Things to Do: A Night Out in Naka-meguro

Naka-meguro, Tokyo. Image by Ko Sasaki for The New York Times. If you need a break from the complete chaos of a night in Shibuya, Shinjuku or Roppongi but still want to see an active part of Tokyo, try Naka-meguro.  A town split by the Meguro River, it's emerged as a hotspot for "see and be seen" types.  Writes The New York Times:

“It’s a hub of celebrities, musicians, designers and comedians,” said Fraser Cooke, who moved to Nakameguro from London
three years ago to work as Nike’s global-brand energy leader. “It’s
tipped as a major hot spot in the design community, more foreigners
live here than ever before, and there’s new restaurants popping up
everywhere.”

The Times' travel guides usually have pretty expensive tastes, but the paper's look at Naka-meguro highlights some pretty affordable restaurants and shops.  And it also conveys the neighborhood's unique take on everything, like a coffee shop that turned the back half of an old Citroen into a cafe counter. 

“It’s gotten so that the locals don’t even leave anymore,” said Hideaki Ishii, who runs a clothing shop in the area.  Ishii's quote may be the best sign of all that Naka-meguro is worth the visit, even more than the countless celebs who mention the place when asked where they like to hang out. 

The best travel is about integrating with local people instead of going point-to-point, taking pictures of famous places and seeing nothing else.  Japan offers a really unique opportunity to be amongst the locals – so when in Tokyo, do as the Tokyoites do. 

Read Still Hip After the Blossoms Fade in Tokyo at The New York Times.