I have always liked the Kagurazaka neighborhood.
A couple weekends ago, my friend F and I went exploring! We wanted to check out the new bookstore, Kamome Books, which opened at the end of last year. It's not just a bookstore with a great selection of books and magazines. It also has a cafe (with an open terrace in warmer weather!) and an art gallery in the back.
This spot was previously also a bookstore, that suddenly closed in the spring of 2014. The owner of a manuscript proofreading company walked passed and realized the bookstore was closing. He decided then and there to do something about it so he opened Kamome Books for people to enjoy "off-line" time in this age where everyone seems to always be online.
F and I browsed the whole bookstore before settling down for a latte. It was a really warm day and a great place to sit down and chat. With La Kagu right across the street, it's also a really great place to people watch!
After coffee time, we walked down the street to Akagi Shrine.
It's a very modern shrine designed by the ever famous architect, Kengo Kuma. I really like it, despite the huge condo right next to it on the property. I'm sure the beautiful shrine is what sold those condos because if it were an old run down shrine with a graveyard behind it, I don't think I would buy a condo next to that. I mean, I don't really believe in ghosts. But I am definitely scared of them (if they're real...you never know!)
You can read more about the shrine here.
We also bumped into a crowd of people wearing kimonos at the shrine. Kagurazaka is one of those places where it's not unusual to see people wearing them. Kimonos are not the most easiest thing to wear but I love wearing it. It makes the day special, in my opinion. This crowd seemed excited to be walking around Kagurazaka wearing kimonos, too.
We also passed by Mugimaru2, the quirkiest manju cafe.
I knew they had cats inside the cafe. I did not know they had fish outside. Am I the only one worried about this combination? Hopefully the cats are well fed.
My favorite here is the Yomogi Cheese manju (140 yen!).
F and I were too full for a manju...but you can never be too full for gelato! We stopped by Gelateria Theobroma, a tiny gelato shop that F discovered while we were exploring the backstreets of Kagurazaka. Her gelato radar is spot on!
One of the best things about Kagurazaka is that there are various shops located in areas that you would think is a residential area. So it's a great place to just randomly roam because you never know what you will discover.
Like this pretty park with gorgeous wisteria!
It was in full bloom and you could smell the fragrance of the flowers instantly as you step into the park grounds. It's a local park, nothing special. But a fun discovery just the same.
You can't come to Kagurazaka without stopping by Le Bretagne to try their delicious galette, a traditional Bretagne crepe made from buckwheat flour.
They have many restaurants in Tokyo but this was the first one to open. They have both indoor and outdoor seating, which I think will be great once it gets warm. From the cobblestone path that leads to the restaurant, the lovely interior and friendly staff welcoming you in French...it takes you away from Japan, if only during your meal.
I had a great time catching up with F over dinner! It was delicious and we definitely left Kagurazaka full and happy :D
Have you been to Kagurazaka? Do you have any recommendations?
KAMOME BOOKS (かもめブックス)
Daiichi Yarai Bldg, 123 Yarai-cho, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo JAPAN
TEL: 03 5228 5490
HOURS: Mon-Sat 10:00am-10:00pm, Sun 11:00am-8:00pm
AKAGI SHRINE (赤城神社)
1-10 Akagi-motomachi, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo JAPAN
TEL: 03 3260 5071
5-20 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo JAPAN
TEL: 03 5228 6393
HOURS: 12:00pm-9:00pm (closed Wednesdays)
Borgo Oojime, 6-8 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo JAPAN
東京都新宿区神楽坂6-8 Borgo Oojime
TEL: 03 5206 5195
NAKAMACHI PARK (中町公園)
5 Naka-cho, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo JAPAN
4-2 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo JAPAN
TEL: 03 3235 3001
HOURS: Tue-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm, Sun 11:30am-10:00pm (closed Mondays)