Tokyo’s streets inspire. Whether I’m walking down an avenue lined with fashionable shops or a lane full of history, every road in this city tells a story. And there are three parts of Tokyo where I’ve found the streets to be particularly good narrators.
As you’ve probably seen from my two previous blog posts, I’ve traveled to Japan with the & TOKYO Project. They’ve sponsored my trip and given me time to discover the city’s 5 core values: Unique&TOKYO, Excellent&TOKYO, Exciting&TOKYO, Delight&TOKYO, and Comfort&TOKYO. I’ve found all of these in the city’s streets.
The first roads I’ve come to love listening to are those in Yanasen. Comprised of the neighborhoods of Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi, the area is full of lore and steeped in old-fashioned charm.
A far cry from high-tech Akihabara and fashion-forward Ginza, Yanasen is the Tokyo of yesteryear.
As soon as I arrive, I’m transported back in time. I duck down alleys full of little shops and market stalls, walk down roads like Yanakaginza Shopping Street where vendors sell goods on the sidewalks, and peek down corridors full of traditional homes.
I spend more time than planned photographing the colorful markets and hidden spaces I find here. The stories they reveal evoke a feeling of Delight&TOKYO.
Way across the city, Jiyugaoka is another neighborhood where Tokyo’s streets win me over. I’m here to have tea at Kosoan, a little place tucked away behind a traditional house. The cafe has a peaceful ambiance, not least because it overlooks a beautiful garden. As with Yanasen, I feel Delight&TOKYO here.
But there’s more to the area than Kosoan. I spend time exploring the shops along the street leading from Jiyugoaka Station, and find lunch at a tsukemen restaurant (cold ramen dipped into hot broth) nearby. I like the atmosphere here—the streets continually reveal hidden surprises.
I find more to love about Tokyo’s streets in the bustling Omotesando area. Not only does the neighborhood have some of the architecture I mentioned in my first blog post about Tokyo, but also a lot of little treasures.
In Minami-Aoyama, I stumble upon the outdoor food court that is Commune 246. It’s the perfect place for a quick meal, and has great style to match its eclectic mix of culinary offerings. I go for a salmon dish from Antenna Wireless Cafe, and there are plenty more good options from the looks of it.
Down the street I come across Blue Bottle Coffee, a favorite of mine from San Francisco. I’m so exited to find the shop tucked up a staircase that I settle in for an iced coffee before exploring further.
And explore I do. I return to the area several times during my trip to seek out more of the side streets and listen to the tales they tell.
Tokyo’s streets are worth exploring, on the main thoroughfares and off, in the better known neighborhoods and the less discovered. I hope to travel back again soon to visit more places and hear their stories.