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.

Ah memories…

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.


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7 Responses to Shimokitazawa – Tokyo Boho

  1. Mutsumi says:

    I wanted to see Shimokitawaza during my stay in Tokyo..but my friends totally didn’t understand it & in the end we didn’t go…definitely going to show them your pictures now!!!

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  3. Tokyo Telephone says:

    Sorry to say it, but you (and your friends) really missed out, well I suppose there is always next time…

  4. Eva Shandor says:

    Loved Shimo when I went there… There is an awesome second hand kimono shop on the north side of the station, and this tiny bar near the rail tracks.

    Have you been to the jazz burger joint on the south?

  5. Tokyo Telephone says:

    I know which one you mean, but I don’t think I have ever been inside the burger place. Shimokitazawa is such a great place, I literally just discovered an amazing new jewelry shop on the north side which I have managed to walk past easily a hundred times!

  6. danielle goodwin says:

    do you have a vintage shop map for shimokitazawa?

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hi Danielle – Unfortunately not, but Shimokitazawa is so packed with vintage shops you can’t help but fall over them!

    If there was a specific one you had in mind, we might be able to find it on a map for you.

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