Homestyle Bakery Home Bakery Pop

During some random, directionless wandering of the neighbourhood today, I came upon not only the impressive campus of Nihon University Second High & High School, I also found a new bakery: Home Bakery Pop (ホームベーカリーPOP). Even though it falls just outside the border of Koenjagaya and it’s a small shop with not a huge selection,…

Gorgeous Gallery of Handmade Household Goods

Beside the Kaldi shop, overlooking Asagaya’s Pearl Shotengai from the 2nd floor, is a halcyon shop and gallery of handmade Japanese tableware and miscellaneous goods (or zakka, 雑貨). ZAKKA 土の記憶 (Tsuchi no Kioku), or “Memories of the Clay”, is a shop and exhibition space with a constantly changing inventory of beautiful handmade goods. Exhibitions highlighting…

Honey, Damn Good Honey.

It’s time to bee serious. One thing I love is finding a specialist. Especially one who loves what they do. And that’s exactly what I found at Yoshino Junsui Hachimitsuten (hachimitsu ten = honey shop) on Koenji’s north side, nearing the far end of Koshin Dori shotengai. Everything from the owner’s explanation about the varieties…

Thai Street Food

A few minutes walk out of Asagaya Station’s south exit and you can find yourself as close to Thailand as you can get in Tokyo — plastic chairs and all. Dao Thai is a small Tokyo chain of three locations serving up traditional Thai fare — everything from grilled meat to curries, soups and stir…

“KoenjiFes” Street Festival 2015

This past weekend (Oct 31-Nov 1) Koenji played host to its ever-growing street festival called Koenjifes. Just more to add to the towering pile of evidence that Koenjagaya is the coolest district in Tokyo. Koenjifes is a two-day street festival that began just a few years ago in 2011. Up and down the village’s many…

Asagaya Jazz Streets 2015

The 21st annual Asagaya Jazz Streets was last weekend. Construction at Suginami City Hall caused its stage to relocate to building’s side facing the much busier/louder street of Ome-Kaido. And while the space was a bit more cramped, the traffic wasn’t much of a factor. And it is a much sunnier spot. There were some…

Event of the Year: 59th Koenji Awa-odori

Perhaps the most important festival in the country — nay the world — is upon us. The Koenji Awa-odori Festival is in full-swing. After a misty but more or less rain-free day yesterday, the festival continues today with the ren (dance groups) doing their thing from 5pm-8pm. The Koenji Awa-odori has grown to be counted…

61st Asagaya Tanabata Festival

Dating back to 755 AD in Japan, Asagaya has hosted its own annual Tanabata Matsuri (Seventh Night Festival) since 1954. Tanabata festivals are held throughout Japan, some held in July and some in August. While timing and traditions vary by region they usually involve some form of decoration display or competition. The Suginami-ku Tanabata Festival…

Sincere Gelato… and Damn Good Coffee

Gelato Master Nakai Yosuke wants to bring the experience of small town Italy to Tokyo. And he does so with his elegant gelato shop just north of Asagaya Station. It’s down the hill at the end of Shouwakai Shotengai, but definitely worth the short hike. With perennial standards like pistachio (the must-try flavour), Gelateria Sincertia…

Sugimoney Sold Out in 18 Minutes

We were fortunate to be having breakfast this morning at Victory Cafe, a small chain with 13 cafes across Japan, one of which is on Asagaya’s Pearl Shotengai. Noticing a line of people forming outside, I asked the girl behind the counter what was so special next door. She informed me they were queuing to…

A Southern Neighbour (Sometimes)

Koenjagaya has some neighbours of note and it would be remiss to exclude them based solely on geography. Therefore, I should on occasion remark on noteworthy places adjacent to Koenjagaya (ie: Nakano, Ogikubo, Nerima and others within Suginami). Qjitsuya (pronounced “Kyu-jit-su-ya”) is one such neighbouring establishment. Still within Suginami-ku, it is further south, well-hidden deep within a…

Asagaya Morning Market

Next weekend is the Asagaya Morning Market (“Asaichi” or 朝市)on Shouwakai, one of the smaller shotengai just north of Asagaya Station. It’s a small street market with the shotengai shopkeepers as vendors, with everything from second goods to and locally grown food. There is also a Hawaiian Fest component this year taking place at the…