A little piece of Europe near Shinagawa Station (Photo: Sandra Isaka)

Shinagawa's Princess Garten

A hint of Europe in a quiet Japanese neighborhood

A little piece of Europe near Shinagawa Station (Photo: Sandra Isaka)
Sandra Isaka   - 3 min read

One of the wonderful things about Japan is that you never know what you might stumble upon while wandering around. I certainly didn't expect to find a little piece of Europe in a secluded area near Shinagawa Station.

As I rounded the corner in a quiet neighborhood, I was suddenly in front of an imposing bright orange building, obviously not of Japanese design. As it turns out, it is a restaurant, The Terrace Takanawa, which offers three delicious 'European' lunch sets, ranging from ¥2500 to ¥5000. I decided to try the ¥2500 set which consisted of an appetizer, main dish choice of meat or fish, dessert, and coffee or tea. It was fantastic. Dinner sets range from ¥3500 to ¥7500.

As I climbed up a set of stairs to the back of the restaurant, a thicket enveloped me, the street became cobblestones, and I was standing in another world. On my left, a three story red building with a sign that read 'Bukowski 3B Sweden' beckoned me to enter. And so I did.

Once inside, one staircase led down to a lovely concert hall and another led upstairs to a small shop selling teddy bears and other stuffed animals designed by the Swedish company, Bukowski Design AB.

The complex is owned by a Japanese classical musical conductor, Yuki Miyagi. Originally the building was a giant year-round Christmas store modeled upon a shop the conductor had fallen in love with in Germany. The interior was built by German craftsmen and almost all of the Christmas items on sale there were made by German artisans. Unfortunately, the Christmas shop no longer exists. However, every November and December half of the Bukowski shop becomes a 'Christmas Market' showcasing handmade German treasures.

The entire complex is called the 'Princess Garten' and its main function is as a wedding facility. If you are in need of a wedding venue, there is a beautiful chapel on the third floor of the red building and other wedding-related rooms are in the back half of the building housing the restaurant. So, if you do decide to visit, be aware that the restaurant and/or concert hall might be closed due to a private engagement.

The Bukowski shop is open from 11:00 - 18:00 and is closed on Monday. The restaurant serves lunch from 11:30 - 15:00, and dinner from 17:30 - 22:30 (22:00 on Sundays). It is also closed on Monday. The Princess Garten is a short walk from Shinagawa Station. The website is only in Japanese, but there are good photos to help guide you there.

Sandra Isaka

Sandra Isaka @sandra.isaka

As an intercultural consultant & Japan travel specialist with 20 years in Japan, I love sharing my favorite places with others.