We believe that the experience one has at a gallery or museum is inherently connected to the surrounding neighborhood. With that in mind we wanted to provide what we feel are key pieces of information about the areas surrounding each of the art spaces: the best coffee in the neighborhood, the tastiest ton katsu, the most beautiful walk, some of the most inspiring pieces of architecture.
Armed with this knowledge, the experience becomes more than just going to visit a gallery or museum, but an opporunity to make the most of whittling away an entire afternoon, discovering the areas and communities that make up the city.
You'll be hard pressed to find more luxury flagship stores housed in brand-name architects' buildings than anywhere else in the world — all on one street! Even if you can't afford what they offer, you can marvel at the structures and off the main street you'll find all kinds of hip stores at more affordable prices.
Situated just south of the clamor of Shinjuku, Yoyogi is an affluent residential neighborhood in the center of the city. Although overlooked by the looming skyscrapers of west Shinjuku's business district, its small streets are quiet and it is right next door to the leafy expanses Meiji Jingu Shrine and Yoyogi Park.
Ginza is world famous for being the classic center of Tokyo luxury. In its three square kilometers you find every kind of luxury boutique you can imagine, and a vast number of superb restaurants, catering to all budgets. This area is home to many of Tokyo's galleries, displaying anything from antique furniture to cutting edge contemporary art.
Nakaochiai offers a nice slice of simpler Tokyo life. Located just outside of the north western corner of the Yamanote line, Nakaochiai is a slow-paced but charming residential area to amble about.
Over the past five years, Roppongi has exploded into a cultural hub, with four new major museums and commercial galleries in and around the area. Its intense mixture of culture and shopping by day, heady nightlife by night give it a broad appeal to people after all kinds of entertainment.
Shanagawa is located on the harbor bordering Tokyo bay. East of the station is filled with man-made islands and 18-wheel trucks that might make you think you were back in Indiana. West of the station is comparatively quiet and once you venture in a few blocks, becomes almost completely residential.
Asakusa is central Tokyo shitamachi at its finest. Most well known for its Kaminarimon, Nakamise tourist shopping street, and Senso-ji Temple, the area has much to offer for those seeking to escape the usual Tokyo bustle. Excellent (and often very old) eateries and izakayas abound while you rub shoulders with a cut of Tokyo-ite who is just a little bit rougher (and more smiley) than the types you find downtown.
Yanaka may well be how most of Tokyo would look now, had the city not been firebombed so extensively during the Second World War. Hundreds of hidden temples, shrines, shops and traditional architecture fill this area with an atmosphere unmistakably its own.
Tokyo's unofficial used book district, Jinbocho is a bibliophile's dream. Well, a Japanese-reading bibliophile, that is. Those unable to read the words can still gape at the magnificent production and printing techniques of hundred year-old books lining the shop walls. Wander west of the area for the Emperor's Palace and the ever controversial Yasukuni Shrine.
Located in western Tokyo, Kichijoji is a town unto itself. Far away from the usual Ginza and Shibuya fare, Kichijoji cuts an atmosphere uniquely its own. Places of note close to the station: Inokashira Park with cafés and restaurants galore to the west and the labyrinthine shotengai to the north.
Straddling the Meguro River, Nakameguro is one of the cornerstone 'hip' zones of the city. Boutiques, cafés, bookshops and eateries line the river making this an excellent place to spend a day after a trip to Aoyama | Meguro.