Walk Here: Logroad Daikanyama

February 13, 2016 08:01
Visitors can try the craft brewery in Logroad Daikanyama. Photo: Brendon Hong

Cities need to be green. Otherwise, they become the urban hellholes of William Gibson’s description: "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

When part of the Tokyu Toyoko Line was moved underground, land freed up. It was prime real estate too -- one stop from busy, bustling Shibuya, but in the quiet Daikanyama neighborhood.

Independent cafes and boutiques dot the landscape nearby. It’s easy to see how the area is a nice escape on weekends, when salarymen and salarywomen can shed their monochromic office wear to kick back and relax.

There was one problem: the land was previously meant for tracks, nothing more. It’s long, but narrow, so it has a weird footprint, and that limits its second life. So, what to do with it?

Then came the concept of Logroad Daikanyama, a space that is a park, social space and business area rolled into one. A series of five buildings, Logroad greets visitors first with a craft brewery and all-day diner called Spring Valley Brewery, a cozy farm-to-table operation that brews its beer on-site.

Turn into Logroad’s compound and you’ll find a coffee shop and homeware store called Fred Segal, and the following two buildings house its womenswear and menswear stores. Try their Camden’s Blue Star donuts, especially the ones that incorporate local flavors.

The fifth and final building is Garden House Crafts, a cafe that, like Spring Valley, serves food made with locally sourced produce. It’s usually the compound’s most popular location during breakfast hours on any given weekday. You can step onto the roof too, though you won’t see too far.

That’s because Logroad’s developers deliberately kept their buildings short. They wanted the place to blend into its laid-back surroundings. The thought behind keeping their new development no higher than two stories was to respect the people who already reside in Daikanyama.

Using real wood and large windows for the minimal exteriors not only gives the place a modern, almost Scandinavian edge; it also creates a bright, open space for people to hang out.

The footpath running by all five buildings may be narrow, but it’s flanked by greenery on both sides, a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle that is Shibuya, or, in general, metropolitan Tokyo. Looking down from any of the adjacent apartment buildings, Logroad appears as a park.

Logroad Daikanyama is a wonderful demonstration of how the reappropriation of space can be executed.

It doesn’t squeeze out every possible square foot for retail space -- only about 1,900 square meters of the 3,200 sq meter lot is used for that. The project didn’t stall, leaving prime land unused.

Even though it’s a short hike from the closest rail stops -- four minutes from Daikanyama Station or nine minutes from Ebisu Station -- the walk is worth it, especially on sunny days, because cities need to breathe, and so do you.


Logroad Daikanyama is located at Daikanyama-cho 13-1, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. More information can be found at http://www.logroad-daikanyama.jp.

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Spring Valley Brewery also provides all-day diner. Photo: Brendon Hong
A narrow footpath running by all five buildings is flanked by greenery on both sides. Photo: Brendon Hong

EJ Insight contributor