With two and a half days on either side of our two week journey through Japan, we initially stayed in tourist hub, Shibuya at Granbell Hotel. Only steps away from the train station, I loved beginning our travels in Shibuya as it placed us close to key attractions like the Shibuya Crossing, Yoyogi Park and the Hachikō statue. It was also close to a few of the restaurants and cafés I wanted to visit because what trip is complete without a bit of café hopping, am I right? The hotel itself was one of the few boutique properties in a city known for its global, towering chains.
Only a short bike ride from Shibuya is Daikanyama, a quiet local area where you’ll find Tokyo’s (maybe even the world’s) most beautiful bookstore, Tsutaya Books. I was seriously tempted to fill my suitcase with dozens of coffee table books and magazines. Nicknamed, “A Library in the Woods”, the building itself is gorgeous and reminiscent of California-style architecture. I couldn’t help gazing at the people inside as well, all impeccably dressed. Be sure to grab a drink on Log Road, similar to New York’s High Line, you’ll find freestanding bars, stores and cafés. My favourite was Spring Valley Brewery. A particularly local area, Daikanyama manages to feel quiet and community-focused in bustling Shibuya.
My two favourite cafés in the area were Little Nap (pictured) and About Life Coffee Roasters. There’s a whole street of ramen restaurants right across from Shibuya Station, so you really can’t go wrong!
One of the most remarkable things about Shibuya are the buildings’ facades. They are often discreet and perfectly tidy; yielding incredible shops, restaurants and cafés inside. Michelin-starred ramen shops sit beside aged apartment blocks and world-renown cafés (Kafe Mameya, for instance) are hidden deep within tiny alleyways. Shibuya is a labyrinth, an area that would take years to fully experience.
This series reads more like a general guide because Tokyo is best spent wandering and exploring, rather than following a typical tourist agenda.