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Visitors to Tokyo who have already strolled the Ginza and perused the much-photographed Shibuya Crossing will clamor for the opportunity to explore new parts of this colorful capital city.
This is where Daikanyama comes in. Although it’s only a 15-minute walk from Shibuya Station, Daikanyama’s trees, bungalows and low-rise architecture — not skyscrapers —define its commercial walkways, streets and alleys. It also provides clients with several options for scouting out souvenirs.
Here’s how to make the most of a visit in Daikanyama.
Dream DenimOne of the hottest souvenirs from Tokyo — among the fashion-minded, at least — is the perfect pair of Japanese denim, known for its high quality and refined tailoring.
Hollywood Ranch Market, which features a mix of established and up-and-coming denim labels, nods to upscale Los Angeles denim boutiques with its hippie/boho-chic aesthetic. However, the shopping experience is very Tokyo, from the painstaking merchandising to the astute staff.
Other fashion-inspired outposts include Okura, which is located inside a decades-old Japanese warehouse and specializes in natural indigo-dyed clothes and accessories, and White Mountaineering, the flagship boutique from Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa that takes comfy athleisure pieces and basics in sharply tailored directions.
Log RoadLog Road, located at the top of the old Tokyo subway line, is the destination’s version of New York City’s High Line. The trail of freestanding businesses are connected by an inviting lane that’s lined with wooden benches and greenery. Travelers will find Kirin's Spring Valley Brewery (selling small-batch craft beers); an outpost of Los Angeles retailer Fred Segal; and Kamakura's Garden House General Store, which is reminiscent of gift stores located along California’s Central Coast.
Material IssuesJapanese home decor is traditionally minimalist, though beautiful textiles enable dwellers to individualize their space without excess clutter. Cocca is an inspiring place to see this aesthetic in a practical setting and perfect for purchasing statement-making pieces. Choosy shoppers can be assured that everything in stock is crafted in Japan, from cleverly designed accessories for dining tables and shelves to bags, throw pillows and the gorgeous bolts of fabric lining the walls.
TsutayaIf clients are longing for sophisticated big-city bookstores, suggest they stop at Tsutaya at T-Site. The towering bookshelves at the chain's three-building flagship store (with selections in numerous languages, including English) are broken up with a magazine department, museum-shop-like boutiques, luminous murals and gallery areas with regularly changing displays. One could spend an entire day here browsing the vast collection of books, music, movies and more (which is almost encouraged, thanks to an in-store Starbucks and plush seating areas).
Where to EatAfter hours of shopping, travelers ae bound to work up on appetite, and the preponderance of outdoor cafes in Daikanyama may make visitors feel as if they’re not in Japan at all, but rather in Venice Beach, Calif.
Outposts of popular Los Angeles restaurants such as Urth Caffe and Blu Jam add to the laid-back, West Coast vibe. These expat hot spots prove as popular here as the stateside parent locations, made more obvious by the lines for tables during peak lunch hours. However, they also have their own approach, including an emphasis on locally grown teas and dishes adapted for local palates.
If American chains aren’t of interest, head to Ivy Place, which is located across the walkway from Tsutaya (although it would also be right at home in Los Angeles, from its indoor-outdoor seating to its colorful Western-style brunch plates, soups and fresh-baked bread). Cedros, meanwhile, has its own California flavor, with a menu dominated by seafood and heirloom vegetables.
The DetailsJapan National Tourism Organizationwww.us.jnto.go.jp