Vintage, Vinyls & More: 10 Best Things to Do in Shimokitazawa

By Brianna Fox-Priest
Updated: July 1, 2024

Nestled just west of the busy center of Tokyo is the laid-back district known as Shimokitazawa – or Shimokita for short. Considered one of the best up-and-coming neighborhoods of Tokyo, Shimokitazawa shines thanks to its calmer demeanor and side streets filled to the brim with vintage shops, bohemian restaurants, atmospheric coffee shops and markets. 

Shimokitazawa is easily accessed by Shinjuku and Shibuya. From Shinjuku Station, take a brisk 10-minute ride along the Odakyu line or a 6-minute ride from Shibuya Station on the Keio-Inokashira line. Once you arrive, you’ll be delighted by the change of pace and greeted with the best shopping, dining and entertainment options in this trendy suburb. 

While it may be small in scale, there’s a lot to explore in Shimokitazawa. 

10 best things to do in Shimokitazawa

  1. Find the best threads while vintage shopping
  2. Check out second-hand vinyl shops
  3. Go bargain hunting at the Shimokitazawa Flea Market
  4. Get lost while shopping in Village Vanguard
  5. Fill up on international delights at Mikan Shimokita
  6. Eat the famous Totoro cream puffs
  7. Take a coffee break at Sidewalk Coffee Roasters
  8. Catch a live music performance at Shelter
  9. Watch a show at the famous Honda Theatre
  10.  Embrace tsukimi at the Moon Art Night Festival

Best places for shopping in Shimokitazawa

Can you really say you visited Shimokitazawa without checking out its famed vintage shops?

1. Find the best threads while vintage shopping

A woman looking through vintage clothes at a secondhand store.

Shimokitazawa oozes style. Both sides of the station have great fashion finds and hot deals for high-quality used clothing, music, books and handmade goods. Leave the station, walk forward to find the orange-lettered “Shimokitazawa” sign and turn left to find your next closet staple.

You’ll find plenty of great streetwear options, accessories and unique finds along the back alleys. Most shops sell gently used and vintage Western clothing and Japanese brands. If you want a one-of-a-kind piece to take back home, head to the stylish New York Joe Exchange, TreFacStyle and Toyo Department Store.

Check out RagTag for second-hand designer brands. Or, if you prefer a more retro style, Gaslamp Square has wall-to-wall rare finds.

2. Check out second-hand vinyl shops

A vinyl record playing underneath the leaves of a plant.

Are you always on the hunt for unique records? Shimokitazawa is also popular with vinyl collectors.

Flip through stacks of vinyl to your heart’s content at one of the many used record shops in the area. Over at Record Station, you’ll find an intimate space with an expertly curated vinyl selection. Other must-see shops include Union Disk, Flash Disk Ranch and the eclectic Jazzy Sport. You can even find some records for as low as ¥300. Talk about a great souvenir!

If you’re the kick back and sip on cocktails type of vinyl listener, Upstairs Records and Bar is a must-visit listening bar during your trip to Shimokitazawa. 

3. Go bargain hunting at the Shimokitazawa Flea Market

Framed art and ornaments lined up on the table at a flea market.

Discover your new favorite treasure at the Shimokitazawa Tokyo Flea Market. Every weekend during the summer, the secondhand market is held in front of the station in the Shimokita Senrogai Open Space

A mix of vendors promises stylish threads, antiques, handcrafted jewelry and more just waiting to be discovered. The market is free to the public, so no ticket is required to enter. Make sure to stop by between 12-5:30 PM on weekends. There are also food trucks and a cafe to fuel up between shopping. 

4. Get lost while shopping in Village Vanguard

A row of multi-colored gacha machines in front of a shop in Japan.

Across from the Ozeki grocery store is Shimokita’s Village Vanguard flagship store. You’ll know you found the right place when you see towers of gachapon machines lining the front door. When you cross the threshold, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the shop and its winding aisles. 

If you were unsure of where to buy souvenirs before, this Village Vanguard location has everything from anime goods and indie band CDs to art books and vintage manga magazines. Don’t forget to pick up a selection of Japanese snacks while you’re here!

Best Restaurants in Shimokitazawa

5. Fill up on international delights at Mikan Shimokita

Four people sitting at the counter of an international restaurant in Mikan Shimokita.

The best place to find food from across the globe is at Mikan Shimokita. This international cuisine hub is located under the Keio train tracks and features delicious bites from Thailand, Korea and Vietnam, not to mention some of the best wood-fired pizzas in Tokyo at Pizzeria 8

Besides great eats, Mikan Shimokita has a Tsutaya bookstore with a connecting remote work lounge. Make sure to walk around to see Mikan’s new mural art program before grabbing a latte from Brooklyn Roasting Company.

