Taking a break from our Fresh Meet updates, let’s take a walk through one of my favourite places in Tokyo. Whilst i don’t really consider myself a seasoned Tokyo traveller, this is a place i’d always enjoy returning to, Daikanyama.
With my current apartment located smack in Ebisu and within a comfortable walking distance to Daikanyama, i visited this beautifully curated piece of Tokyo twice during my short Tokyo stay.
When most people think of Tokyo, the first things that come to mind are probably mental images of a bustling high-tech metropolis filled with massive crowds, Sushi, GTRs and Kirara Asuka. While all those might be true, there are also parts of Tokyo where the pace of life is decidedly slower. Parts of Tokyo where aesthetics take center stage, where the beauty of yesterday meets the modernity of today. This is one of those places, and it’s only a couple of stops away from the crazed crowds that throng Shibuya and Harajuku.
Here, little boutique hole in the wall stores sit side by side next to big international brands and home-grown designer labels. Each shop beautifully curated in both architectural aesthetics and the products they carry.
Just a note, these aren’t exactly bargain hunter friendly. Visiting during seasonal sale periods do turn up some pretty good buys. Like a winter coat for when your checked-in luggage never made it to your destination. (Thanks Thaiair once again! I just had to say it.)
Giving myself more time to wander the streets of Daikanyama (after purchasing a new winter coat) also meant having the opportunity to sample the cafes that i used to walk by. Like “Sign Cafe”, situated right outside Daikanyama station. It’s usually rather crowded on evenings and weekends but happily, there was plenty of space for a very pleasant weekday lunch. The food and coffee was great and really set the mood for a relaxed walk around the neighbourhood. I can’t believe i used to just walk past this place without giving it a try.
For the Auto-Otakus, there’s always something interesting in the area.
Of course no jaunt to Daikanyama is ever complete without a visit to T-Site. The most beautiful bookstore in Tokyo. At least i think so.
Obviously, i’m not that big a fan of traditional books, but i do love cars, and if you have the slightest interest in automobiles, then you might like their automotive section.
This really is a part of the bookstore that’s made for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts. It’s beautiful. They rotate the items they have on display quite often, so the next time you see it, it’ll probably be showing something else. On this occasion, they had a vintage Japan built tractor that produced under license from Porsche. It’s supposedly really rare and if you are into tractors, it’s also for sale.
For those with not that much space for a tractor, you can get these amazingly detailed paper craft models. I personally don’t think my fingers have the dexterity for building anything remotely close to that.
I like to pop by the vintage brochure section just to have a look-see look-see. Passed up on the 280ZX booklet once again. 4000Yens is sadly, not an easy amount of money to part with for a small piece of automotive history. Perhaps if it’s still there the next time.
This Koenig brochure was over 10,000Yens. It must be really rare, i mean, how many Koenigs Specials were ever made?
A treasure trove of automotive literature, choose your favourite vintage.
I was very tempted until i saw the price tag. Close to 7,000Yen for this Idlers cap!
T-Site also has other ongoing exhibits not related to cars of course, this week, they had a Bowie exhibition. These original photographic prints were for sale. Don’t ask about the prices. My eyes bled.
If all that reading and poking around the bookstore has got you hungry or tired, i’d strongly recommend Ivy’s Place. A cafe situated within the same compound. It’s a great place for a weekend brunch and unlike most other places in Tokyo, they open really really early at 7am! Perfect for those people flying in early and with no where yet to go. The food’s fab too.
On weekends, a farmers market sometimes sprouts out for the local (upscale-ish) residents who happily bring along their dogs. Did i mention T-site has a pet store, groomer, vet, and a mini dog run as well? Don’t you love it already?
While T-site holds a fantastic cars and coffee meet every other week, this being Tokyo, there will always still be something to see in the carpark regardless.
A Skyline R32 GTR on R34 wheels.
Lotus Elise. Japanese love British sports cars.
BMW i3. Perfect for Tokyo if you asked me. I wish these things caught on more, they drive really well.
If you asked me, i think the highlight of the carpark this morning belongs to this Lotus Cortina. I’ve never seen one in real life before.
They really do love their cars.
Hopefully next time i can make it one of their morning meets!