Despite the cold winter weather and the comfort of my warm hotel bed, my circadian rhythm saw me out on the streets of a megacity that was waking up. Children on their way to school and cyclists on the go. Shibuya Crossing was already teeming with commuters. I grabbed a quick latte at Fuglen Coffee before heading to the Meiji Shrine, passing through Jinnan – Tokyo’s hip and design hood.
Being located on the outer fringe of Yoyogi Park, the forested area leading to the Meiji Shrine offered much calmness and relief to a dense concrete jungle. At the Meiji Shrine, I was fortunate enough to catch two middle-aged ladies in their traditional Japanese garbs, an unfrequented sight in a modern Tokyo. Juxtaposing the Meiji Shrine that was built in 1920s in a vernacular style, the streets of Omotensando are lined with buildings by acclaimed architects. From Herzog and De Mueron’s Prada Store to the three-dimensional lattice structure of the Sunny Hill’s Bakery by Kengo Kuma, walking the streets of Omotensando for any architectural enthusiast was akin to a child in a candy store.
With most shops and businesses opening at 1100hrs, I found myself having a second cup of coffee at Koffee Memaya. Koffee Memaya, essentially meaning coffee beans in Japanese is a bean bar where one can sample various beans before settling for the one they like. My last stop for the morning was at Ichiran, Tokyo’s most popular ramen chain known for their solo dining experience. A quintessential experience one should not miss.