In the fashionable back streets of Harajuku lies a hidden gem for both the stylish and health conscious: David Otto Juice. Recent years have seen Tokyo blossom into a wellness city, thoughtfully adapting trends from overseas with personality and craftsmanship. Vegetarianism, clean eating and now cold-pressed juicing are being eagerly embraced by Japan’s urbanites. David Otto Juice is The Sazaby League’s take on David Otto’s the iconic Beverly Hills Juice, an adaption faithful to the original but somehow still quintessentially Japanese. Metropolis went to find out what the buzz is about.
David Otto Juice is tucked away in a quiet corner between Shibuya and Harajuku. Inside the gorgeous wooden paneled building, the decor is sparse but inviting, with brightly colored juices and rainbow branding offset against cool tiles. It feels fresh, as if you’ve come after a day at the beach, rather than from a commuter train in Tokyo. Decor aside, the cold-pressed juice itself is the store’s centerpiece. It’s delicious, tangibly fresh and packed full of healthy ingredients. Cold-pressing is a method of extracting juice from fruit and vegetables by using two tonnes of weight on the produce. As no heat or water pressure is used, more vitamins, minerals and nutrients remain in the finished product. Metropolis sampled a wide variety of the juices on offer but we were not allowed to photograph the cold-pressed juicing machine — it is unique to David Otto Juice and they guard it with utmost secrecy. The juicing process is treated with almost reverence.
David Otto Juice pride themselves on sourcing the best ingredients from Japan and abroad. Distance or difficulty should be no barrier to excellence. One of their secrets is using special organic coconuts licensed by the US Department of Agriculture as a base. This is one of the ways they produce the fresh sweetness characteristic of their brand. Juice connoisseurs will enjoy the store’s matcha concoction which is only available in Japan.
When you drink David Otto Juice you feel as if a bit of Beverly Hills glamour has rubbed off on you. Part of this is the enduring legend of the man himself. Born in 1936, he worked in the music industry in Los Angeles and became a vegetarian during the swinging sixties. From there, his new focus on healthy living lead him to juicing which quickly became a vocation. For a good friend he formed Beverly Hills Juice in 1975 to share his passion for cold-pressed juice with the LA community. His enduring reputation is what has kept business booming for over 40 years.
There is an interesting synergy between Otto’s attitude towards juice and Japanese mindsets about clean eating, which is perhaps the reason Tokyo suits David Otto Juice so well. Like many members of the Japanese health community, Otto is adamant that ingredients should be 100 percent organic. The story of how David Otto Juice was brought to Japan is one of Japanese perseverance. Otto was initially reluctant to share his precious juice brand overseas. A Japanese representative from The Sazaby League reportedly flew to California to ask Otto if the company could open a Japanese store but was turned down. Undeterred, he took a job in Otto’s juice shop and worked his way up, eventually earning Otto’s respect. It has taken time, talent and long, careful labor to bring David Otto Juice to Tokyo, but the finished store is undoubtedly worth it. For a healthful touch of Beverly Hills glamor in Tokyo and, above all, exquisite taste, head down to David Otto Juice to refresh your body and soul.
David Otto Juice
2-6-3 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku.
Mon – Sun: 9am – 7:30pm