Is it still worth visiting Shibuya? Where should we go after crossing the Scramble?
The most interesting thing about Shibuya is the fact that it’s constantly changing and updating itself. The front part of Shibuya station and the former railroad tracks of the Tokyu line are going through a major reinvention. A few years after Hikarie opened, more mega complexes such as Scramble Square, Fukuras and Shibuya Stream—Google moved their Japan HQ to the latter—have made their mark here. However, my favourite joints in Shibuya are hidden within smaller-scale buildings and tucked into the back streets. Umebachee is a great place for chicken sashimi and Japanese sake. After a meal, I go for a deeper stroll over to Kairyo-yu, a renovated public bathhouse, to take a dip and enjoy a few sauna sessions.
Where should we go to discover the old Tokyo?
The eastern parts of the city, specifically Asakusa, Kuramae and Kiyosumi, are considered the traditional shitamachi [downtown] areas. They are full of hole-in-the-wall type izakayas and kakuuchis, hybrids of a bar and a liquor store where people can try different sakes. Recently, establishments such as Nui Hostel & Bar Lounge, Blue Bottle and Dandelion Chocolate have taken residence in renovated old industrial buildings, and these social nodes have made the area much more interesting. Creators, artists and designers are now flocking over to the east side from the west, forming communities, opening up speciality cafes, restaurants and charming boutiques showcasing Japanese craftsmanship.