by Akiko Hamaoka

Perhaps it’s the river that flows through Nakameguro that gives the area i t s reputation for clear creativity. Somehow out here, the metropolis obscured by hills to the east seems a bit more manageable.

Avoid the increasingly commercialized Yamate Dori and head straight for the backstreets. A walk along the Meguro River leads to expertly curated shops like Vase for vintage fashion, Cow Books for literature, and Mizuma Gallery for home-grown artists.

Nakameguro is often called “trendy,” a label that seems trite for those who live here. Trendy places have come and gone, and what remains is quality.

1. John Lawrence Sullivan
Slimline Tokyo menswear from former professional boxer Arashi Yangawa.
1-19-7 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5428-0068

2. ilil
Multi-label (foreign designers) and vintage store open only on Saturdays, 12-7pm.
2F, 1-11-1 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

3. 1LDK
Multi-label store (men’s) selected by the charismatic former buyer for FACTORY, Takayuki Minami.
1-8-28 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3780-1645

4. Venom
International and Japanese designers such as DIET BUTCHER SLIM SKIN, enamel, JEREMY SCOTT, etc.
MS Bldg B1F, 1-19-7, Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5728-4765

5. Mizima Art Gallery
Leading gallery of noteworthy new contemporary artists.
Fujiya Bldg 2F, 1-3-9 Kami-Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03 3793 7931

6. H
Hidden vintage store for grown-ups.
1-2-15 Naka-Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3793-7757

7. Higashi Yama
Stunning modern Japanese design with food to match. Cocktail bar in the basement.
1-21-25 Higashiyama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

8. Akira
Lively yakitori restaurant by the river. Also has excellent veggie dishes.
1-10-23 Naka-Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3793-0051

9. Junkadelic
Tokyo’s favorite Mexican restaurant. Be sure to book ahead. Follow with drinks at Slow Jam next door.
4-10-4 Kami-Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5725-5020

10. Gosse
Beloved casual bar with red & leopard interior.
Located to the south, near Meguro Dori.
2-10-15 Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3779-9779