Jiyugaoka is a chic city with stores carrying the latest fashion and sophisticated sweets, while still maintaining vestiges of traditional Japanese culture. You can enjoy its long-treasured abundant nature, or visit the various sweets stores. Visiting the Jiyugaoka neighborhood is definitely a must-do in Tokyo for those who want to relax in style.
Explore Tokyo’s Only Ravine - Full of Lush Greenery
Todoroki Ravine in Jiyugaoka is recognized as a scenic spot by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, widely known as being a fantastic location for cherry blossom viewing. The ravine was created by the erosion caused by Yazawagawa River flowing through the Musashino Plateau, and it is said that people used to live there 1,500 years ago. A three-minute walk from Todoroki Station on the Tokyu Oimachi Line brings you to its entrance, and you can reach the path after a slight descent down the stairs. Walk a kilometer on the path, surrounded by woods along Yazawagawa, and you will find yourself in another world where you are surrounded by the sound of the stream and wild birds singing. Midway through the path is the Todoroki Fudo Temple, which was built at the end of the Edo era and is said to help with love matches. This gem is one of Jiyugaoka’s treasures, a stark contrast from the bustling streets of metropolitan Tokyo.
Time Travel: Have a Japanese-Style Breakfast in a Traditional Japanese House
One of the cool things to do in Tokyo is to be able to go back in time, surrounded by beautiful historical Japanese architecture. Jiyugaoka’s Kosoan is a Japanese-style cafe and gallery in a remodeled house, originally built in the Taisho era. You can have a quiet and relaxing time while gazing upon a traditional Japanese garden with trees, a decorative well, and stepping stones. The most popular dessert on the menu is the Kosoan-fu Matcha Shiratama Zenzai, made with quality matcha (powdered green tea) and azuki beans from Kyoto. There is also a rental gallery where many artists hold exhibitions.
- Address 1-24-23 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0035
Visit the Birthplace of Japan’s Favorite Chestnut Mont Blanc Cake
Jiyugaoka is said to be the "confectioner's battleground," and Mont Blanc is a very popular confectioner there, one of the strongest sellers. It is in this shop that the Japanese style Mont Blanc cake, which is decorated with chestnut cream, was born. Chimao Sakota, the first owner of the store, was moved by the beauty of Mont Blanc when he went mountain climbing in France. It was then that he wanted to express that beauty in the form of a cake. The yellow chestnut cream reflects the hilly surface of the mountain and the meringue captures its snowy summits. There are baked goods as well as fresh cakes, and a sitting area for eat-in.
Tokyo Jiyugaoka Mont-Blanc モンブラン
- Address 1-29-3 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0035
Work Your Tastebuds at a Sweets Theme Park
Are you looking to satisfy that sweet tooth with one of your Tokyo activity plans? The Jiyugaoka Sweets Forest is a theme park near the station with eight stores specializing in all things sweets. The space, designed in the image of a forest, has shops of famous dessert chefs, and also an area in the middle to enjoy fresh sweets. If you’re looking for a way to make the sweet experience last after the ones you’ve bought are eaten and gone, the Jiyugaoka Sweets Forest is willing to help you out. The Sweets Select Zone is a place that sells equipment and ingredients so you can make desserts at home, too.
Buy Cotton Fabric from one of Jiyugaoka’s Specialty Stores
Think you can fit a bit more shopping into your Tokyo activities? Pico is a specialty cotton store where you can choose fabrics and have your clothes custom made. The store has been in the cotton fabric industry for over forty years since opening in 1969 and, in addition to fabric, sells items such as children’s school supplies. They also have custom made shirts and dresses using the fabric of your choice.
- Address 1-25-4 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0035
Trendy Jiyugaoka Souvenirs: Japanese Cool
Katakana is a store that collects "Japanese cool" products, another very cool thing to do in Tokyo. Focusing on the "interesting balance derived from mixing traditional Japanese culture and foreign cultures," it sells primarily unique products that are both Japanese and Western at once. It is definitely worth seeing the sophisticated world of Katakana that includes items that can be found nowhere else, such as wallets and leather goods made using traditional Japanese techniques, Mount Fuji toys, and kokeshi dolls (simple handmade wooden dolls) of anime characters.