Side Trips

1/2Day

Shimo-Kitazawa, home to Tokyo’s
subcultures

Shimo-
Kitazawa

This is a popular area filled with hip stores selling all sorts of goods, small theaters, and clubs offering live music. Shimo-Kitazawa is well known for being deep at the heart of music and other subculture trends. Make sure to check out the back streets, too, which are lined with used clothing stores selling high-quality fashion and restaurants that are all the rage.

Getting to Shimo-Kitazawa

Recommended tourist attractions

Shimo-Kitazawa Shopping District

This shopping district has many shops with an original flair. Many of them are an important part of the fabric of life here, and there are also many temples in the area. An aspect of the area that should not be overlooked is the new cafés that have appeared and the so-called shutter gallery made up of artistic murals decorating storefront shutters. The district association pays for the painting supplies and training, and the youth association puts on the paint base so that art students and designers can volunteer to make works of art as a way to practice their skills.

Used Clothes and Vintage Shops

Shimo-Kitazawa is one of the best used clothing districts in Japan, and the vintage shops are too numerous to mention. Whether it’s low prices or something you can’t find anywhere else, there’s a shop for every taste in fashion. Enjoy shopping while out for a stroll!

Honda Theater

The Honda Theater is home to a famous troupe and actors. Said to be one of the characteristic theaters of Shimo-Kitazawa, the Honda Theater opened in 1982 and its presence is one of the reasons the area is known as “Theater Town.” An exhibition area for lithography is located in the underground parking area. Known as “Hoshi no Tegata,” it features the handprints and autographs of entertainers.

Suzunari Playhouse

This historical playhouse retains its atmosphere of the Showa era, which occupied most of the twentieth century. The theater is located in Shimo-Kitazawa, the center of Tokyo’s “Theater Town,” and has 180 seats. Among the variety of playhouses large and small in Shimo-Kitazawa, some have seats so close to the stage, you can hear the breathing of the actors. And when walking in the area, you may very well catch glimpses of actors walking on the streets along with everyone else.

Kitazawa Hachiman-jinja shrine

This shrine is located about a 15-minute walk from Shimo-Kitazawa Station. It was constructed to house a tutelary deity that, in order to protect the northern end of Setagaya, underwent spiritual division and transfer by the Kira clan that ruled the area. A community institution beloved by the locals, the shrine has giant koi windsocks flying on the grounds. Their well-known Reitaisai festival is held on the first weekend of September each year. The festival program includes a variety of events such as the wadaiko (Japanese drum), ohayashi (traditional music ensemble), Edo kagura (ritualistic dancing and singing), classical gagaku music and miko dancing.

Tamaiya

Hardly unchanged since first created in 1913, the popular snack arare is sold here with that same strong flavor and great crunch. Even people who have never tried it often say it brings back warm memories of homemade snacks.

The Awa Odori Dance of Shimo-Kitazawa

When the Obon season of August comes around each year, awa odori dancing breaks out at the Shimo-Kitazawa Ichiban-gai shopping district at the North Exit of Shimo-Kitazawa Station.

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