By on July 12, 2014
The first impression you may get upon leaving the main exit of Jiyugaoka station is that it seems a bit cramped, as just outside the round about is tightly hugged by stores as visitors and residents mill about.


But, if you take the time to wander down any of the many connecting arteries you will find an utterly pleasant neighborhood brimming with small boutiqes, cafes, restaurants, pastry shops, children’s stores and a plethora of home furnishing/interior decorating spots.

Jiyugaoka, otherwise known as “Freedom Hill” is located just six stops from Shibuya on the Tokyu-Toyoko line and just next to Denenchofu, Japan’s Beverly Hills. Situated between Shibuya’s hustle and its neighbor’s affluence, this little village-like area is both trendy and funky.

With private homes lining the streets and a healthy variety of expensive automobiles cruising about, it is obvious that affluence abounds. But contrary to the prestige parked in their driveways, the people of this area lean more toward preppy and neo-hippy than they do the lives of the rich and famous. Brand heavyweights such as Lacoste and Laura Ashley are nestled next to independent bric-a-brac and artisan shops, giving the whole area a quaint, easy going feeling.

But to me, the most outstanding characteristic of this area, above its immediate coziness and the tree-and bench-lined promenades and communal warmth, is something you cannot touch, taste, smell or see. For a place located in close proximity to one of the world’s noisiest city centers, Jiyugaoka is sublimely tranquil and relaxed. No screaming shopkeepers, no traffic cacophony, no blaring advertising or searing neon signs, just a nice place to stroll around, perhaps grab a bite to eat and do some window shipping. Oh, and kids!

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