Daikanyama  Discoveries

If you’re anything like me, you’d love Daikanyama.

It’s one of Tokyo’s most trendy neighborhoods and is especially ideal for those who want to take a quiet stroll amidst a mix of beautiful residential and commercial structures. In other words, Daikanyama is a VIBE! You will fall in love with it immediately.

It was my birthday trip in April that I deliberately booked our Tokyo stay in the outskirts of the insanely busy City of Shibuya so we can easily walk our way to its stylish and low-rise district, Daikanyama, and push our unfit legs further towards another charming neighborhood, Naka-Meguro (but this must be featured in an entirely different article).

I planned our walking route before the trip and it turned out to be a pretty good one except for the sudden change of weather that day. From a cold and breezy Tokyo, temperatures rose up high and featured beautiful clear skies with a sun that made its presence severely felt. So, we walked our path with the wrong outfits, definitely feeling the warm weather. By the way, out of all the eight days of our trip, this was the only day it was warm and sunny. Quite ironic, since this was the only day we planned to walk all the way and back with no help from the subway.

We ventured out of our hotel around 10:30 a.m. to get coffee from our very first stop, Monkey Cafe D.K.Y.  Aside from its specialty hand drip coffee, this cafe is known for its architecture. According to its architect, Hiroshi Nakamura, they created a structure that resembled a cyclone to enhance communication among people. When we got there, we ordered coffee immediately and was engulfed by the vibrant and creative scene. There was an art event and the space was filled with art, chatter and stylish people. So instead of finding a seat inside, we opted for a more quiet spot by the deck amidst some greenery.

Next stop, Chacott. It is a beautiful five-story structure with a basement dedicated to those who have interest in ballet or dance. But even if you are not, you would love to visit. The open basement houses the cafe, shop and their balance studio (athleisure). We enjoyed this floor so much that we failed to visit the first floor ballet studio, second and third floor shops, the fourth floor restaurant and the fifth floor press gallery. The boys enjoyed the cafe while they waited for us girls who were in awe of all the beautiful athleisure wear that were all made so perfectly, while my daughter was stuck at the cosmetics counter as she decided on the eye shadow colors she wanted to buy.

Next was a quick stop at Lift Daikanyama, a

multi-brand store that houses globally sourced artistic and technically captivating pieces that are all presented in the most meticulously curated spaces you will ever see. They offer artist-created tableware and home finds, jewelry, accessories and contemporary fashion collections by designers like Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens and Rainmaker Kyoto.  Madly in love with how they cleverly used up the seemingly small store that turns out to feature more than we could see from the outside. I’m a fan of how our visit surprised us with a sensory journey that was obviously crafted by true creative geniuses as you unsurely walked into completely different spaces as before.

From a highly visual experience, we landed at an interactive olfactory stop at none other than Le Labo. Apparently, we were unconsciously feeding our senses that day. As usual, we enjoyed the store a whole lot! With none of us bound by time, we leisurely went through every scent about a gazillion times trying to figure out which one was best for each of us. The sales person attending to us was probably the most patient one I’ve ever met, because in the end we all got confused and overwhelmed that there was only one purchase made from our group. It was prepared in a chemistry-looking lab that divided the shop floor with a glass wall, so like eager spectators, we watched as it got freshly prepared, personalized and packed.

As much as we wanted to explore more from my planned list of places to visit, we had to end our neighborhood stroll because of the heat. But we definitely ended it with a bang when we took a stop for late lunch at Henry’s Burger. To this day, I still dream of this burger and regret that I shared one with my daughter. I also promised myself to treat myself to this burger (no sharing!) every time we get to visit Tokyo.

Exploring with me that day were my kids — Thea and Lucas — and the Katigbaks — Gabby, Cris and their son, Gio.