Shinagawa, based in the heart of what was once a more traditional Tokyo, is one of Japan's most interesting neighborhoods. Filled with shopping, entertainment and activities there is a diverse clash of traditional cobblestone streets with wooden buildings and modern attractions. Tourists often choose Shinagawa as an accommodation destination due to the proximity and access to both major airports and one of the largest train stations in Tokyo. That being said Shinagawa is much more than a convenient hub for travelers. On a recent trip through the streets our group was presented with three diverse but uniquely Japan experiences.
This quaint kimono rental shop is based on the premises of a former Tokaido era inn. Upon entering guests are escorted upstairs by the proprietor into a waiting room where guests will be seated and waited on one at a time. The room is filled with a great variety of yukata and kimono options depending on the season. Choose your favorite style of wear and change behind the Japanese screens. Once you have the kimono on, the experienced kimono wear staff will help you with the final adjustments and obi. This is the perfect start to a visit in Shinagawa as you will feel right at home walking the traditional streets in style.
Facebook Page (Japanese)
Bon Odori Dance and Festival
After getting your sandals on, the next obvious step is to hit the streets and hear the click clack of wood on stone. Within walking distance are several traditional shops filled with foods, clothes, souvenirs and more. It would be easy to spend several hours in the area, but on the night we arrived we had other plans as it was festival season. Following the sounds of the drums and music, we arrived at a large park where the annual Bon Odori Festival was being held. A large, elevated stage with lanterns, lights and banners took the center stage while hundreds of locals and travelers joined together in dance as they circled around. The dances are easy to learn and the locals will be more than happy to help out a fellow traveler join in the fun. Nearby, be sure to check out the numerous food stands or grab a beer. The events are typically held in the summer months so if visiting Japan in July or August be sure to check out a local event calendar.
Shinagawa City Page (English)
Guest House Shinagawa-shuku
One of the best things about Shinagawa is the numerous amount of guest houses and travel lodges. These inexpensive accommodation options are perfect for solo travelers, friends or couples looking for a convenient and affordable stay. Even better than the convenience is the chance to interact and meet like-minded travelers who will join you and share stories in exploring the local areas. One recommended stop is Guest House Shinagawa-shuku. This cozy lodge is filled with friendly local staff who will be more than happy to provide their guests recommendations for local shops, eateries, and events.