Self-Guided Jiyuugaoka: A Savory and Sweet Tour
By Serena Ogawa
Explore our top picks around Tokyo's little Europe
Located only around a 10-minute train ride from Shibuya, Jiyugaoka is a must-visit city for travelers. It possesses a diverse range of stylish fashion stores, trendy coffee shops, and many lovely restaurants.
The first place on our list of must-visit places is the Alpha Beta Coffee Club. With only a two-minute walk from Jiyugaoka Station, here is a craft coffee shop with much more to offer than others. This spot is such a lifesaver for those looking for open working space or a change of air and, if you are a regular coffee drinker but too busy to make your own cup every day, a monthly subscription to their range of coffee is also available. There are also five taps of craft beer at Alpha Beta Coffee Club with two sizes, medium at 240ml for ¥650, and pints at 470ml for ¥1,200. Other than that, the Alpha Beta Coffee Club also offers you a light snack selection, such as a range of specialty sandwiches.
Jiyugaoka is not much of a nightlife area but it still contains several neighborhood bars. One of which is a Potato Cream, a minimalistic little bar that serves mashed potatoes for a light but satisfying snack. As its name suggests, most of the dishes here are potato-contained and decorated in small cups in case you want to take it out. There are potato salads with irresistible cream creations, topped with a handful of veggies and meat. The most popular dish in its diverse menu is the turnip and chicken with Gorgonzola cheese and potato cream, priced reasonably at ¥525. You can try its special seasonal highlights like a light pork-and-mushroom creation or a hearty shrimp mashed potato dish, at only a slightly higher price than usual.
For more sophisticated dining, take a 20-minute walk to Yakumo Saryo to savor BareBurger. Originated in New York, this burger restaurant uses mostly organic ingredients and additive-free buns. There is a wide variety of options, ranging from the New York-style dishes to the localized ones; the Tsukune Burger made of minced chicken is a highly-recommended item on the menu. Other than that, salads, sandwiches, organic beer, and wine are also common orders here. This Jiyugaoka store allows vegetarians to design their own burgers and enjoy those the way they like.
Another must-try spot for veggie lovers is Saido, which has become widely popular since its opening 3 years ago. Saido is a vegan restaurant whose mission is to enhance the beauty of Japanese cuisine through the original flavor of meat-free products. Even though it's not located on the main street, as well as not having quite a large space, it still attracts many customers in its own way with its impressive menu, consisting of ramen, "pork" cutlet rice bowl, but without any animal products or refined sugar.
Here comes the last place on our list, but it's definitely worth your visit. Tea lovers can't leave Jiyugaoka without visiting the century-old Tea House Kosoan, which is located in a secret garden surrounded by a calm space away from the city’s hustle and bustle. This aesthetic tea house is not easy to find, with its charming entrance through a garden that creates a mysterious atmosphere. They offer both Japanese and English menus with matcha-with-sweets as one of the most popular here, priced affordably at ¥900. Why not spend your time here, enjoying the taste of a special tea while immersing yourself in this peaceful scenery?
Whether you’re looking for a restaurant to enjoy your meals or a place for relaxation, you’re guaranteed to find a perfect spot in Jiyugaoka to while away some time. Come and visit Jiyugaoka, Tokyo, your breath will be taken away by its authentic Japanese touch and the vibe of Europe’s most fashionable cities.
A 10-minute train ride from Shibuya Station or 30 minutes from Yokohama Station via the Toyoko line.
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