28 April 2009

Tokyo 9-14Apr09: Day 2

Day 2 was my Jiyūgaoka (自由が丘) day! Hubby wasn't interested in joining my zakka hunt so he explored other areas on his own. We arranged to meet somewhere in the evening.

Took the JR Yamanote Link to Shibuya Station and changed to the Tokyu Toyoko Line which is actually bound for Yokohama.
Both trains on platform 3 and 4 are bound for Jiyugaoka, just that the one on platform 4 is a local train which stops at every stop (takes longer naturally to reach destination) whereas the one on platform 3 is a limited express train which stops at key stops only. It didn't matter which train I take since Jiyugaoka is a key stop. But naturally I would take the limited express which is faster (although it departed slightly later than the local train).
Since I already blogged about quite a number of shops in my trip last year, will not repeat them. Instead, shall introduce some of the shops discovered for this trip. Although Jiyugaoka is not very big, I still haven't manage to cover all the zakka shops. Moreover most shops open after 11am and close by 7 or 8pm.
TEL:03-5731-3650 FAX:03-5731-3658
OPEN AM1030 ~ PM1930
CLOSED 第1水曜日 (1st Wed)

Shop specialising in fabric. Was attracted by the pretty colours and designs of the fabric that are made into curtains, tote bags, cushion covers and more. Too bad I can't sew, else would have bought some fabric. But but, I didn't want to go away empty-handed, so bought 2 cushion covers (the white-base green flora featured in the photo below). My old cushion covers were too boring and these would surely brighten and compliment our living room dark brown sofa set. Ha, legitimate excuse to shop.
Grand Chef

Shop selling all kinds of cookware, bakeware, serveware. Actually, there are many of such shops in Kappabashi Dogugai. But if there is no time to explore different areas of Tokyo, Jiyugaoka can be a one-stop place for most zakka needs. Prices seem to be higher here though.

MOMO natural

MOMO natural 自由が丘店
〒152-0035 東京都目黒区自由が丘2-17-1-1F
TEL/FAX 03-3725-5120
営業時間:11:00~20:00(月~土)/ 11:00~19:30(日)

MOMO natural chic
〒152-0035 東京都目黒区自由が丘2-8-17 2F
TEL/FAX 03-3725-5120
営業時間:11:00~20:00(月~土)/ 11:00~19:30(日)

Another furniture, furnishing, zakka shop. Incline towards European style, simple and subtle designs and muted earth colours.
Passed by a small park with a few sakura trees in full blossom. Didn't have to go to the big parks such as Ueno specially to view sakura. In fact, it's quite pleasant to have quiet moments at such quaint little parks than big parks packed with Japanese families and company workers having traditional hanami parties.

I love the wild white daisy, so rustic and simple.
Mont St. Clair

〒152-0035 東京都目黒区自由ヶ丘2-22-4
電話番号 03-3718-5200
FAX番号 03-3718-7377

My must-visit Patisserie of this trip which I didn't try the previous time.
The shop is not very big, with just a tiny corner counter for dine-in which sits around 6 people. Most of the shop space is dedicated to a large display chiller of cakes, racks of pastries/cookies and a semi-open concept (glass view) of the kitchen.

Was overwhelmed by the array of cakes in the chiller and didn't know which to choose! Decided to ask the chef for recommendation. After selecting the cakes, if the seats were fully occupied, patrons had to wait in line for the next available seat.

The chef highly recommended this award winning C'est la vie. The mousse-like cake was very creamy but light with a thin layer of sweet shortcrust pastry and topped with fresh rasberry. There was some interesting pistachio sponge and crispy chocolate bran encased. Wow, it was so light and delicate and I felt compiled to handle it gently and eat it tenderly. Yum...

The other recommendation was Strawberry Shortcake, I think a seasonable offer since strawberry is in season now. The vanilla sponge was light and so was the whipped cream. And naturally, the strawberry was sweet and juicy. Can't go wrong with strawberry shortcake!

This was on the counter, so I thought to give it a try as well. Flaky pastry with chestnut and almond cream and a whole chestnut was encrusted within. Rich but not too heavy.

