Tokyo on a Whim: 自由が丘 Jiyugaoka

A neighborhood stroll through 自由が丘 Jiyugaoka.

Jiyugaoka, two stops from Shibuya on the Tokyu Toyoko Line, is a neighborhood known for its cake shops, bake shops, and fashionable shops, a sophisticated residential area that has a European feel, but there are still traces of the older days that give its charm.

【熊野神社】(Kumano Shrine) — A peaceful sanctuary in the backstreets of the busy shops and cafes. The Jiyugaoka area was a bamboo grove before the opening of the Toyoko Line (1927), but now there is only a small trace of the bamboo left in the Kumano Shrine.

七むすび】(Shichimusubi) — A posh おむすび (omusubi; rice ball) shop that sells rice balls made with organic rice.

【寿々木屋】(Suzukiya) — Local butcher shop selling yakitori-to-go.

【大衆酒場 DOUZE 12】(Japanese pub) — Day or night, when you need a buzz, these vintage posters will lure you in.  大衆酒場 (taishūsakaba) are usually open earlier and are more casual than 居酒屋 (izakaya).

Baguette Rabbit】(bakery) — Less than a ten minute walk from the station, they sell a variety of baguettes as well as sweet and savory pastries.

Their popular キャラメルバナナデニッシュ (caramel banana pastry) — salty caramel glazed banana on a bed of custard cream and flaky puff pastry — sounds sweet but it was a perfect balance.

【Sunset Coffee】(coffee stand) — If you need a quick break or if you want to have coffee with your caramel banana danish. There are benches across the stand, in front of Aesop, where you can perch and relax. (top photo)

Jiyugaoka gets quite busy on the weekends, but you can always turn to Kumano Shrine where this vintage winking seesaw will welcome you with a smile for a quiet break.

Ready to explore Jiyugaoka? Tap on the flash and stroll away!

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