1. Spring Valley Brewery
    Photo: Spring Valley BrewerySpring Valley Brewery
  2. Mocha Coffee
    Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa Mocha Coffee

15 best things to do in Daikanyama

Vintage shops, galleries, speakeasies, cafés and more – Tokyo's coolest neighbourhood is a mix of the city's best bits

Written by
Time Out editors
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Daikanyama has earned itself a reputation as a highbrow neighbourhood of brunch spots, third wave coffee stands and designer boutiques, but the area isn't as pretentious as you might think. The green-filled neighbourhood is full of local businesses where the owners know their patrons by name (like our favourite takoyaki stand Tempu) and relaxed hangouts like Spring Valley Brewery – built on disused Tokyu Line tracks – make the area more welcoming than snooty. 

It's easy to see why Daikanyama was named Tokyo's coolest neighbourhood in 2021 – it's a mash-up of all of Tokyo’s best bits. You’ve got niche art galleries you might find in Roppongi mixed with the underground music venues of Shimokitazawa, lively Shibuya-style bars and enough trendy boutiques to rival Ginza – all in one place. There’s a lot going on here, with something for everyone whether you’re into bargain hunting or fine dining, but nothing feels out of place. 

To get you started exploring the neighbourhood, here’s our list of the best things to do in Daikanyama.

RECOMMENDED: Explore more of the city with the 101 best things to do in Tokyo

Food and drink

  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Daikanyama
  • price 2 of 4

A darling little coffee shop with glass walls that make it feel a bit like a greenhouse, Mocha Coffee offers a surprisingly niche selection of hand-drip coffee using beans sourced from Yemen and other parts of the Arabian Peninsula as well as Turkey. There are about 12 kinds of single-origin coffee on offer, which are served in charming china coffee cups. If you don’t know your way around Arabic coffee, owner Maiko Miyake is happy to explain the nuances of the different beans and their flavour profiles. Choices range from the sweet and nutty Haraz coffee from Yemen to dark and thick Turkish coffee with Turkish sweets on the side. 

Not a big fan of coffee? Order an Arabic milk tea brewed with cardamom, rosewater and saffron to pair with a slice of homemade cake.

  • Restaurants
  • Shibuya

There are few things more satisfying than a fresh batch of takoyaki after a long night of karaoke, best paired with a frothy cold beer. This ubiquitous street snack consists of a tender piece of octopus encased in a gooey, piping hot batter made with spring onions and pickled ginger, and topped with a generous drizzle of sauce. Tempu owner Masahide Sakuramoto is from Osaka, where the dish originates. He serves perfectly golden brown spheres fresh off the griddle in this brightly lit standing-only eatery where customers pour their own drinks and pass dishes to each other in cheerful comradery.

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  • Nightlife
  • Daikanyama

Established by the crew behind annual electronic music festival Zipang, Débris in Daikanyama puts on a wide range of events, from club nights to art exhibitions and film screenings. The interiors and sound system were built with the help of artists and other creatives who earned their stripes at Japanese outdoor festivals, and the result is a quirky crisscross of tastes and sensibilities.

Open the door that looks like the entrance to a Prohibition-era speakeasy and you’ll soon find yourself in a flashy ‘neo-Asian’ cavern decorated with daruma dolls and neon signs. The bar serves up cocktails made with craft spirits from around the world, while the P.B. Restaurant by the entrance lets you savour aromatic Chinese tea and congee. The restaurant's shelves are stacked with rare books selected by the operators of 'mobile library' Paradise Books. All in all, Débris is the kind of spot that works just as well at lunchtime as in those feverish late-night moments before the last train.

  • Restaurants
  • Daikanyama

An offshoot of the Michelin-starred tempura specialist Tempura Motoyoshi, this is a takeaway store offering one of its sister restaurant’s signature items – deep-fried sweet potato tempura (imo means potato in Japanese). You could just get a piece to go (¥500), but we highly recommended the Noto salt-flavoured milk soft serve with pieces of deep-fried sweet potato and topped with crispy tempura bits. 

