Explore a back street of Shibuya, and you’ll find secret restaurants.

If you want to visit Shibuya and find a secret place where few tourists are seen and only locals are around, I'd like to recommend the Hyakkendana area in Shibuya’s Dogenzaka town. Hyakkendana means “100 stores” and this used to be the busiest area in Shibuya more than a half century ago. Actually I once lived in this neighborhood and there is still nostalgia in the atmosphere of the town and popular restaurants and bars are operating just like they used to decades ago.

To reach the area, you should leave from the Hachiko exit at Shibuya Station and walk across the famous Shibuya “Scramble” crossing which is known as one of the busiest intersections in the world. Then, you will soon see "109" which is a popular fashion building for shopping and learning about the most recent trends. Then, walk along the slope on the left side of 109 called "Dogenzaka". After a-couple-of-minutes,, you'll find a sign at the right side to indicate the entrance Hyakkendana. Turn right and walk up a slightly steeper slope and you will find a variety of local restaurants and bars.

On the right side is "Tamagawa", an Izakaya sushi restaurant where you can enjoy sushi and great Japanese rice wine at a very moderate price. On the left is a ramen restaurant "Kiraku". I like "ramen with bean sprouts and wonton dumplings" but today I choose to skip it.

If you go straight ahead, you will find "B. Y. G", a bar that plays 60's and 70's rock music, and "Lion" is a coffee house that plays LP records of classical music. Both of them attract regular daily customers who love music and gather to listen.

Today, I turn left here, and on the next corner is a famous curry restaurant called "Murugi" but, it's already closed today at the time I arrive. On the opposite side stands a building where the restaurant of my choice today is located. Since there is only an unremarkable black-and-white sign, most visitors would hesitate before going into the building to find a new or interesting place to eat and drink.

On the second floor, there is a tavern "Sin Kaya" that offers the local specialties of Yamanashi prefecture about an hour outside of Tokyo by car. You may not have heard the name of the prefecture but it is the home of Mount Fuji and The Fuji Five Lakes. Katsunuma town, and Koshu City is also located in the prefecture and known as one of the most renowned wine producer in Japan.

The shopkeeper "Sin-san", whose parents were born in Yamanashi, has started this tavern to offer the special local cuisine, wines and sakes (rice wines) produced in Yamanashi prefecture. Koshu beef and Hoto noodles are very popular dishes in the area. Hoto is a thick kind of Udon noodle boiled with several kinds of vegetables in miso (soybean) flavored broth. I would like to recommend you have them with white wine made in Koshu district.

Another article about the food and wine I enjoyed.

by Hagi

You might also like