Think of Tokyo and your mind may wander to the neon signs and bustling crowds of Shibuya and Shinjuku, or the tranquility of the Meiji Jingu shrine, but this huge city offers much to those who explore away from the main tourist areas.
Take the tiny Daikanyama neighborhood, for example. A compact rectangle of low-rise streets south of Shibuya, the area is known for its high-end boutiques and trendy eateries. Its leafy streets feel like a far cry from the crowded streets and high-rise blocks of much of the
city, but it is, in fact, situated within an easy walk of Shibuya and Ebisu, or on the Tokyu-Toyoko train line if you are coming from farther afield.
Get breakfast at one of the many café terraces, where fashionistas come to see and be seen, or head straight for the bookshop-café complex called Daikanyama T-Site, featuring award-winning architecture. Suitably fortified, check out Kyu Asakura House, a museum which showcases a perfectly preserved Japanese home from the early 20th century, complete with traditional wooden architecture and a garden. Then take a walk around Saigoyama, a hilltop park offering views over Tokyo before eating lunch at Hiki Cafe, offering a range of café fare such as crêpes and sandwiches, or try Manin, serving Japanese hot pot known as shabu-shabu.
In the afternoon, browse the many shops and indulge in some retail therapy at outlets such as Vermicular House, known for cast iron cookware; fashion brands such as Okura and Nanamica; and curated boutiques such as Designers’ Fridge. When you’re all shopped out, head for a drink at Spring Valley Brewery Tokyo or Flying Bumblebee before dinner at Tableaux or Henry’s Burger.
All in all, Daikanyama proves a great place to spend a day, or even an afternoon if you don’t have much time, to experience a different side of Tokyo. Pick up some memorable souvenirs for the special people in your life, or simply soak up the atmosphere in one of the city’s most desirable districts.
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
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