This inventive dessert is sensational. The warm sweet potato with its lightly crisp skin has been cooked for an hour to render its flesh buttery soft. It’s the perfect foil for the cold and creamy soft serve, while the sprinkling of salt brings all these flavours together to create one satisfying dessert. The cup soft serve offers three pieces of sweet potato tempura while the granola cone option has two, both priced at ¥650 each.

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  • Restaurants
  • Daikanyama

It might look small from the outside, but this speciality roastery has a lot to offer, with a dozen kinds of coffee beans imported from around the world and roasted on-site. Owner Kenji Okauchi opened this coffee shop in 2014 with the ambition of creating a cheerful neighbourhood haunt where locals could casually drop by to pick up freshly ground, single-origin beans or a drip coffee to go. 

The upstairs café overlooks the street with the window-side table perfect for people-watching as you sip your brew. A menu of freshly baked cakes and pastries is also available to accompany your cuppa.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Daikanyama
  • price 1 of 4

Get Mexican food with added buzz at this hip ninth-floor eatery in central Daikanyama. A far cry from the kitsch decor you'd find at countless other Mexican joints around town, Hacienda del Cielo is suitably named ‘place in the sky’ as it’s all lofty ceilings, lounge-style seating and tall windows with views, with a central chandelier modelled on the Mayan snake deity Kukulkan (no, really).

If the restaurant area is full, you can always eat at the bar instead, and the action spills out onto a spacious rooftop terrace when the weather's good. The food menu sticks mainly to familiar staples such as tacos, fajitas and tableside guacamole. If you're here in the evenings, you’ll pay top-dollar for bottles of imported Mexican beer, frozen margaritas or – if you're feeling brave – a chili-laced Cajun martini.

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  • Restaurants
  • Burgers
  • Daikanyama
  • price 1 of 4

No fancy truffle, foie gras or blue cheese toppings here. This long-standing burger joint in Daikanyama takes the minimal approach with fillings of lettuce, tomato and maybe some cheddar with nothing else to distract you from the patty itself.

It’s a burger that’s perfectly imperfect, with slightly uneven ridges and a messy drizzle of a sauce reminiscent of thousand island dressing, but don’t let its no-frills appearance fool you — the burgers here are far from your standard patties.A5-grade wagyu is coarsely ground so that the hand-shaped patties can retain a good amount of texture before they are grilled, flipped, and sandwiched in a house-made bun. You can choose between one or up to four patties for your burger, depending on how hungry you are – but be prepared to queue as it’s a popular joint with only four seats for eating-in.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Daikanyama
  • price 2 of 4

Set into a lofty former warehouse, a size rarely encountered in snugly fit Tokyo, this brewery is popular with both locals and visitors to the city. It may be owned by beer behemoth Kirin, but Spring Valley Brewery offers beers of the craft variety. They are brewed on-site, visible behind enormous glass panels. 

The brewery’s six-variety lineup includes the crisp, bitter 496; the rich, fragrant After Dark; and the raspberry juice-infused Jazzberry. There's also an outdoor area to make the most of the good weather, and you can combine your visit with a wander through the rest of the Log Road development and trendy Daikanyama area.

Things to do

  • Shopping
  • Daikanyama

Going through the racks at Carboots fills you with the sort of excitement you’d get from exploring your grandparents' attic, with treasures like antique biscuit tins, old black and white photographs and vintage buttons from a bygone era. A small shop found along a quiet residential street in Daikanyama, Carboots offers a selection of vintage goods that date from the 19th century to the 1980s, primarily sourced from France and England

These aren’t just any old-timey finds either – the shop’s owner makes a point of travelling to France every two to three months to search for authentic antiques, collecting things that you wouldn’t otherwise stumble across in Tokyo, like Hermes playing cards or 1970’s Euro Football memorabilia. Outside of its trusted overseas purveyors, Carboots doesn’t accept second hand goods or antiques from those looking to clear their storage space. On top of these heirloom knicknacks, you’ll also find pre-loved designer clothes and genuine leather handbags from brands like Louis Vuitton, Celine and Chanel.

