Never mind that it’s hidden far out in the western suburbs: Barber Shop Takeda is the salon of choice for discerning (and mostly bearded) Tokyoites looking for a close shave in distinctly old-school surroundings. On the other hand, if it’s one of those spiky anime hairstyles you want, go elsewhere – the cheerful Mr Takeda is all about keeping it real, from the techniques and banter down to the vintage tools he so skilfully utilises.
Order the ‘gentlemen’s regular’ (¥4,000), and you’ll first be treated to a tender noggin wash. Then comes the haircut, which displays the best of Takeda’s craftsmanship: shaver use is kept at a minimum, with scissors instead employed even for the finest trimming. For the final touches, any extra hairs are taken out with a straight razor, resulting in a pleasant, smooth feel around the neck and ears. Any tension you might have felt is then blown away with an efficient shoulder massage.
Last up is the beard shave, which makes for a spa-level experience in itself: you’ll hardly feel the razor on your skin, but the result speaks for itself. Finally, the steaming hot towels used to warm your chin are simply addictive. After one visit to Takeda’s, going back to your neighbourhood barber will definitely feel like a letdown.
2-31-16 Kikunodai, Chofu-shi (Shibasaki Station). 042 483 1145. barber1969.com.