For those after true insight into the young Tokyo art scene, there really is no better place to look than the Design Festa complex, located just a minute’s walk from the main Harajuku shops.
Admission is completely free and the combinations of installations, paintings, drawings and sculptures really do show you a side of Japanese culture beyond the completely inaccurate French maid and businessman stereotypes.
Tucked away between the two Design Festa East and West galleries is the Design Festa Café & Bar which is entirely outside though does feature several tables protected by plastic curtains for protection during chilly weather.
The entire space has a lovely artistic vive, surrounded by mural-covered walls and the garden’s trees that really make you feel at home.
The coffee here won’t blow you away but is definitely some of the cheapest you will find in Tokyo, selling for just 190 yen a cup! The food is what you come here for though, with good serving sizes of taco rice, pasta and more for 550 to 650 yen. It really is excellent value and perfect for families or people on a budget.
They also have a rather impressive variety of non-Japanese beer available with well over 15 brands going from 500 to 900 yen a bottle. They even sell some organic beer! The combination of outdoor seating, food and beer makes Design Festa Café & Bar and fantastic location for summer evening get-togethers or for a nice place to chill before or after hitting the Harajuku shops.
Station: Harajuku, Meiji-jingumae and Omotesando
Train Line: (Harajuku) Yamanote, (Meiji-jingumae) Chiyoda and Fukutoshin, (Omotesando) Ginza, Chiyoda and Hanzomon
Features: Outdoor Seating
Menu Language: English, Japanese
Hours: 11:30am – 11pm
Address: 〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前3-20-18
3-20-18, Jingumae, Shibuya Ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Map: View on GoogleMaps
Directions: From Harajuku Station, walk completely through the famous shopping street, Takeshita Street to a large road called, Meiji Street. Cross this road and walk down the street directly in front of you that’s between the large KDDI building on your right and a sports store on your left. When you get to the Family Mart, turn left and walk down this small street. You should see a small sign for the Design Festa buildings on your left. Look for a small alley with creative paintings all over the walls.
If coming from Meiji Jingumae Station, take Exit 5 and walk along Meiji Street towards the end of Takeshita Street. Once at the entrance of Takeshita Street, cross Meiji Street to the KDDI building and follow the directions above.
When arriving from Omotesado Station, use Exit A2 and walk downhill on the right side of the road. When you see a police box, turn right and walk down CAT Street for a few minutes. After passing the Family Mart convenience store, look for the small alleyway entrance to Design Festa on your left.