Monday, July 3, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Morning in Daikanyama

With the many times I have been in Tokyo, I have never been to Daikanyama – I still don’t understand why as the setting would have been my favorite hangout. But anyway, I rectified this situation this time with a visit to this trendy neighborhood on Sunday morning.

I made my way to Daikanyama quite early in the morning not because I need to crammed in my tight itinerary, but because I wanted to check out their farmer’s market which opened only twice a month (on first and third Sundays) and for a few hours only (from 7:30-11:30am). I fell in love with the neighborhood immediately after stepping out of the train station, just one stop away from Shibuya, filled with low-rise houses in light colors and random, hip shops spread throughout a few blocks. Almost everyone from the train station walked towards the same direction towards the T-Site complex, so I just followed the crowd.

Daikanyama T-Site contains everything that I love – a well-designed complex with a few inter-connecting buildings with everything from a huge Tsutaya Books store with plenty of chill-out space (many have said is the most beautiful book shop in the world), lifestyle shops, the best-looking (and functional) convenient store (FamilyMart) and a few F&B outlets. With the bookstore opening from 7am to 2am, I could totally just spend all day checking out their vast book collection, as well as their music and video sections.

But before I got carried away in going through rows of amazing books (about food and travel, of course), I browsed through the stalls for the farmers market, which was set up just right outside the bookshop at their parking lot. Not a lot of shops there, to be honest, especially compared to the one at UNU in Aoyama which opens every Sunday, but there were some interesting products on sale. Apart from a few shops of fresh produce and artisan food products like cakes or house-roasted coffee beans, there were a few arts and crafts stalls as well.

I also met up with my friend J and S who happened to be travelling to Tokyo, for a leisurely brunch at Daikanyama. Right outside the buildings for Tsutaya Books was another low-rise structure which houses Ivy Place, a restaurant serving an all-day dining menu. I was told the place was particularly busy on weekends because it’s such a perfect place to chill and relax, with that laid-back Upper West-vibe and a great selection of brunch dishes. We settled in our table by the window just as the restaurant starting to fill up (before 9am).

Their breakfast menu included a good range of selections and went beyond the usual choices, from a simple homemade granola with fruit and honey, to their signature buttermilk pancakes, which caught our attention and that’s what we ended up ordering. The pancakes were not the fluffiest type, especially not in Japanese standard, but was super tasty. I had mine served with fresh cream and honey, but you could also pick the option of fresh fruits, slab of butter and honey (or their seasonal toppings - it was mango when I was there). I know it’s tempted to go for Japanese meal whilst in Japan, but I certainly enjoyed this change of pace and style, just to slow down, enjoy our dishes while being able to look out to the window aimlessly and just let you mind drift off to wherever. That’s the ultimate beauty of a weekend getaway.

When? June 4 2017
Where? Ivy Place, 16-15 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Menu Highlights? Buttermilk Pancakes
Daikanyama T-Site:
Daikanyama Morning Market:
Ivy Place:

The rest of my Tokyo weekend:

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