Daikanyama: Shibuya’s Stylish Laid Back Sister

For many first time visitors to Japan, Tokyo is usually defined by the major stations on the Yamanote Line. Shinjuku for department stores and skyscrapers, Harajuku and Shibuya for a glimpse at Japanese youth culture, Akihabara for electronics, games and maids and the area around Asakusa for a look back at traditional Japan. However, just one station away (or a 10 minute walk) from Shibuya one enters a more relaxed and down-tempo version of Tokyo. Daikanyama offers upscale shoppers everything their heart could desire, and more!

Located in between the bustling center of Shibuya and the more laid back and residential Naka-Meguro on the Tokyu Toyoko Line and in close proximity to Ebisu, Daikanyama is easily accessible, rich in green areas, and home to an impressive number of first rate cafes and restaurants. On top of this, the streets are lined with delicious small pastry shops, and a wide variety of independent boutiques, as well as many of the Tokyo branches of high class fashion labels.

One of the first “landmarks” you will notice in Daikanyama will without a doubt be the large flower sculpture, which could also be mistaken for a plastic palm tree rendition. The flower sculpture stands in front of one of the area’s biggest shopping complexes: Daikanyama Address. While it is worth starting your shopping here, you may want to explore some other locations, especially the small and winded side streets, with its tiny but cute boutiques, before making final decisions.

In addition to this, the Hillside Terrace complex for example makes for an alternative view of Daikanyama. Designed by Fumihiko Maki, architect of the Spiral Building near Omotesando, this stylish building complex offers some very interesting cafes, restaurants, shops and a design library, catering to those in search of hard-to-find art books.

As mentioned above, the unusual abundance of lush, green parks puts Daikanyama into a rather unique position in the central Tokyo area. Saigoyama Park is the favourite relaxation spot of the Daikanyama locals, and a number of other major parks are just a short trip away. These include Yoyogi Park, Prince Arisugawa Memorial Park and Meiji Jingu Gaien.

Furthermore, for prospective long-term residents, the growing number of International Schools in the vicinity or with school bus stops in the area has made Daikanyama increasingly attractive to foreign visitors as well. Institutions such as the Aoba-Japan International School, Sacred Heart, Seien IS, ASIJ, St. Mary’s and the British School in Tokyo among many others offer a plethora of curricula, so you can be sure to find the perfect school for your child.

In terms of medical support, Daikanyama has a lot to offer as well. International clinics with English speaking staff are available in the vicinity and some even offer emergency services. The Tokyo British Clinic is close by and other clinics such as the Garden Clinic Hiroo and St. Luke’s International Hospital are accessible from Daikanyama Station.
For all of these reasons, whether you are coming to Tokyo for a week of sightseeing, or have decided to move to Japan with long-term plans, a day out in Daikanyama will definitely be worth your time. Come and see a different Tokyo, experience a slower paced, natural and relaxed side of the capital.

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