One of the few things that I like living in Tokyo is that you have your international friends visiting the city like every other month.
You rarely get out of the country to treat yourself to a long vacation, which really sucks, but meeting up with your foreign friends in Tokyo makes you feel like you are on a semi-vacation, like you are half out of the country. And I love showing my friends around my hometown because it also gives me a chance to explore places both new and old.
This month, too, my overseas friend was visiting Japan. We had a fun day strolling around Meguro and Daikanyama one weekend. She had visited Tokyo few times before this and wanted to explore less touristy neighborhoods. Well, Daikanyama has become more touristy than before but it’s still the kind of place better visiting with a local friend.
There’s a halal Japanese restaurant Ippin in Daikanyama, which I introduced in this blog before. I believe that will make a day in Daikanyama for Muslim visitors easy and just perfect. If you get tired of Shibuya, Akihabara and other crowded major tourist area, I think spending half-day or a day in Daikanyama would be a great choice.
So what are in Daikanyama? I will introduce you the places I would recommend for the first-time visitors in this post.
1. Kyu Asakura House (An Important Cultural Property)
I love this place!! Kyu Asakura House is a beautifully preserved Japanese style house built in 1919 (the Taisho period) that survived the Great Kanto Earthquake and the war. Mr. Asakura served as the Chairman of Tokyo’s Prefectural Assembly and the Shibuya City Assembly, and this was built as his private residence. So, it’s a rich man’s house.
The wooden floor, tatami mats, sliding doors, the round-shaped window, and the beautiful Japanese garden…this is my dream house. You will be surprised to find such serene beauty in the middle of a fashionable shopping district. It’s disappointing that Japan has lost so much of this kind of beauty and I am glad this house is preserved.
The admission is only 100 yen for an adult, and they have an English brochure.
Since T-SITE opened in 2011, Daikanyama has become more lively than ever. T-SITE is a large book store operated by the rental chain Tsutaya. They have a variety of books including English-language titles. There’s Starbucks and other small shops, cafes and restaurants around them.
Okura sells fashion items for both men and women. What makes this shop unique is that they sell clothes that are dyed with natural indigo dye using traditional Japanese method. So, most of the clothes you will see in this shop are navy blue.
By the way, as you can see in this picture, there are so many overhead power lines in Tokyo. They are so messy and ugly and I am hoping the government will move them underground any time soon.
4. Kamawanu Tenugui Shop
Tenugui is a rectangular shape Japanese towels made from dyed cotton cloth. Tenugui is so useful. It is quick to dry and very strong.
I was preparing an emergency backpack for myself the other day (because it is said that a big earthquake will occur in Tokyo within a few decades) and realized that Tenugui is one of the must-have items in the backpack. It will replace many things; an eye mask, a mask, a scarf, a belly band, a bandage, a towel, a maxi pad/nappy, a headband, a washcloth, and etc.
There are many Tenugui shops but Kawamanu is my favorite brand. I like the colors they use and the designs. The photo below is the tenugui I have from Kamawanu.
5. Chez Lui
There are Chez Lui restaurant, café and bakery in Daikanayama. Now Chez Lui bakery can be found in many places but it is originally from Daikanyama. Their first shop opened in the 70’s!
6. Log Road
Log Road opened just last year. It was built on top of former Tokyu Toyoko Line train track. There’s a restaurant/craft beer bar SPRING VALLEY BREWERY by Kirin beer, which is highly recommended for non-halal friends, and some cafes and boutiques. GARDEN HOUSE CRAFTS is a café originally from Kamakura. They are open from 7:30am and serves breakfast as well. I am thinking of going for breakfast next time!
7. Ippin (Halal Restaurant)
Luckily, there’s a halal Japanese/Teppanyaki restaurant in Daikanyama called Ippin. I have introduced this restaurant in other post, if you are interested, please check the post Ippin@Ebisu.
8. Many more shops…
There are many shops and cafes between those places listed above. There are Loveless (luxury fashion), Evisu (Japanese denim brand), Rose Bud Lindy (women’s casual clothes) B Jirushi Yoshida (BEAMS x Yoshida bag), Hollywood Ranch Market (casual clothes), Bonjou Recors, Tsumori Chisato, Silas and Maria, APC, Via Bus Stop, Maison de Reefur (a shop by a popular Japanese model Rinka), United Bamboo, CA4La (hat store), Mother Lip (vintage shop) and more.