Writer: James Morton

Having grown up in Greece and lived in Holland, Spain and most corners of England, James is no stranger to travelling. He decided to move to Japan in early 2014, and after qualifying to be a teacher, transported his life here last year. Based in Tokyo, James divides his time between teaching and creative pursuits, and is currently in pre-production on a short film set in the capital. He is fascinated by Japan’s rich history of cinema and literature, which served as a primary incentive to his move here. His hobbies include reading, writing, hanging out with friends in Tokyo, indulging himself at Mister Donut, and exploring exciting new cities.

Animal Cafes

Surprisingly, animal cafes, or the concept of a café or restaurant where you dine with a feathered or furry friend, isn’t originally from Japan but Taiwan. Still, there’s no denying it’s the Japanese that launched the idea into the mainstream, and we can thank the popularity of cat/reptile/bird cafés in Tokyo for the range of popup animal cafés across Europe, America and beyond.

Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa, aka Shimokita, aka Tokyo’s answer to Dalston and Williamsburg, is an area with a distinct sense of character. Just a short ride from Shinjuku, it’s a popular place for twenty-somethings, who you’ll spot speckled about the place in beanie hats and vintage (zakka) clothing – Shimokitazawa is swimming with secondhand clothes shops.

Yonchome Café

Situated in the Nishi (West) district, there’s no absence of quirkiness: the local Art and Cat Salon boasts a range of cat-themed paraphernalia (from lampshades to clocks), the Under 700 shop features mannequins with fluffy raccoon heads, and there’s even a coffee shop called Poem – a hipster’s Paradise!

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