On one hot and humid Saturday afternoon, I went to explore the streets of Jiyugaoka, Tokyo, to get a glimpse on why the mere mentioned of the place often elicit a response from my Japanese colleague as “nice but for rich people” and why the district is always voted as one of the most desirable place in Tokyo to live in.
A typical walking course at Jiyugaoka starts at the south exit of Tokyo Toyoko/Minato Mirai Train Line station where Marie Claire Street is located. Appropriate with its name, Marie Claire St. consists of rows after rows of boutiques and saloon catering for women.
Parallel to Marie Claire Street is Jiyugaoka’s most famous street- the Green Street. Lined with trees and benches for people to relax, this is the particular spot where I finally understand peoples desire to live in Jiyugaoka- simply sitting at the park bench is comparable to the feeling of resting at your own backyard- something that is not available on most houses in Tokyo.
From south exit via crossing the train track will bring you to the north exit part where a more typical Japanese district setting is expected. Pachinko slot, isekaya, Japanese sweets shops, coffee shops and more pubs.
Here are some of the shops I came across as I circle the whole surrounding vicinity of Jiyugaoka Station- Toyoko Line/Minato Mirai Line.
Who doesn’t want to live in a district where it feels like weekend everyday? Not necessarily that your house is a bungalow with a full ocean view but simply a neighborhood within the city that offers that coveted peace and quiet for an afternoon nap, though within the same neighborhood a quick walk around the block will bring you from art galleries to coffee shops to home craft store and if you are looking for more fun, then maybe the pachinko across the street will cheer you up.
Folks, that is Jiyugaoka.