Friday, December 14, 2012

Shimo Takaido Cycling Adventure

My newly acquired bicycle (nicknamed Donki-chan!) is providing me with a lot more freedom to explore my surroundings, and a great alternative to those crowded, smelly trains (for some reason, the Marunouchi line trains tend to have dubious smells, that vary from moth balls to vinegar).

Even though the weather is crisp (read: cold!), cycling is always an option in the winter, after putting on thick gloves and a scarf. Last night, I tried a new route and cycled all the way to Shimo-Takaido, a quaint little area a few stops from my old stomping grounds of Shimokitazawa.

Shimo-Takaido is like a small village- it boasts a shopping street full of traditional shops and restaurants. It feels very old Tokyo, and daytime is probably filled with obaasan (grandmothers) shopping for daily vegetables. Yet, it's also a very trendy area of Tokyo, as it's often featured on Japanese television for its "famous" food stalls and sweet shops, where young Tokyoites queue up at the weekends.

After warming up with some Christmas-themed beverages, I followed the Tokyo pro to this lesser-known area of the city, where I was introduced to rows of small shops and narrow streets, full of treasures I have yet to hunt out: a grilled meat stall, a take-out Indian place, a sushi place, and small bars offering import beers. As for last night, we stuck to Vietnamese fare, where I had the best vegetarian pho I've ever had, filled to the brim with greens.

The cycle home was a bit cold, but the workout warmed me up. I highly recommend visiting Shimo Takaido!



Shimo Takaido station


The shopping street in Shimo Takaido


Bicycle Romance


Pho!

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