22 May Hidden Gems of Tokyo / Sendagaya
From the backdoors of Harajuku that stretch to Shinjuku, is a town not familiar to many– Sendagaya.
Harajuku, Omotesando, and Shinjuku steal the popular spotlight, but what you may not know is that sandwiched in between them is Sendagaya, a place filled with charm!
A laid back living space, hipster coffee shops, superior dining, fashion brands headquarters, and galleries. All of these circled between parks, historical spots, and green escapes. Sendagaya is a perfect balance offering you local community living, while only being a stone’s throw away from downtown city life. If you love to become a regular at your coffee shop and on a first-name basis with your barista- who knows your drink of choice before you even walk in- then Sendagaya is your kind of place.
Or perhaps you prefer to fine-dine all within steps of your own home, where you can wind down after a long day of work surrounded by greenery- then Sendagaya is also for you. 🙂
(Shinjuku Gyoen header photo by Daniel Mennerich)
When looking at Sendagaya on the map, you will notice large spaces of green.
On one side, you have the famous Meiji Jingu Shrine, stretched over 170 acres of evergreen forest, and connecting behind is the popular Yoyogi Park (comparable to New York Central Park). To the other side is Shinjuku Gyoen, famous for its Japanese gardens and gorgeous Cherry blossom viewings.
On the other side is Meji Jingu Gaien, a museum housing Japanese historical artwork. It has a western-built architecture with a beautiful fountain in front of it. You won’t have to look far to find yourself escaping the concrete jungle and reconnecting with nature.
Sendagaya is known as a place retailers come to showcase their fashion lines and set up their offices, a huge benefit during the end-of-season family sales. One most recognizable company that has helped pave the way for this area is Landscape Products. They have opened Playmountain, a shop selling beautiful pottery and interiors. Landscape is also the owners of Tas Yards restaurant, a true locals spot serving Japanese classics like curry and pork ginger in a more contemporary way. They also opened Be A Good Neighbor coffee, a coffee bar across the way where you are sure to satisfy your coffee fix with specialty roasted beans. Have a friendly chat with the barista while he handcrafts your latte. The Pho321 down the street also belongs to them.
Ron Herman, the California based retail store, has also set up shop in the area. In this one large store, you’ll find their specialty and imported fashion brand store, interior design shop with tableware and small furniture, and beach lifestyle shop. Attached is also the Ron Herman café serving fresh salads, pasta, and lemonades. You’ll find it easy to spend several hours here.
Sendagaya is also home to world-renowned interior design company Wonder Wall. Katsuhiro has built the most beautiful office in Sendagaya, where he creates gorgeous interior designs for high brand shops all over the world- Pierre Herme, Diesel is just a few to name.
The Dining experience in Sendagaya is more of a relaxed local setting. While new charming restaurants are continually opening, some tried and true have been around for ages. Although you are steps away from fine dining and Michelin starred restaurants (in Minami Aoyama (link) and Omotesando (link)), here you will find yourself dining richly in taste and experience. Here you will get to know your chef personally and know exactly where all the ingredients come from, or be a regular at a cocktail bar, and continue conversations you had started from your previous visit.
The food options don’t disappoint. Zen Udon is one of the locals’ favorites in the area, kind of a hidden gem most people don’t know. The curry udon is a crowd-pleaser. It is not your typical curry udon, the best in the city with a hint of Asian spices and delicious broth that will leave you wanting to drink the whole bowl. Make sure to come back and order the perfectly crisped tempura-don next time. You will be sure to become a regular here.
Afuri, the very well known Ramen shop, has one of their branches in Sendagaya as well. Famous for its Yuzu (Japanese Citrus) Chicken broth, it’s not your typical ramen place. This light, salty, and citrusy ramen leaves you feeling satisfied and refreshed.
Heading down the street and next to Ron Herman is Kippy’s Coco Cream and David Ottos Juice Bar, continuing with the California theme for the area, both brought over from their original branches in SoCal. The interior boasts a fresh and gorgeous beach theme with very inviting cool tiles and light colors, mirroring the simplicity of being organic and vegan friendly. David Ottos Juice Bar only uses the highest quality of fruits and cold presses juice in its signature and top-secret form to create delicious and highly health-conscious juices. Kippy’s is a Vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free coconut-based ice cream shop that focuses on only the best and most health-focused ingredients. These shops also hold a yoga event once a month.
