By Kasia Szumna
Jiyūgaoka is a town known for its class, but maybe it should also be known for its quaint streets and delicious foods. There are nine fun stops on this two-hour walking tour where you can also try sweet and savory foods in (mostly) small servings; the terrain is relatively smooth and makes for an easygoing walk around town as you take in the sights while you munch away.
At a glance: Savory and Sweet Tour Route
1. Peter Rabbit Garden Café
The charming childhood tale of Peter Rabbit is brought to life at this Japanese café with garden terrace and indoor dining. A Peter Rabbit plush animal sits at every table to bring the story to life while you choose from a menu of baked hamburger pie, roast beef, caramel French toast, and more. The restaurant is presented by Rakeru—a popular restaurant chain—but this is the only place you can experience the dreamlike atmosphere with Peter and friends.
$$ / Open daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m. / TEL 03-3725-4118 for reservations
1-chome-25-20 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
2. Lindt Chocolat Cafe
Perhaps not Japanese, but this Swiss purveyor of chocolate, truffles, and confections makes for a great stop along the way. Inside you’ll find prettily packaged sweets and individually wrapped truffles with fantastic flavors like espresso, coconut, and salted caramel; you can even make a mix-and-match box of truffles and pick it up later or use one of the mailing slips and send yourself (or a loved one) a box of chocolate.
$$$ / Open daily 9 a.m.–8 p.m. / TEL 03-5726-8921
2-chome-9-2 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
3. Today’s Special
It’s time to take a break from snacks and take a look at some beautiful hand-crafted and imported homeware. In this niche store you can find spices, pickled vegetables, homemade preserves; not to mention chopsticks and interesting chopstick holders (hashioki) shaped like common Japanese garden vegetables and animals. The shop also has a second floor accessible by stairs.
$$ / Open daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m. / TEL 03-5729-7131
2-chome−17−８ 1F 2F Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
Behold Dayan and friends—characters made by Ikeda Akiko in 1976—on assorted goods from puzzles to t-shirts, keychains to IC card cases; there are so many items with Dayan on them. The first Wachifield shop was opened in Jiyūgaoka in 1984. You can even find copies of the picture books where Dayan made his debut. These characters are very cute and popular across Japan.
$$$ / Open daily 11 a.m.–7 p.m. / TEL 03-3725-0881
2-chome-19-5 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
5: Chube do Shokora
With so many varieties of chocolate bark to choose from; you may spend a while at this next stop. This sweet shop boasts plain chocolate bark—in milk, bitter, white, matcha, or strawberry—and chocolate bark with additional ingredients, like marshmallows, almond, orange peel, macadamia nuts, or crunch. And be sure to try the tiramisu bark.
$$ / Open daily 11:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m. / TEL 03-6383-1328
2-chome-20-5 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
6. La Vita
This next stop is perhaps best enjoyed with an ice-cold chocolatey drink from Chube do Shokora. Take in this small shopping center designed to look like an Italian plaza, complete with a gondola on the river—sadly, you cannot ride it. There a few shops around the square as well as an impressive clock tower, but most of all the ambience of the rivers and bridge are what make this stop worthwhile.
Free / Open daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
2-chome-8-3 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
7: Jiyūgaoka Kumano Shrine
Not much is known about the Jiyūgaoka Kumano Shrine. It’s more than 800 years old; it hosts an annual friendship festival; it’s well known by locals. But it still makes for a great and quick stop on this walking tour of the town. Purify your hands and offer up a prayer before getting a fortune (omikuji).
Free / Open daily
1-chome-24-12 Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
8. Potato Cream
If you like mashed potatoes (and who doesn’t?), this next stop is going to be heavenly. Potato Cream is a small shop nestled in a narrow side street but absolutely worth going to. Choose from an assortment of toppings, like spicy ground chicken and vegetables, eggplant and tomato, or how about turnip and Gorgonzola cheese!? Eat in the indoor standing area or take them to go.
$ / Closed Wednesdays; weekdays 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m.; weekends 12 a.m.–7 p.m. / TEL 03-3725-0222
1-chome−25−２ 1F, Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
9: Bake Cheese Tart
The last stop on this tour may seem like it’s out of the way but you shouldn’t overlook it, especially if you love cheese, tarts, or cheesecake! These fresh cheese tarts are made with whipped cream cheese and are almost a mousse-like texture. The tart itself is crunchy and crumbly. They’re served warm and practically melt in your mouth; or take a box of six home and have them chilled.
$ / Open daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m. / TEL 03-5726-8861
1-chome−31−10 BAKE ビル １F, Jiyūgaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0035
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