Oku-Shibu: discover Shibuya’s hippest area
By Darren Gore on 24 Jul 2017
The Kamiyamacho/Tomigaya district of Shibuya, formerly an anonymous kind of area mostly ignored even by locals, has recently become one of Tokyo’s coolest neighbourhoods. Given the nickname Oku-Shibu (‘Deep Shibuya’) by the city’s hipsters, it’s now home to a wealth of stylish but laid-back eateries, shops and drinking spots. From Shibuya’s landmark Tokyu department store, stroll north-west to enjoy LoveInn Japan’s selection of the very best Oku-Shibu spots, with the option of a relaxing break in Yoyogi Park just a stone’s throw away.
ØL by Oslo Brewing Co.
Scandinavian style is a favourite of hip Tokyo-ites, and this craft beer concept bar from Norway’s Oslo Brewing Company has become hugely popular since opening last year. The range of both Scandinavian and Japanese craft beers varies according to the season, with a fashionable crowd gathering to enjoy them on the spacious terrace through the warmer months. Coffee meanwhile come from the nearby Fuglen.
37-10 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku / 81 03-5738-7186
Open: 12:00~24:00 (Mon-Thurs, Sun); 12:00~02:00 (Fri & Sat)
Uplink is one of Tokyo’s key independent cinemas, screening the latest international and Japanese-made arthouse films with a few rarely-shown classics also in the mix.
37-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku / 03-6825-5503
Open: according to films showing
Shibuya Publishing Booksellers
This shop specialising in art, design and lifestyle books and magazines is a firm favourite of Tokyo hipsters. As well as the very latest Japanese titles you can also find hard-to-find English language magazines here, while at the back of the shop there’s an always-changing selection of cool lifestyle items ranging from room shoes to fragrances. Shibuya Publishing Booksellers also plays host to frequent events, including pop-up shops from fashion labels such as Agnès b and Stüssy, and is open till conveniently late at night.
17-3 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku / 03-5465-0588
Open: 11:00~23:00 (Mon-Sat); 11:00~22:00 (Sun)
Little Nap Coffee Stand
This charming little coffee spot is beloved of both the fashion crowd and eco-conscious ‘slow life’ fans alike. Espressos and single-bean pour-over coffees can be enjoyed on the premises, but the more popular way to enjoy them is by carrying over to nearby Yoyogi Park: a real pleasure on a sunny afternoon.
5-65-4 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku / (0)3 3466 0074
Open: 09:00~19:00 (closed Mon)
Anatomica is one of the hippest labels in Japan right now, originating in Paris and acclaimed for its renderings of vintage European military and workwear styles in luxurious fabrics. Its high-quality denim jeans are notable for having a clean design without a side-seam, and most garments are available in both men’s and women’s sizes. This shop also sells simple canvas sneakers from Wakouwa, which many wearers claim are among the most comfortable shoes in the world.
42-2 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku / 03-6407-9835
Open: 12:00~21:00 (Mon-Sat); 12:00~20:00 (Sun)
This casual restaurant has gained legions of fans for its at-home atmosphere and cooking which brings a subtle Japanese flavour to classic Italian dishes. Life’s take on carbonara, for example, uses the Asian citrus fruit yuzu to add a tangy hit to the creamy sauce. Just inside Life’s entrance is a small section selling cool kitchen goods including aprons made by the trendy MHL brand, with terrace seating at the back of the restaurant.
1F, 1-9-19 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku / 03-3467-3479
Open: 11:45~14:30 (lunch); 18:00~22:00 (dinner)
This is a replica of the original Fuglen, a long-running and much-loved cafe in Oslo, Norway. In this highly-stylised space much of the vintage Scandinavian furniture is itself available to purchase, and even the wallpaper dates back to the 1950s. Plenty of design-related magazines (in both English and Japanese) are available to flick through as you enjoy Fuglen’s highly-praised coffee, Minoh craft beer from Osaka, or the manager’s original Norwegian-style cocktails. This is another Oku-Shibu spot where a cool crowd gathers outside in the evening.
1-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku / 03-3481-0884
Open: 08:00~19:00 (Mon, Tues); 08:00~24:00 (Weds, Sun); 08:00~01:00 (Thurs); 08:00~02:00 (Fri, Sat)
This ultra-sleek shop takes the single-bean concept that has become a buzzword in the coffee world, and applies it to chocolate (the idea being that all cocoa beans used in a bar of chocolate are from the same source). The rich flavour of Minimal’s various concoctions comes entirely from the cocoa bean, with absolutely no artificial ingredients involved, and the packaging of the finished product is as stylish as the store itself. Minimal also holds regular chocolate-making workshops (Japanese language ability required) where complete beginners can leave with a bar of chocolate they’ve made themselves.
2-1-9 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku / 03-6322-9998
Darren came to Japan to study 11 years ago, and never made it back home to the UK. Since then he’s built up a detailed ‘mental map’ of Tokyo by intentionally getting himself lost, and loves taking visiting friends way off the well-beaten tourist track. In his free time Darren can usually be found in the backstreets of Koenji or Asagaya, with camera in one hand and a yakitori stick in the other.