Shibuya, a neighborhood long known for its pulsing vibe as one of Tokyo’s central hotspots for shopping and nightlife, has recently revamped itself even further into a lushly verdant, multi-skyscraper zone aimed at attracting creative designers, entrepreneurial startups and leaders of edgy global youth culture. A major player in this exciting renovation is Rayard Miyashita Park.
A shopping, food, and recreation complex located just a three-minute walk from Shibuya station, the park feels like a microcosm of all the best that the metropolis has to offer; and this mishmash of hybrid styles is exactly the point. By placing high-end brand stores alongside vintage record shops and a music bar—and Asian fusion cuisine near coffee, organic matcha and soft cream stands—Miyashita Park brings a cliché to life by truly offering something for people of all ages and interests. And in a nod to the establishment’s roots as an actual park prior to the construction of the shopping complex, its website notes that “this free-style mélange is the park of tomorrow: the new Miyashita Park where people, the wind, flowers, and birds, are all welcome.”
One of the establishment’s most unique features, located on its ground level south side, is Shibuya Yokocho. A yokocho is a narrow alleyway lined with shops, bars and/or eateries, and this one is unique among its brethren due to its extensive culinary offerings from throughout the Japanese archipelago—as well as from neighboring China and Korea. The spacious yokocho also regularly puts on regionally-themed performances and entertainment events, and features an upstairs karaoke bar. It offers seating for 1200 people indoors, and 400 more on its outside terrace. Each region has its own stall, replete with a thick menu featuring an array of local foods; and some of its stalls stay open all night, to satisfy its late-night visitors’ cravings.
“We offer a range of B-kyu-gurume (a Japanese phenomenon of authentic and affordable regional foods) featuring dishes that you would normally have to travel elsewhere to find—but which you can enjoy right here,” explains Shibuya Yokocho manager Mikio Ogasawara.
“Whether it’s Toyama prefectural specialties such as black ramen, or buri (Japanese amberjack fish) from the region of Himi—or gyoza dumplings from Hakata in northern Kyushu’s Fukuoka prefecture—you can come here to enjoy foods from around the country that are both beloved by locals and popular among visiting tourists,” he adds.
After indulging in your cuisine of choice at Shibuya Yokocho, a ride up either of Miyashita Park’s adjacent elevators will take you to the upper floors, where you can continue your adventuring at your own pace. The layout of the complex is extremely easy to navigate—with north and south wings on the first three floors, atop which sits the rooftop level. In addition, everything is clearly mapped out on the park’s online floor guide. As you meander through its stylish shops, prepare to be impressed by places such as the Nose Shop—which actually has a large nose fronting its entrance—and whose decadent fragrances will invite you inside to sniff its array of perfumes on offer, including the chance to drop 900 yen worth of specialty tokens into a machine that will then produce a randomly selected fragrance.
While you can easily be tempted here to shop till you drop, there are also a multitude of options for rest when tired legs eventually ask for a break. In addition to the numerous restaurants and cafes dotting the complex, benches are also placed strategically throughout the grounds alongside lush green foliage, where you can chill out with a beverage while peering down into the Shibuya cityscape below. Or, order something to go and enjoy it picnic-style on the sprawling grassy area located on the rooftop. Outdoor enthusiasts will also want to note that the rooftop level additionally offers a bouldering wall, skate park and multi-purpose sports facility.
An establishment such as Rayard Miyashita Park, where you can easily spend hours wandering through the numerous available offerings and not even scratch the surface, is unique indeed. And to offer another cliché that yet again rings true, Miyashita Park will have you returning again and again to create new experiences and memories—as well as to see how this innovative locale continues to reinvent itself along with the changing times.