Every Tokyo itinerary will include Ueno and Akihabara. Instead of taking the train from Ueno for a couple of stops to Akihabara, why not walk from Ameyoko Street in Ueno to Akihabara, passing by the art space 2K540?
A clever use of space under a highway, 2K540 is a designer, art space with a clean, minimalist theme. The pillars of the highway in this space are pure white and adorned with the distinctive black and white logo, which makes it easy to spot.
You may wonder about the meaning behind the cryptic name of 2K540. The name is actually a simple reflection of the centrality of its location - the art street is 2 km and 540 m away from the center of Tokyo.
The streets and the shops are futuristic and artistic at the same time. Within this pure white space, there are many handicrafts shops specializing in different items. Shops selling woodcrafts and leather products are predominant, but there are also others selling quirky items like customized metal accessories and like handcrafted kaleidoscopes. A select few sold traditional Japanese potter ware. These unique handcrafted items certainly add a personal touch instead of those factory-manufacture items from mega franchises.
On of my favourite shops in 2K540 is HACAO, a shop selling wooden accessories - anything from daily necessities to accessories like iPhone covers and namecard holders. Check out the Full Ki Board, pun wholly intended (Ki is wood in Japanese). Their accessories are lightweight, absolutely functional and give your items a “down-to-earth” look.
There are also two cafes in 2K540 worth mentioning: Café Asan and Yanaka Coffee. Perhaps due to their location in a relatively new art space, they are relatively uncrowded and great for an afternoon of work or quiet reading over a cup of coffee. Cafe Asan offers affordable lunch sets under 1000 yen while Yanaka Coffee serves up a good, strong blended coffee. Have a relaxing afternoon here as you resting your legs after walking through Ameyoko in Ueno or the Electrical Town in Akihabara.
The art space of 2K540 has earned itself the 2011 Good Design Award and is certainly a spot worthy of checking out! Do slot 2K540 in between your itinerary between Ueno and Akihabara and enjoy sauntering through this sophisticated art street.