Alight and explore: Top spots along the Tokyu Toyoko Line
When I first experienced life in Japan as an exchange student, I lived in a student dormitory located along the Tokyu Toyoko Line (東急東横線), which connects the bustling area of Shibuya to Yokohama, one of the largest cities in Japan. Although most tourists would understandably choose to visit the famous attractions, there are a few interesting locations along the Tokyu Toyoko Line that can offer you a breather from the crowds of the Tokyo metropolis.
The modern and stylish Daikanyama (TY-02)
DAIKANYAMA T-SITE TSUTAYA BOOKS in the background. (Image credit: photoAC)
The streets of Daikanyama. (Image credit: photoAC)
Our first stop is the stylish and trendy suburb, Daikanyama (代官山), which is also accessible by foot from Shibuya and Ebisu. The area here is a lot more spacious with fewer buildings crowded together, but Daikanyama is in no way lacking food establishments or fashion boutiques, from small local stores to larger brands like Onitsuka Tiger. It also boasts its own DAIKANYAMA T-SITE TSUTAYA BOOKS where you can unwind surrounded by a mix of greenery and aesthetically pleasing architecture. Once in a while, you may be able to catch some live music on the streets too. Essentially, Daikanyama is where you can relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, away from the crowds of Shibuya, yet also close enough to the main part of the city should you decide to head there.
Take a stroll along Meguro River in Nakameguro (TY-03)
Sakura in full bloom along the Meguro River. (Image credit: Grace Khoo)
Sakura along the Meguro River at night. (Image credit: photoAC)
The iconic Meguro River (目黒川) needs no introduction. A popular spot for viewing sakura in spring, this river is located near Nakameguro Station (中目黒駅) and is within walking distance from Daikanyama. When the sakura are in full bloom, the river welcomes many visitors who share in the beauty of the scenery. This is also where I saw sakura for the first time in my life! At other times of the year, the Meguro River is an ideal location for a quiet stroll, thanks to its tranquil waters and peaceful surroundings.
The streets of Nakameguro. (Image credit: photoAC)
Unlike Daikanyama, the Nakameguro area offers a different atmosphere and landscape in the form of vintage shops and local food establishments in side streets. Moreover, the space under the train tracks has been repurposed to accommodate a variety of shops and cafes, known collectively as Nakameguro Kōkashita (中目黒高架下). While Nakameguro may be quieter and less eventful than Daikanyama, a lot remains to be explored in this suburban area. Come take a look for yourself and you may just find a hidden gem.
Explore “Little Europe” in Jiyugaoka (TY-07)
Jiyugaoka’s Venetian bridge. (Image credit: photoAC)
The streets of Jiyugaoka. (Image credit: photoAC)
A few stations down the line is Jiyugaoka Station (自由が丘駅). Because of the Parisian and Venetian influences sprinkled throughout the neighbourhood, this area is commonly referred to as the “Little Europe” in suburban Tokyo. Home to many trendy boutiques and cosy cafes, Jiyugaoka exudes a relaxed atmosphere and is the perfect place to spend a peaceful afternoon. Occasionally, events are held along the streets or in the open area next to the station, attracting residents and visitors alike.
Teabreak at Chanoko Coffee Roastery. (Image credit: Grace Khoo)
Fashion boutiques aside, Jiyūgaoka is a dream come true for cafe-hoppers. Due to the wide range of cafes established here, there is a large variety of sweets offered, including traditional Japanese sweets for those who may prefer a more local touch. I settled on some cheesecake and an iced chocolate drink at Chanoko Coffee Roastery (チャノココーヒーロースタリー), a small yet extremely cosy cafe thanks to the wood decor. There are lots of cafes to choose from, so delight yourself in an afternoon snack before heading out onto the streets again to explore and snap some memorable pictures!
Chanoko Coffee Roastery (チャノココーヒーロースタリー)
Address: 2-12-6 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, 158-0083
Nearest station: Jiyūgaoka Station (自由が丘駅) / Okusawa Station (奥沢駅)
Opening hours: 9am–7pm (closed on Mondays)
TEL: +81 3-5726-9187
You can find more information about the shops and events in Jiyugaoka here.
Discover the charm of suburban Tokyo
While Tokyo is often a top choice for many tourists, the suburbs have lots to offer too. If you prefer to stroll leisurely in a spacious setting, exploring local shops while enjoying greenery, these three locations along the Tokyu Toyoko Line are highly recommended. Each of them has its own unique atmosphere and attractions, so be sure to check them out on your next trip to Japan!
Header image credit: photoAC
Writer's profile: Japanese Studies major Grace has lived in Tokyo, Japan during her study abroad programmes at Keio University and International Christian University. She enjoys karaoke, writing and cafe-hopping in her free time.