There are many reasons Shimokitazawa is the coolest neighbourhood in the world, but foremost is not having to lock your bike.
I have spent ten days living in Shimokitazawa, and can proudly say I was in “before it was cool”; if you haven’t read the Vogue article, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo is lauded as the world’s coolest neighbourhood.
Just one stop from Shinkuku and three from Shibuya by subway, Shimokitazawa is an aberration in Tokyo with all the location but none of the manic bustle.
In actuality, it’s a fairly quiet residential neighbourhood which closed up around 11pm each night. Occasionally live musicians play on the street, and several small pubs offer entertainment until early hours on the weekends. But Shimokitazawa is actually shares much more in common with Kensington Market in Toronto than with Vogue’s second coolest neighbourhood, Toronto’s “West Queen West”.
It’s lively pedestrian Sundays and festivals are quite family oriented.
It boasts several extremely high quality independent coffee shops, cute bakeries, and an amazing selection of cuisines.
Disimilarly to wider Tokyo’s abundance of rules, a free-spirited ‘hippie’ vibe is pervasive.
Unlike West Queen West, the vintage is high quality AND affordable.
You can buy a beer from a vending machine and drink it on the street.
They make a mean brunch.
But really, everywhere you look, the main attraction of Shimokitazawa are the people!