago. The district of Shimokita is bordered by four streets and is home to a wide variety of people.
Compared with Sangenjaya, a nearby shopping district in Setagaya, Shimokita boasts 6491 shops per km2 relative to only 1927 for Sangenjaya. You can imagine how many small shops cluster together in Shimokita’s narrow streets, especially with a landscape complicated by a valley, a river, and low-lying areas.
Geographically, the north side of Shimokita is a plateau that has been developed as a residential area. The south side was a swamp unsuitable for housing, so numerous shops were built there. The north side escaped bombing during WWII, and a black market was established there selling food and groceries.
Major redevelopment work is now underway in the district. In 2004, a plan to redevelop Shimokitazawa was released, including the construction of high-rise buildings and extending Route 54 across the area. In Shomokita, the streets are narrow with many intersections and small alleyways, considered to be part of the area’s charm. With the relocation of the Odakyu Line rail tracks underground in 2013, and the construction of new station entrances and double tracks in both directions, large scale redevelopment of the area is continuing.
How to Get to Shimokitazawa:
Both the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station and the Keio Inokashira Line from Shibuya Station converge on Shimokitazawa.
The trip takes 7 minutes (¥157) from Shinjuku by express train and just 3 minutes (¥126) from Shibuya.
Posted on March 5, 2021 by Kumiko Kawai