Photo: Akulamatiau/DreamstimeShimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa is one of the world's top 10 coolest neighbourhoods in 2022

Ranked 7th on the annual list, this indie neighbourhood in Tokyo has recently evolved into a hotspot for foodies

Kaila Imada
Written by
Kaila Imada

Time Out’s annual list of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods couldn’t have come at a better time with Japan now finally reopened to the world. And Shimokitazawa (or Shimokita, as the locals affectionately call it) has reclaimed the title as Tokyo’s coolest ‘hood after being awarded the honour back in 2019. Conveniently, Shimokita is just one stop away (on the express train) from Shibuya Station.

After combining data from roughly 20,000 city-dwellers across the globe, Shimokitazawa was ranked in seventh place out of 51 neighbourhoods worldwide. Shimokita is behind only Colonia Americana in Guadalajara (No 1), Cais do Sodré in Lisbon (No 2), Wat Bo Village in Siem Reap (No 3), Ridgewood in New York City (No 4), Mile End in Montreal (No 5) and Barrio Logan in San Diego (No 6).

Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaReload Shimokitazawa

Shimokita has always been a hip hub, but the area's recent new additions have really upped its cool factor. In particular, there's an influx of new shopping and dining complexes including Mikan Shimokita, Reload, Tefu Lounge and Bonus Track, which are now hailed as some of the hottest eating and drinking destinations in Tokyo. Moreover, you don't have to break the bank to enjoy a great meal as these facilities are home to many affordable cafés and restaurants.

Hi Monsieur
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaHi Monsieur

Coffee aficionados and café lovers will appreciate Shimokitazawa’s many coffee haunts including Ogawa Coffee Laboratory, Hi Monsieur and Brooklyn Roasting Company. Food wise, the ‘hood is also known for its high concentration of speciality curry restaurants such as Ten to Sen for curry ramen and Curry Spice Gelateria Kalpasi for spice-infused gravy and gelato.

ソーマ シモキタザワ
Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaSoma Shimokitazawa

One thing that hasn’t changed is the neighbourhood’s range of vintage and thrift shops. It's worth checking out New York Joe Exchange for cheap designer duds and Soma for rare vintage kicks.

由縁別邸 代田/Photo:Kisa Toyoshima
Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaYuen Bettei Daita

Looking to stay a night or two? New accommodations have popped up in the last few years including the trendy Mustard Hotel and the gorgeous ryokan Yuen Bettei Daita. The latter even has an inhouse onsen that can be used by non-staying guests.

Need more reasons to visit? Check out our guide to the 40 best things to do in Shimokitazawa. Check out all 51 of the world's coolest neighbourhoods here

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