A few weekends ago, my Malaysian friends Brannie and Mousie were visiting in Japan, and we headed to Jiyugaoka on a beautiful, sunny Sunday.
Now, Jiyugaoka is not well known, most tourists will not have heard of it. Amongst the Japanese, it’s seen as an oshare (posh, fancy) neighbourhood. It’s full of independent boutiques and shops, ranging from kitschy to designer.
On the day we were there, there was a hipster flea market going on. Loads of little shops littered the street (tidily, of course) and there were open eating area for people to munch their snacks.
We spent some time strolling about there, and then headed to Little Europe.
Now, I was quite excited to go to Little Europe because the pictures I had seen looked very pretty. I expected a quaint little city smack in the middle of Tokyo!
Here’s what it looked like:
At this juncture, my boyfriend had taken it upon himself to be an art director and was making Brannie and Mousie do all kinds of poses while I was the photographer.
As you can see, the place is really pretty cute. However, it’s also tiny! I expected a pretty long street or something that looked like that, but it was more of a small, square block of land. It’s still cute, though. Just tiny! Have I mentioned tiny?
A little tired now from all our photography exertions, we headed to the Kosouan tea house. The teahouse itself is not hard to find, even though it’s slightly inconspicuous with it’s leafy entrance. It was very crowded, but it wasn’t a long wait to get in. However, I’m not sure I would recommend this. It was a little too noisy because it was so crowded, and I’ve always associated Japanese teahouses as tranquil, calm, peaceful places. But maybe it being so crowded is a sign it’s good and popular, so I don’t know!
Last, we headed to the Marie Claire Promenade. This is also a nice street with loads of shops. There was so much food shops here! I’m definitely coming back here again to slowly look around and eat my face off.
Verdict: Jiyugaoka is a really nice neighbourhood that you should definitely go to!
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