For all the glitz and glamour of Tokyo, sometimes it does all get a bit too much and you end up lusting for something that bit more down to earth. When that happens you could certainly do a lot worse than doing what we do and heading on into Shimokitazawa – the boho hub of Tokyo. I suppose if Koenji is the alternative alternative fashion centre (Yes, sometimes you do need an alt to the alt) then Shimokitazawa is the home of alternative lifestyle.
This is a place in Tokyo where the concept of vegetarianism is readily understood, organic hemp jeans are ten a penny and you can get your ol’ chakra’s re-aligned for 1000 yen. Not that that is the draw for most people, because as I discovered in my student days in Tokyo, this place is quite simply cheaper and thoroughly more down to earth than anywhere else in Tokyo.
Continue reading for a look into the aesthetics of this boho capital a 10 minute train ride from Shibuya
Like I said in my introduction, this is one popular place with students or anyone living a budget lifestyle, so you get an abundance of struggling artists, musicians and the like. As a visitor you can expect pretty much everything to be on sale, a cheap meal in un-pretentious surroundings and a good gig in the evening to finish it all off.
Aside from the lifestyle which I have been very fortunate to have actually lived I am personally a big fan of the dilapidated, yet designed aesthetic that permeates the whole area. Whether it is street art or architecture, every little detail seems to have been designed at some point (before it fell apart).
It was due to that personal affinity that, when we came to do a bit of a re-design on the site, we chose to use imagery from Shimokitazawa as a starting point for the aesthetic of the site. We want to work through a couple more areas of Tokyo in time, but right now we felt that Shimokitazawa reflects our down-to-earth approach to fashion and life that we have here at Tokyo Telephone.
As you can see it is a pretty visually exciting place, not necessarily as edgy as Koenji or bright as Shinjuku but it does have a saturation of character that can sometimes get lost in the mess of overhead cables and graffiti, but is always there if you look.
My advice is go for a good wander amongst the mix of artisans, cavernous vintage shops and feel, probably for the first time in Tokyo, that you are completely un-judged and free to do as you please.