Daikanyama T-site
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Daikanyama is officially the coolest neighbourhood in Tokyo in 2021

Ranked 35th on the world's coolest neighbourhoods list, this green-filled weekend hangout is the perfect place to leave your worries behind

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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In time for the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Tokyo and across the globe, we’re back with another list of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods – and Tokyo’s Daikanyama is one of them. Based on the annual Time Out Index survey of 27,000 people around the world, Daikanyama was ranked as Tokyo’s coolest neighbourhood.

Debris
Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaDébris

Mind you, there are lots of ways to define ‘cool’. There are obvious factors that make the area deserving of the title, like the speakeasy Débris that’s disguised as a congee shop – a surefire way to impress your friends – or the hybrid Starbucks-art-bookstore we all know as T-Site. Then, there are the nuances of the neighbourhood that you only get to know once you’ve spent some time exploring it.  

Mocha Coffee
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaMocha Coffee

Aside from ever-popular weekend destinations like Spring Valley Brewery at the Log Road complex and Hacienda del Cielo (what better place is there to catch the sunset with a frozen margarita?), there are the gems that you happen across when weaving around Daikanyama’s backstreets, like the antique shop Carboots or Mocha Coffee

Log Road Daikanyama
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaLog Road Daikanyama

And while the area’s abundance of coffee shops and designer boutiques often sees Daikanyama lumped in with high-end shopping districts like Omotesando, most of the shops here are small local businesses where the owners know their patrons by name. 

Carboots
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaCarboots

Globally, Daikanyama came in at No 35 out of the 49 coolest neighbourhoods in the world. It might not sound like much, but remember, thanks to travel pandemic restrictions, people outside Japan haven’t had much chance to experience Daikanyama’s effortlessly cool vibe this year – here’s hoping they’ll get their chance soon.

It’s not an electric nightlife hub like Shinjuku, or as flashy and fashionable as Harajuku. But this year, in a time full of worry and uncertainty, Daikanyama’s airy terraces and friendly shop owners were everything we needed and more. 

Don't miss our guide on the best things to do in Daikanyama.

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