8 Alternative Spots in Tokyo

Monday February 13, 2017 | by Gladys Ang | In Asia

If you thought that Tokyo was only about Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Akihabara, then you are in for a surprise. The busy capital has so much more to offer and here’s 8 alternative spots to visit on your next trip to this exciting yet sometimes, bizarre capital of Japan.

Shimokitazawa

Enter Tokyo’s hipster paradise at Shimokitazawa, which is a lot less glitzy than the Shibuya crowd and definitely not as wild as the Harajuku scene. Now this is the real youth culture of Tokyo.

  Shimokitazawa

Source: wayfaring minimalist

With lines of secondhand clothing shops and quirky souvenirs stores, you can expect the unexpected in this unassuming neighbourhood. Do drop by Toyo Hyakkaten for some vintage fashion pieces and handmade accessories.

Source: JapanTravel.com

Source: JapanTravel.com

Want to experience some live music performances that is beyond the mainstream J-POP music? Visit the live houses and bars that are hidden in the alleys of Shimokitazawa.

Source: UnmissableTOKYO.com

If you’re looking for a true Japanese experience, indulge in their national pastime, Karaoke. Shimokitazawa provides many cheap karaoke options as compared to other parts of Tokyo. 

Nearest Station: Shimokitazawa Station (Odakyu Odawara, Keio Inokashira Line)

 Shin-Okubo (Korean Town)

Here’s a fun fact about Japan: Koreans are the second largest ethnic group in Japan, after the Chinese and they are better known as ‘Zainichi Koreans’, which literally translates to ‘Koreans in Japan’.

Having said that, it is no wonder that Japan has its own Koreatown, one being in Shin-Okubo (Tokyo) and the other in Tsuruhashi (Osaka).

Source: Jenna in Japan

Fuelled by the popularity of the Hallyu Wave, there are an abundance of K-POP merchandise stores in Shin-Okubo.

 

Source: Shichijyuuni

Of course, if you are looking to satiate your appetite for some authentic Korean cuisine or replenish your supply of cosmetics, Shin-Okubo got you covered too.

Source: Japan Info

Nearest Station: Shin-Okubo Station (JR Line)

Omotesando

Walking to the end of the famous Harajuku Takeshita Street will lead you to its obscure neighbour, Omotesando.

One of its most iconic buildings is Tokyu Plaza, which is a myriad of mirrors that is slowly gaining popularity as one of the most Instagrammable places. As the official site suggests, it is a fashion theme park that offers a collection of local and international fashion labels.

Omotesando Tokyu Plaza

Source: Spoon & Tamago

Omotesando

Source: Wikimedia

The shopping does not end there. As you make your way down the streets and alleys, it will lead you to alleys of thrift shops and independent home labels. Another noteworthy shopping complex is Omotesando Hills that is sometimes dubbed as Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées.

Omotesando Hills

Source: Wikimedia

Nearest Station: Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Subway Line)

 Aoyama

If you have a penchant for interior design or architecture, Aoyama is the place to be.  It houses some of the most impressive architectures that were designed by world renowned architects like Herzog & De Meuron, Kengo Kuma and Jun Aoki. You can find the flagship stores of international luxury brands in this neighbourhood such as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu.

Source: DETAIL inspiration

Source: Dezeen

Source: Dezeen

Some notable buildings and stores to check out: Sunny Hills Bakery, Prada Aoyama, Miu Miu Store, Louis Vuitton Omotesando, Diesel Denim Gallery, Iguaneye Aoyama, Tod’s Omotesando and Dolce & Gabbana Aoyama.

Nearest Station: Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Subway Line)

Daikanyama

A mere one stop away from the touristy Shibuya is the quiet neighbourhood of Daikanyama, that is home to the upper class Tokyo residents. Though quiet, the neighbourhood is densely populated with cafes and the most well-known one being the Starbucks store at Daikanyama T-Site complex. This award-winning complex is the brainchild of Klein Dytham Architecture which features three building wings with six book departments. The building was modelled from the idea of a tree, based on the theme “A Library in the Woods”.

Source: Daikanyama T-Site

 

Source: Daikanyama T-Site

If you want to break away from the crowds, Daikanyama is the ideal spot for you, to just simply immerse yourself in the artsy vibes while strolling around. There are cafes galore in this neighbourhood so you can rest assured that you can get your caffeine fix right here in Daikanyama.

Source: Condé Nast Traveler

Source: Tokyo Table

Nearest Station: Daikanyama Station (Tokyu Line)

 Kanda

Right smack in the neighbourhood that is surrounded by five of Tokyo’s major universities is Jimbocho Booktown, the literary haven for bookworms.

Source: Tokyoing

Bookstores, young and old are bound by extensive collections of books of every interest. This is the true dream of a literary lover.

Nearest Station: Jimbocho Station (Tokyo Metro Subway and Toei Subway Line)

Music enthusiasts will be excited to know that Kanda's Ochanomizu has an entire street dedicated to music stores, jazz bars and music clubs.

 

Source: Tokyo Business Today

Nearest Station: Ochanomizu Station (Tokyo Metro Line)

Ameyoko

Now, this is the true Singaporean heaven - D I S C O U N T S. Just when everyone thought that everything in Japan is expensive, Ameyoko provides tourists with crazy discounts from clothes to accessories, to even fresh seafood and fruits.

Ameyoko

Source: Navitime Travel

Ameyoko1

Source: scene.sg

Keep a lookout for the famed Shimura Candy Shop that sells chocolates from local and international manufacturers at heavily discounted prices.

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Source: Wa-Oh! Japan

Nearest Station: Ueno Station (Keisei Line)

 Odaiba

Source: Japan Guide

Odaiba is possibly one of the most underrated shopping and entertainment districts in Tokyo. With a wide variety of shopping malls, museums and attraction, Odaiba is the best destination for families and young couples that want to avoid the bustling crowds.

There are also aplenty of Tax Free shops in the malls so be sure to grab your Tax Free guide at their respective Information Counters and go on a shopping spree!

Source: Japan Guide

Source: Thesfarm

Some of Odaiba’s iconic landmarks are the Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower (seen from afar) and a smaller size replica of the Statue of Liberty.

Source: Tokyobling

If you are looking for an alternative transport experience, you can travel to Odaiba from Asakusa by the Tokyo Water Bus.

Source: Japan Guide

Besides shopping malls, there are museums, indoor theme parks (Onsen theme park, anyone?) so you can be sure that a day out at Odaiba would be an eventful one.

Source: Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari

Source: Go Tokyo 

Nearest Station: Daiba Station (Yurikamome Line)

Now that you are armed with this alternative guide to Tokyo, ditch the touristy spots and explore these neighbourhoods. Who knows, you might discover a different side of Tokyo and fall in love with this city a little more.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your flights to Tokyo now! Prices starting fr $318 with our current flash sale deals.


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