Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shimokitazawa, Old yet New Spot in Tokyo


EMU Odakyu 4000 series leaves Shimokitazawa Station

Shimokitazawa is full of strange attractions. It’s located near my home in a western suburb of Tokyo, and it takes only ten minutes from Shinjuku or Shibuya, two major subcenters of Tokyo, by train.

After getting off at Shimokitazawa Station, you have to get through a maze of alleys, whichever way you go. It has numerous small shops and restaurants. Some of them are very couture, but, old-timely shops and restaurants are also mixed in among them. Another feature of this area is that it is a base to introduce new pop cultures to Tokyoites. For example, there are plenty of theaters and music studios, where all kinds of plays and music are performed. Needless to add, we see many young people there, specifically at the weekends.

To get to Shimokitawawa, please take the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku or the Keio-Inokashira Line from Shibuya. A bunch of passengers ride and get off the trains all day long at Shimokitazawa Station. But, the serious concern is that the platforms on the Odakyu Line are very narrow. The railway company is setting up new wider platforms underground together with double-double tracks. It looks like very challenging construction, because a bi-level tunnel needs to be drilled just under the present surface rails.

The ambience of the station and streets will change drastically after the completion of the construction. I look forward to seeing the new modern Shimokitazawa, but it’s a crying shame as well that the old labyrinthine Shimokitazawa will disappear.

Shimokitazawa, it’s a spot in Tokyo with a mix of the new and the old.

Shopping street in front of Shimokitazawa Station