6. Eat the famous Totoro cream puffs

A figure of Totoro holding his umbrella as real-life fireflies fly around him.

Have you seen these adorable Totoro cream puffs? They may have popped up on your timeline on social media before now, but did you know these adorable sweet critters can be found near Shimokitazawa? Just an 8-minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station, Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory is a must-see pastry shop during your adventures.

You know you found the right place when you see the wooden Totoro sign outside. Inside, you’ll be greeted by a pastry case full of cream puffs filled with chocolate, strawberry and matcha creams. The only problem is they’re almost too cute to eat!

If you love Totoro and other Hayao Miyazaki classics, you can find other themed gifts and treats to buy. 

7. Take a coffee break at Sidewalk Coffee Roasters

A coffee with a foam art, looking like a leaf.

Located inside the minimalist Hotel Mustard, Sidewalk Coffee Roasters is a relaxed coffee bar along the former train tracks leading to Shimokitazawa Station. Serving high-quality coffees and freshly made organic bagels, it’s the best spot in town to fuel up for a day of shopping. 

Grab a coffee tonic or matcha latte and relax on the patio. Afterward, take a stroll through Reload, the connecting outdoor market. 

Best cultural experiences to try in Shimokitazawa

8. Catch a live music performance at Shelter

A stage at a live performance. The instruments and mics are surrounded by atmospheric smoke.

Shimokitazawa also has a great nightlife and live music scene. After a day of shopping, why not catch a live show at Shelter

Many visitors consider this basement venue to be a holy place because of the anime Bocchi The Rock! Resembling the venue where the girl band plays, Shelter has been a popular underground spot for up-and-coming bands for years. If you’re in the mood for live Japanese music, grab a ticket online to guarantee a spot.

9. Watch a show at the famous Honda Theater

Velvet red seats at a theater. The curtain is still closed and the seats are empty.

Shimokitazawa is a cultural hub and has been a neighborhood famous for its live theater performances since the opening of Honda Theater in 1982.

Located above Village Vanguard, walk up the steps to watch a live performance during the week. It may be difficult to understand the Japanese dialogue, but if you’re a theater fan, a night at Honda Theater will be a memorable one!

10. Embrace tsukimi at the Moon Art Night Festival

The Shimokitazawa Moon Art Night Festival, featuring an eye-catching moon art installation.

Every fall season between September and October is the Moon Art Night Festival, in which Shimokitazawa becomes the temporary home of the moon.

During the Tsukimi Moon-Viewing Festival, the neighborhood is overtaken by a giant floating moon and inflatable rabbits. Specialty food trucks and events will take place around the Shimokita Senrogai Open Space. 

Make sure to strike your best pose in front of the moon and enjoy the breathtaking view. 

Curious about visiting other hotspots in Tokyo? Visit Tokyo’s Little Europe for delicious pastries and coffee, sip on craft cocktails at the best hidden bars, and take a trip to a cat-lovers paradise, Yanaka Ginza!

Shimokitazawa FAQs

Shimokitazawa on a rainy day. People with umbrellas walk through this district's culture-packed streets.

How far is Shimokitazawa from Tokyo?

Shimokitazawa is just a short train ride from Shinjuku and Shibuya stations. In under 10 minutes, you can arrive at Shimokitazawa Station from the busiest areas of Tokyo.

What is there to do in Shimokitazawa?

Shimokitazawa is a trendy neighborhood loved by the local creative community and those who enjoy a great bargain. Known for its side streets packed with secondhand and vintage shops, Shimokita is the best place to go shopping in the city for one-of-a-kind clothes, accessories, rare records and more!

When you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, catch a live show at one of the many theaters and live music venues.

What can I eat at restaurants in Shimokitazawa?

Shimokitazawa’s hip and relaxed vibe also attracts a plethora of restaurants. There are plenty of Japanese izakaya, bars and ramen, but Shimokita is a hub for top-quality international restaurants as well.

Find the best Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian and other restaurants in this neighborhood. Don’t forget to grab a craft latte from one of the many third-wave coffee shops around the station.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan's food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Brianna Fox-Priest
Your local cafe hopping expert. Brianna is a Japan writer and coffee shop enthusiast. Her days as a Japanese language student in Tokyo led to the discovery of the city's many hidden gems. When she's not writing, you can find her on the lookout for shrines or ice cream (and sometimes both).
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