Sendagaya has a fair share of Izakayas (Japanese pubs), and a well-known one is Garari Izakaya (also located next to the Juice shop). This intimate Izakaya specializes in carefully selecting Miso from all over the country. Their specialty dish is a rare roasted pork dish thats topped with one of Gararis signature misos; this pork is raised exclusively on a farm in Chiba and shipped just to 6 stores nationwide. This Izakaya boasts over 160 different brown sugar Shochus to perfectly pair with each of its signature dishes.
As you walk towards Sendagaya station, you will find another hidden area of great restaurants and cafes. Hatonomori Izakaya is another small, intimate, and delicious Izakaya that doesn’t serve your typical Izakaya dishes. You can enjoy spiced foods from around the world perfectly paired with a wide range of alcohol and selected wines.
Monmouth Tea Stand, located just on the corner, has been around long before the Milk Tea boom hit Japan. Rich Sri Lankan teas paired with quiches will help you with your afternoon pick me up.
A great weekend brunch spot is the Brentwood Terrace. A gorgeous design with a LA, Beverly Hills feel to it. Mix matched sofas, hanging plants, two large open spaced terraces serving great brunch menus on the weekend, and Italian fare for lunch and dinner.
Sendagaya is most known for being the home to the Olympic Stadiums. It once hosted the Olympics and Para Olympics back in 1964 and again will host the upcoming games in 2021. It rebuilt the original stadium into the much anticipated Home Stadium for these forthcoming games. Sendagaya will soon gain more popularity once the games begin. Due to being a hub for the Olympics, many recreation sports are in this area. The Tokyo Metropolitan Gym, a public and very well equipped gym, Olympic sized swimming pool, and a separate 25m pool, is open to the public. There is no membership fee, you pay as you go, but you can also sign up for many different lessons they provide. An Ice Skating rink is nearby, and so are some tennis courts.
Nearby is the Jingumae Stadium, home to The Yakult Swallows baseball team, the rivals of the Tokyo Giants. Catch a game for a fun night out during the spring months. Are you into Rugby? The home stadium is also a short distance walk from the ballpark. There’s nothing like hearing the teams chanting during those spring-summer months, and when the Swallows win, they shoot off fireworks in celebration.
Not far from this area is Niko Niko Park. If you have children, this will be your favorite spot to entertain those little ones. All enclosed, a roam free paradise. It comes with a small fee to use, but they have staff that walk around, maintaining the place, and help make sure your kids are safe and having fun. If you don’t have kids, you can still enjoy this park. From the middle of May through September, half of the park gets roped off and turns into a Beer Garden. The Forest Beer Garden opens from 5 pm on weeknights and noon on weekends. Sit outside under the trees and the stringed lights, and enjoy a lamb barbeque with beers on tap. Available with A la Carte or All you can Drink and Eat menus. Please note 2020 and 2021 will potentially be closed due to coronavirus and the Olympics.
Sendagaya has so much to offer. It is the perfect living escape balanced by restaurants, fashion, and parks, all within the city. You don’t need to travel to a ‘sleeping town’ to enjoy some space and nature; you can have it all while being smack in the middle of the city.
Would you have ever known that in the middle of the city, you could find a gem such as Sendagaya? Maybe that’s just why the locals have tried to keep it secret for so long.
We have some gorgeous properties waiting for you to make this newfound gem your home. Let us help you settle into the perfect living abode in your soon to be favorite area, Sendagaya. Contact us today! 🙂
Due to current situations with the Coronavirus, and also with this area being the main hub for the Olympics, some places may not be operating as normal. Please check with each companies websites. Places mentioned in this article:
PlayMountain http://playmountain-tokyo.com/ 151-0051 3-52-5 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Harajuku New Sky Heights Annex # 105
Tas Yards https://tasyard.com/ 3-3-3 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051
Be A Good Neighbor Coffee Kiosk https://bagn-coffeekiosk.com/ 3-51-6 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Pho321 https://pho321.net/ 2-35-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Ron Herman Sendagaya https://ronherman.jp/store.php 2-11-1, Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051
Zen Udon (no website) 2-14, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001 Koshin Building
Afuri Ramen https://afuri.com/ 3-63-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Kippys Coco Cream & Dave Ottos Juice 2-6-3 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, TOKYO 151-0051
Garari Izakaya https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1309/A130901/13005444/
2-6-4 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051
Hatonomori http://spice.hatonomori.com/index_pc.html 1-1-1, Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051
Monmouth Tea http://www.monmouth.jp/ 1-21-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051
BrentWood Terrace https://brentwood-terrace.com/ 1-20-3 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051
Niko Niko Park http://www.meijijingugaien.jp/walk/park/ 1-7-5 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0061
Forest Beer Garden http://mbg.rkfs.co.jp/?lang=en 14-13 Kasumigaokamachi Shinjuku Tokyo