Meguro and its surrounding neighbourhoods are some of the most quaint in the whole of Tokyo. By no means the type of showstopper next door Shinjuku represents, Meguro is full of small boutiques, cafés and wine bars. Often overlooked by Tokyo visitors, this gentrified ward is home to a beautiful riverside with some of the best sakura during cherry-blossom season and countless museums and galleries. It’s at once familiar and exotic, like Tokyo is at its very best. The number of foreign embassies and consulates based in Meguro is also testament to the quality of life it offers to residents and visitors alike.
Where to stay: Claska
Claska is Tokyo’s original and arguably best design hotel with 20 guest rooms, several galleries, a beautiful design store, restaurant and event spaces. It’s situated on one of the main streets Meguro Dori and whilst a bit off the beaten track, there is plenty to see and do within walking distance of the hotel. Ongoing collaborations with local designers and architects means that each of its rooms are different and the vibe, whilst Japanese-inspired, will appeal to fans of publications such as Monocle, Kinfolk or Wallpaper*. Claska also houses the city’s most fashionable dog-grooming salon, DogMan. Borrow a bike from the approachable front-desk staff and go exploring the neighbourhood!
Where to have breakfast:
Claska does a good breakfast but if you’d like a change, almost next door is Factory & Labo Coffee where coffee is taken seriously. The industrial space has all the stylings of a factory with the street-facing glass facade letting in ample natural light while beautiful wood fixtures turn the lofty interior into a modern coffeehouse, where its easy to spend an hour or two sampling the different cold brews and watching the eccentric mix of locals dropping in for their fix. The roastery with the roasting machine gets the best spot in the middle of the building and is on show to customers. Factory & Labo Kanno Coffee also houses a coffee research lab, an academy offering coffee workshops, and a coffee retail corner.
A short walk away is also Blue Bottle Coffee, which is housed in a surprisingly charming former electrical-parts factory, three stories high and triangular in shape. A solid option for serious coffee lovers.
Where to have lunch:
Seirinkan. You’ve probably seen it on the Netflix show Ugly Delicious and even if you haven’t, you should probably drop by for some of the best pizza going. There’s only two options on the menu; the Margherita or Marinara and they both get the müd stamp of approval. Pizza master Susumu Kakinuma knows his dough. The Naka Meguro area is also filled to the brim with cute shops and bars so set aside some time before and after lunch.
Where to have dinner:
Sushi Rinda. Back to Netflix where Jiro may dream of sushi, but for the realists out there, Sushi Rinda offers an amazing culinary experience without the fuss of a weeks-ahead reservation and financial ruin. Both itamae Yuta Kono and Yuta Takahashi are great company also in english and it’s highly recommended to let them guide you through the omakase menu of around 30 courses, with seasonal highlights such as steamed abalone slices served during müd’s visit in late July. Besides the familiar tuna cuts and salmon roe, you’ll find seafood you rarely see outside Japan like : tachiuo (cutlass fish), mirugai (giant clam) and shirako (soft, sperm-filled milt sacs).