After the satisfying lunch (yes, pastries for lunch :D), back to shopping!
〒152-0035 東京都目黒区自由が丘2-10-7
TEL 03-3723-8687
FAX 03-3723-8587
営業時間 11:00~20:00  年中無休(年末年始を除く)

Bags, umbrellas, accessories with pretty prints. I bought a bracelet here :p
Finally found Trainchi, a cluster of zakka/lifestyle shops. Was trying to find this place last year when I was here, but somehow couldn't (map shows that it is just next to the railway track). In fact I stumbled upon it this time as I sort of forgotten about it already. Definitely excited!
There are 13 shops here, with bakery and cafe, world gourmet/deli shop, zakka, clothing and accessories.

No bicycles allowed along the boardwalk and these cute barricades are put up.
Wonder if we can have such cute barricades in SG?
The place is called Trainchi because it is just next to the subway?

Pylones by petit conquin http://www.petitcoquin.net/
Decouture http://www.d-couture.jp/index.html

Arrivee et Depart http://www.arrivee-et-depart.com/
Karel Capek the teatime shop http://www.karelcapek.co.jp/
Yes, now they have a branch in Jiyugaoka, I don't have to go to Kichijoji.

Natural Plenty http://www.natural-plenty.jp/
one's terrace http://www.club-ones.com/

Standing on the subway track of Jiyugaoka!

My last stop at Jiyugaoka was this Patisserie cum Cafe called Mont-Blanc. I'm quite obsessed with the Financier sold here which has salted caramel nut filling.
There is a latest product on sale, called Macaron Jiyugaoka. Apparently quite an in-thing now, besides filling macaron shells with cream or ganache, a small bit of fruit or nut or jelly is added as well.
These are just samples ok, but look realistic enough to pass off as the real thing. Interesting tomato flavour above and choco praline below.
After covering most of my favourite shops and the new ones, it was almost evening and time to meet hubby for dinner. Had arranged to meet at Shinjuku initially but I was too tired to explore further and just wanted to have a nice dinner and rest.
So we headed back to Ikebukuro and found this eatery offering Jap-chinese cuisine in one of the side lanes at Sunshine 60 Street. Were lured by the aroma in fact. The eatery was crowded (good sign!) but we got a seat fairly quickly.

Crispy gyoza.
My fried rice. It was the slightly moist type, short grain rice was used with bits of char siu, egg and spring onions.
Hubby ordered this spicy, ne-gi ramen. The broth was soothing and ramen very QQ texture.

Couldn't resist ordering one more side dish. The chicken wings were very well marinated and broiled till very tender, such that the bone nearly dropped off by itself when we bit into the meat. Succulent!
After dinner, headed back to the hotel as I was totally exhausted!


  1. Hi there! Came across your blog while googling "Jiyugaoka". Food, Travel, Zakka - my favourites too!
    I was recently in Tokyo too, and fell in love with Jiyugaoka :) Your entries are a source of "infotainment" - very informative yet entertaining with great pictures.

    Thanks to you, I've more websites/blogs to browse and plenty of new places to explore for my next Tokyo trip (when will that be??) Keep up the good work! :)

  2. Oh, forgot to mention how envious I am of your frequent overseas trips and your ability to juggle work, baking hobby and blogging...you're one great juggler :)

    Those items you bought in Japan are so pretty! I'm a sucker for all things nice...displays, boxes, packaging, designs... Wanted so much to buy everything but there's only so much money to spare...

  3. oohhhh... i'm so jealous of your zakka-hunting trip in jiyugaoka! Grand Chef looks interesting, I'm gonna chk it out if I were to go to tokyo again!

  4. Hi Gal!
    Thanks for visiting my blog =D We have alot in common! I like to multi-task, but it's not easy to juggle the things I enjoy :p Certain things will be conveniently put at the back of my mind like housekeeping! You should see how messy my house is now! Haha. I guess probably also because I don't have kids yet so can afford more time to indulge in personal stuff. Nice to meet you!

  5. Hi Piggy,
    I highly recommend Kappabashi Dogugai for you since you are so into cooking and baking. There are so many shops selling cooking and baking stuff that I'm sure you would be lingering there for one full day =D

  6. I am glad that I have chanced upon your blog/website. I am "finally" going to Tokyo this June for a 6days holiday with my girlfriend. This is my 1st time traveling w/o hubby & 2 teenage sons, I am very excited! I hope I get to visit all the places that you have been. It is so interesting!

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. haa
    didnt know i can drop a coment here
    its nice to see so many beauty here
    keep it update then
    will share a lot of nice stuff here too soon..
    jya have a nice day
    ziwei momo