Don’t be fooled by the neon lights of Shibuya mere metres away, or by the bustle of Yoyogi Park across the road. For a long time, Tomigaya has been a carefully guarded secret of locals in the know. The peaceful neighbourhood was originally home to just a handful of izakayas (Japanese pubs), cafes and local businesses, but in recent years, it has welcomed a slew of trendy bars, cafés, boutiques, and even an eco-chic hotel. Despite these openings, however, the enclave remains beautifully serene and is perfect for an afternoon of exploration. Here are seven stops to make in Tomigaya.
1. Trunk Hotel
At this sustainable hotel, guestrooms are adorned with washi (traditional Japanese paper) art and feature locally made and eco-friendly products, from recycled coat hangers to glasses fashioned from old light bulbs. Minibars come stocked with refreshments such as Shibuya Cola and handmade cookies, which can also be purchased from the on-site convenience store. Amenities include two restaurants as well as an outdoor terrace, which is the perfect spot for lounging with a bottle of beer in hand.
2. Fuglen Tokyo
A café by day and a bar by night, Fuglen Tokyo is the Japanese outpost of the acclaimed Oslo institution. But there’s no Scandi-chic aesthetic here; instead, the venue oozes vintage charm – think Biri straw wallpaper, leather sofas and warm lighting. Sip on a quality cup of joe in the morning; from 7pm onwards, coffee is replaced by cocktails (try the famous ginger daiquiri) and the DJ takes over.
The brainchild of Takatsugu Yamashita and Kosuke Tabuchi, this bean-to-bar chocolatier was founded in 2014 and has since opened several branches across Tokyo. The chocolates on offer are divided into three categories – fruity, nutty and savoury – with flavours derived from citrus fruits, herbs, spices and more. The brand prides itself on overseeing the entire production process, from selecting the cacao beans to wrapping and packaging. The result? Exquisite and utterly delectable creations that pair perfectly with a cup of artisan coffee.
4. Tsutsumu Factory
This two-storey stationery emporium is bursting at the seams with paper products (from the elegant to the kawaii), stickers, washi tapes, ribbons and more. You can even bring in presents of any shape or size and have staff work their impressive gift-wrapping talents on them for free (you only need to pay for the materials used). With so many trinkets on offer, you’ll find it impossible to leave empty-handed.
5. Monocle Shop
The eponymous magazine has a physical store in Tomigaya (one of several across the globe), where stylish products are literally lifted off its pages and displayed on the shelves: think clothes, accessories and fragrances designed in collaboration with brands like Comme des Garçons, Porter and more. The brand also has its own menswear line, Monocle Voyage, which features a range of apparel designed with the modern globetrotter in mind.
A design-forward boutique with equally stylish wares, Archivando curates products from up-and-coming local and international designers and craftsmen. You’ll find handmade necklaces, shaving kits, leather card cases, elegant pottery and more, all set against a rustic-industrial backdrop.
7. ØL by Oslo Brewing Co.
This sleek and minimalist watering hole serves up fine craft beers from both Japan and Scandinavia. Here, you’ll find 20 artisanal brews on tap (including a mango double IPA), plus monthly and seasonal specials. Snag a seat at one of the many benches and sofas indoors, or go al fresco for a spot of people-watching.
Singapore Airlines flies to Tokyo six times daily. To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com
SEE ALSO: City guide: Tokyo