After combining the knowledge of more than 27,000 people around the world (who took part in the 2019 Time Out Index survey) and the expertise of local Time Out editors and city experts, we have now uncovered the world’s 50 coolest neighbourhoods – and one Tokyo district made the list. This also means the neighbourhood is officially the coolest in Tokyo. No, it’s not Shinjuku, or last year’s Yanaka, or Shibuya, but it’s close. In fact, it’s just six minutes away from Shibuya Station on the Keio-Inokashira Line. It’s… Shimokitazawa!
Affectionately known as ‘Shimokita’ by the locals, the neighbourhood is a favourite haunt of Tokyo’s creative and fashion sets, who come here for the vintage and consignment shops, record stores, independent cafés, restaurants and bars, as well as the seasonal street festivals.
Shimokitza’s style is more hip and grungy as compared to Harajuku’s saccharin-sweet cutesy overload. And soup curry is a speciality here. The neighbourhood has made a name for itself by perfecting this Hokkaido dish; those in the know often flock to Rojiura Curry Samurai or Ten To Sen (pictured). We also like seeking out hidden record shops that also double as a bar – because there’s no better way to spend a relaxing evening than listening to some smooth tunes with a drink in hand.
Shimokita’s cool cred has now gone global, especially since its inclusion in the list as the No. 2 coolest neighbourhood in the world, after Arroios in Lisbon. Other neighbourhoods that made it into the top 10 are Onikan (Lagos), Wedding (Berlin), Historic Filipinotown (Los Angeles), The Waterfront (Hobart), Strasbourg-Saint-Denis (Paris), Astoria (New York), Embajadores (Madrid), and Pilsen (Chicago).