My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: April 2, 2018
Centered around the Meguro River and within walking distance of the trendy districts of Daikanyama and Ebisu, Nakameguro holds its own in the sophistication stakes. The area is home to a range of cool cafes and restaurants, hip interior and accessory shops and the newly developed Nakameguro Koukashita—700 meters of bars and stores anchored by uber-modern bookstore Nakameguro Tsutaya Books. Nakameguro is a bustling bastion of cool throughout the year, but you'll find the crowds swell in late March and early April when the densely packed riverside cherry trees bud and blossom, creating an ultra-photogenic tunnel of pink.
Nakameguro Station is on the Tokyu-Toyoko Line and Tokyo Metro's Hibiya Line. You can walk to the Daikanyama area in around 10 minutes from here.
From Haneda Airport: Around 50 minutes by train
From Narita Airport: Around one hour, 55 minutes by train
From Shinjuku Station: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Shibuya and transfer to the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line to Nakameguro Station. Travel time: around 20 minutes.
From Tokyo Station: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Ebisu and transfer to Tokyo Metro's Hibiya Line to Nakameguro Station. Travel time: around 35 minutes.
At the end of March through early April, the cherry tree-lined Meguro River that slices through Nakameguro draws huge crowds buzzing with cherry blossom enthusiasm. The connecting trees on both sides of the river touch branches, creating a tunnel flanked by small stalls selling snacks and sudsy beers. Finding a quiet spot can be a challenge, especially at night when the trees are lit up. One way to avoid the crowds is to take a daytime or nighttime “Hanami (Petal Viewing) Cruise” that pushes off from Tennozu Isle’s Yamatsu Pier and travels to the area. While the cherry blossoms might be short-lived, the trees become a fresh, verdant green, offering you some well-needed shade from the intense summer heat.
Ten minutes out of Shibuya, Nakameguro dials down the intensity but ratchets up the cool with its range of vintage shops, art galleries and small eateries serving up mouthwatering cuisine. Wander down to the area from equally cool Daikanyama—around 10 minutes—and stroll along the riverside, dropping into one of the open-front cafes. Don’t forget to explore the side streets connecting the main road with the riverside, too, as you'll find a selection of interesting interior stores.
The Nakameguro area continues to develop, and the previously vacant and somewhat unsightly area underneath the train tracks has turned into a vibrant playground of cafes, restaurants and stores known as Nakameguro Koukashita. The jewel in the crown is Nakameguro Tsutaya Books—a bookstore filled with a wide array of Japanese and international texts, cafes, stationary and accessory shops, reading spaces and regular pop-up exhibitions.