Jiyugaoka is centered in Meguro but also extends into Setagaya and includes Okusawa. This rather posh neighborhood sits at the nexus of the private Tokyu railroad lines covering the southern suburbs of Tokyo. Easy access to/from Shibuya and Yokohama.
Feeling a little too old to hang out with the teens in Harajuku? Annoyed by the bustle and crowds of Shibuya? Maybe Jiyugaoka is more your pace? This suburban neighborhood has spacious and comfortable streets lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants aimed at those ready to move on from those youthful centers but still very fashionable. Excellent place to eat out and take a relaxing break from the city crowds, with great people-watching potential. Do as the locals do and bring a friend, a book, or a drink to enjoy as you sit and watch Tokyoites of all sorts pass by.
Exiting the station on the north side brings you to the rotary and surrounding blocks full of restaurants and shops. On the south side you will find Marie Claire and Green Streets.
Take the Tokyu Toyoko line from Shibuya to Jiyugaoka (7 min. express 12 min. local train). Tokyu Oimachi line from Futagotamagawa (8min). By express train to/from Minato Mirai in Yokohama on the Tokyu Toyoko line express service (23 min).
You'll find wide, pedestrian friendly avenues leading from the station and some tree lined walking paths and many benches. Stroll along Green Street from Jiyugaoka Station to Midorigaoka for cherry blossoms in season. This road is planted with several varieties to extend the sakura viewing.
- Watch people carry a sacred portable shrine or omikoshi during the September festival.
- The local chamber of commerce and neighborhood association is very active here staging more modern and fashionable events and festivals on many weekends. See a beautifully decorated Christmas tree or maybe an opera singer performing arias on the street.
- Kumano Shrine (熊野神社), . was built 800 years ago. Surrounded by trees, people visit to pray or just for the peace and quiet. Some come for specific the worship practice of Yakuyoke a purification ritual to drive out evil spirits. Like all shrines, they sell protective amulets for health, good studies, or traffic safety, but these are distinctively cute. For a traditional shrine, they have a particularly flashy website that gives a good preview. edit
- Kameyamannendo (亀屋万年堂), Meguro-ku, Jiyugaoka 1-15-12, ☎ 03-3717-0400. This Japanese-style confectionery shop was establish since 1938. ¥800. edit
- Nihondo Kampo Boutique (日本堂漢方ブティック), Meguro-ku, Jiyugaoka 2-9-6, ☎ 03-3717-4193. It is a Chinese herbal medicine and healthy food shop. Advisers choose the best medicine for you. Chinese tea is popular for young women because it is good for beauty. ¥2,000. edit
- Wara (和ら), 2-14-8 Midorigaoka Meguroku, ☎ 03-3725-7338. There are many kinds of kimono which is gathered all over Japan. Money pouch (巾着) and bag which are made by cloth of kimono are popular. In this shop, you can learn how to put on kimono. ¥5,000. edit
If you need a cheap snack to sustain you go for a crepe, smoothie, or melon pan from one of the street vendors operating out of small trailers or funky old VWs.
For many women in Tokyo, Juyigaoka is almost synonymous with sweets. It's impossible to list all of the many tea shops, cake shops, bakeries large and small, cafe's, and chocolatiers.
- Sweets Forest (スイーツフォレスト), Meguro-ku, Midorigaoka 2-25-7, ☎ 03-5731-6600. This is a mall dedicated to desserts. Multiple shops and cafes. From ¥500. edit
- Nana's Green Tea, Meguro-ku, Jiyugaoka 1-29-18. 10:30AM-10:30PM. This cafe has a lot of sweets and drinks made with powdered green tea and adzuki bean. Taste four kinds of Japanese tea. Try the Maccha chocolate latte. ¥600. edit
- Hara-Donut (はらドーナツ), Meguro-ku, Jiyugaoka 1-3-13, ☎ 03-3717-8850. Organic donut shop. Seemingly oxymoronic healthy donuts are made with soy milk. ¥200. edit
- Shutters, Setagaya-ku, Okusawa 5-27-15, ☎ 03-3717-0111. 11:30AM-11PM. Try the apple pie a la mode. Popular dishes here are the odd combination of spare ribs and apple pie. You can eat many flavors of tender spare ribs such as soy sauce, basil, and mustard. You can choose from sauces on your apple pie: cinnamon, blueberry, raspberry, chocolate and carmel--with vanilla ice cream too. ¥1,500~. edit
- El Pescador, 1-13-4 Jiyugaoka, Meguro, Tokyo 152-0035, ☎ 03-3723-8471. 11:30AM-2PM 5PM-11PM. Very friendly family run Spanish eatery. Only a 5 minute walk from the station. The paella is delicious and usually sells out so get there early. Always busy so best to make reservations. It's a hidden gem next to the train tracks. ¥1,500~. edit
Big wheels in the worlds of entertainment or politics are known to entertain in the area. There are plenty of elegant and pricy restaurant choices.
- Sushikou (鮨幸), Meguro-ku, Jiyugaoka 2-18-14, ☎ 03-3717-1720. Sushi. ¥10,000. edit
For anyone looking below budget, exit the south side of the station, pick up a can at any convenience store, go to the tree-lined street one block south and sit on the benches. In the early evening you'll have plenty of company if the weather is good.
- Clann, 1-8-18, ☎ 03-3725-9116, . 6PM-3AM. Irish pub with live music many nights. edit
- Rude Boy Cafe (ルードボーイカフェ), Setagaya-ku Okusawa 5-28-15, ☎ 03-3722-6992. 6:30PM-2AM, closed Tuesdays. Reggae, some curry, tequila. edit
- Speyside Way, Meguro-ku Jiyugaoka 1-26-9 5F (North exit, take second right down a narrow street two short blocks to a T, across the street an just to the left. Look up for the sign.), ☎ 03-3723-7807. Hundreds of whiskeys fill every available space. Hundreds. Short selection of micro-beers is also available. edit
- Hotel Pulitzer Jiyugaoka (ホテル ピュリッツァー 自由が丘), Meguro-ku, Jiyugaoka 2-11-18 (Exit on the Rotary side. Walk past Cafe Excelsior and on the left just before the next light.), ☎ 03-5726-3361, . Small hotel with only 18 rooms right in the center of Jiyugaoka. ¥15,000. edit
After an afternoon of shopping and cafe life, take a direct train to Yokohama's Chinatown for dinner.
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