Tokyo, Japan’s capital city, attracts millions of tourists a year. This massive metropolitan area is home to famous landmarks such as Senso-ji Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in the country, Akihabara, the otaku mecca of manga, anime, and video games, and Shibuya’s famous Scramble Crossing that sees thousands of crossers per minute.
These are just a few of the many spots you will find on any blog, website, or guidebook. Although these places are indeed fantastic, there is so much more to Tokyo than these very famous and often quite crowded districts. One of these places is Jiyugaoka.
Considered a trendy hidden gem of Tokyo, Jiyugaoka, which literally means “Freedom Hill” and was named so after its liberal education, is around 10 minutes from Shibuya on the Tokyu Toyoko Line and one of the most desirable places to live in the whole city! Its charming alleys and stylish atmosphere make it a peaceful and trendy place to visit. It has a perpetual relaxed weekend vibe and because it isn’t as famous as, say, Ueno or Harajuku, it is hardly ever overcrowded.
After World War II, modern railway travel put this area on the map. So what can you do in this lovely little area? Here are four hidden treasures I found during my visit.
Coming across this little taste of Europe makes you feel like you’ve stepped into Italy. There are cafes and shops around so you can sip on bubble tea and soak in the relaxed atmosphere of this cute little place.
There are shrines dotted all over the place in Japan, the most famous of which are often packed with people wanting to pray and tourists taking photographs. This nice little shrine close to La Vita is quiet and peaceful, surrounded by trees with a really tranquil atmosphere. On the day I visited, there were stalls with people selling handmade goods, ornaments, and jewelry.
As with many trendy neighborhoods in Japan, Jiyugaoka is a haven for dog lovers and owners! Puppily Hills has an adorable pink Europe-inspired castle look and inside, there is a huge selection of dog clothes, beds, and accessories. There is even a cute dog inside that models the clothing!
You can come and just admire the building, or if you know someone with a small dog back home (think around the same size as a toy poodle), this shop offers good ideas for ridiculously cute souvenirs.
Peter Rabbit fans need look no further for their perfect cafe in Jiyugaoka. Here you will find Peter Rabbit-themed food and drink including salads, sandwiches, curries, and cake sets shaped and styled to match the theme. For a special (albeit a little expensive) treat, visit this cafe for lunch.
Aside from these gems, Jiyugaoka is famous for shopping, cafes, and cakes. It is definitely worth a visit on a weekend to soak up the relaxing atmosphere and explore the little alleyways to find unique shops by day and bars by night. It’s no wonder this is one of the most desirable areas in Tokyo, and it is waiting for you to discover it.