During the Edo Period, Tokyo was known as “the water capital.” This is due to the many rivers and canals throughout the city that also played an important role for transportation and logistics. There are numerous fun areas to walk around in Tokyo, such as Kuramae and Kiyosumi-shirakawa’s trendy novelty shops and cafes. Kagurazaka’s stone streets and flower-filled walkways, and Nakameguro’s battleground of specialty shops.Take the opportunity to check out these hidden gems near the water that you may have missed on your previous visit to Tokyo!
Kuramae near Sumida River has garnered attention in the past few years as a gem amonginner Asakusa (the area north of Sensoji Temple). The Kiyosumi-shirakawa area is famous as the venue of Japan’s first store opening of a certain famous American coffee chain, and is a great area for taking a stroll. Kuramae Station and Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station are both a 30-minute train ride on the Toei Oedo Line from Shinjuku Station.
Kuramae, originally known as a crafter's town, is a lovely place to visit various novelty stores. From everyday goods to leather and stationery, Kuramae has a little bit of everything. A particularly interesting stationery shop called “Kakimori” was designed with “people who have fun writing” in mind. Here, you can choose a cover and paper to craft your own personalized notebook, or make one for a friend!
After checking out the local shops, we recommend you head down to Kiyosumi-shirakawa, grab a coffee from one of the shops in the area, and make your way to Kiyosumi Garden. This Japanese garden is filled with ponds, miniature hills, and historical stones. The garden’s Kanhi and Yoshino cherry blossom trees make it a popular hanami spot in spring.This area is also home to the Fukagawa Edo Museum where guests can experience the atmosphere of a town as in the Edo Period. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, newly reopened in March 2019 after remodeling, is a neat venue for art lovers.
The Kagurazaka and Iidabashi area, easily accessible by the Tozai Line from Iidabashi Station or Kagurazaka Station, was originally popular for the many flowers growing along the streets.This area is fun for a leisurely stroll while taking pictures of the classic stone-paved streets, visiting local hidden restaurants, shopping, or visiting cafes. The main street of Kagurazaka-dori is closed off for exclusive pedestrian use on weekdays and Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on Sundays and holidays from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
First, stop by Tokyo Daijingu to pray for good fortune in romantic endeavors, then head out for some shopping.There are plenty of shops in the area to find great Japanese souvenirs, such as Makanai Cosmetics’ main store in Kagurazaka which carries natural cosmetics made from Japanese ingredients, Kukuri Kagurazaka’s goods made from Japanese textiles, and the many cat-themed goods sold by A Shop Called Cat Post Office.
The Nakameguro area is known as a town for the trendy with its many unique cafes and shops. Nakameguro Station is accessible via the Tokyu Toyoko Line and Hibiya Line. We recommend starting out by having lunch at one of the restaurants on the 700-metre stretch under the Tokyu Toyoko Line tracks between Nakameguro Station and Yutenji Station known as “Nakameguro Koukashita”. If you are in the area in spring, enjoy a stroll along the riverside while viewing the beautiful cherry blossom trees in bloom.The approximately 4-kilometre-long path on either side of the river boasts over 800 Yoshino cherry trees. The trees form an arch at the narrower upstream section of the river. (The cherry blossoms generally bloom from late March to early April depending on the year.) After that, check out clothes and other goods on display at local specialty shops and head to one of the trendy cafes in the area such as Japanese-style cafe “chano-ma Nakameguro” to enjoy a parfait!
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