  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Daikanyama

Perhaps the most famous resident of the neighbourhood is Daikanyama T-Site – a bookshop-café complex managed by rental chain Tsutaya. The site itself, designed by Klein Dytham Architecture, has won several accolades for its buildings, which were designed to evoke the concept of a library in the woods. There are six categories featured at the bookshop, with many titles in English, ranging from food and drink to graphic design and architecture. 

On the ground floor is a Starbucks where bibliophiles can get a seasonal drink to sip as they read, or for something stronger, head to the snazzier lounge on the second floor serving wine and cocktails. Seats here are hard to come by if you don’t get there early, but you could easily spend a good two hours browsing the aisles of zines and magazines, Japanese stationery and travel books. Music lovers should check upstairs,  where there’s an array of 120,000 CDs ranging from classical jazz to 80s rock music that you can sample at any of the 40 seated listening stations.

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  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Daikanyama

At this welcoming sip-and-paint class open to artists of all levels, the instructors have one philosophy: the more wine you drink as you paint, the more interesting your work becomes. And with the free-flow of wine included with every session at Artbar, your creative potential is virtually limitless. 

At the beginning of each class (from ¥5,500), attendees get a blank canvas and paint palette as the instructor walks you through a particular artwork. Some nights, this will be a re-creation of Monet’s iconic ‘Starry Night’ while on others, it will be one of Jackson Pollock’s paint splatter works. How many creative liberties you want to take is completely up to you. Want to give your ‘Mona Lisa’ a jaunty little hat or a distinguished mustache? Go right ahead.

  • Attractions
  • Harajuku

Also known as the Kyu Asakura House, this beautiful traditional Taisho-era (1912-1926) mansion was built by a local politician and  former chairman of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly known as Tojiro Asakura. Standing in contrast to the nearby Hillside Terrace complex, the house is a perfectly preserved example of early 20th-century Japanese architecture, with a roughly 5,500sqm Japanese garden surrounding it. A visit costs just ¥100, but because of the delicate condition of the wooden floor boards and tatami mat rooms, you will have to remove your shoes and wear socks before entering the building.

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  • Art
  • Daikanyama

Hillside Forum is a free-to-enter gallery space in Daikanyama’s Hillside Terrace complex. Past exhibitions have included a series of black and white portraits shot by Japanese photographer Hiro Kimura and a Japan-inspired collection by British artist Mr. Doodle featuring live drawings by the man himself. 

As the space is frequently used for highbrow art auctions, rare works by renowned artists from both Japan and overseas can be found here – artworks by the likes of Yayoi Kusama, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madsaki have all made appearances.

  • Things to do
  • Ikejiri-Ohashi

Daikanyama may be best known for its stylish architecture, upmarket boutiques, and affluent residents with well-dressed small dogs. Less well known is the secluded Saigoyama Park off the main street, Kyuyamate-dori, a nine-minute walk from Daikanyama Station. Don’t expect the manicured lawns of a traditional Japanese garden – the park is left a little wild, a welcome contrast to the sophisticated surroundings, which creates a relaxed feel, making the area great for kids and pets.

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  • Shopping
  • Nakameguro

With its wood floors, chilled-out vibe and in-store espresso bar, this Daikanyama outpost does a good job of re-creating the appeal of the original Saturdays Surf shop in Soho, New York. There are some beautifully crafted surfboards and wetsuits on offer, but you don't have to be a surfer to enjoy the place: just browse the selection of apparel, accessories and art, then grab a coffee, head out onto the wooden deck outside and enjoy the view.

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