Shimokita in the 90s

A Look Back at Tokyo's Best Kept Secret

Punks in Shimokitazawa

For me, the best decade of my life was definitely the 90’s. The world just seemed to be ‘better’. Bill Clinton was in the White-House, rock’n’roll bands were back in the charts and there was just a general feel good vibe about the world we lived in. The freedom we enjoyed then is now looked back upon as something that - although we took it for granted at the time, is now probably recognized as something we will never see again. The post 9-11 world we now live in is over protective and anything that is vaguely not politically correct attracts attention and cotton wool measures designed to protect us more often than not just spoil our fun more than anything else.

Shimokita South Exit in the 90s

Although now well and truly on the map as a must see area of Tokyo for tourists, Shimokitazawa in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward was Tokyo’s best kept secret in the 1990’s and was a completely different world than other well known places in Tokyo such as Harajuku or Akihabara.

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

At any given night of the week you could find several budding musicians or other kinds of street performers plying their trade outside the south exit of the old Shimokitazawa station. Street vendors (one of them even selling magic mushrooms at a time when a loophole in the law made it legal) and a large area where people could sit down just outside a convenience store that sold liquor was the best bar in town for those who frequented the area.

Street Performer, Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokita is still a fantastic place with many great music venues, bars, restaurants and vintage or collectable stores, but will always be a place held special in the hearts for those lucky enough to experience it back in the 90’s.

Street Artist, Shimokitazawa in the 90s

I was lucky enough to be in Shimokitazawa back in the 90’s and took some photos for you to enjoy. I’m sure there are some familiar faces there for those who were in this special place during a very unique period of history. Enjoy!

The Author's Jewellery Stall, South Exit, Shimokitazawa
Street vendors operated outside the South exit selling anything from jewellery, art & even magic mushrooms! - This is my old jewellery stand!

The Author's Jewellery Stall, South Exit, Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

The Author's Jewellery Stall, South Exit, Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa in the 90s
Nambu Torota from the Tokyo Shock Boys was a regular in those days

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Punk in Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s

Shimokitazawa in the 90s
The author with friends in Shimokitazawa in the 90s

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About the Author

Mat Buc

Mat Buc

Mat Buc is a long term Tokyo expat of Tokyo's Shimokitazawa. He has lived and worked closely with the Japanese and foreign community for almost 2 decades and is currently involved in tourism & Japanese antiques.

Reviews (1)

  • Emma

    Emma

    07 October 2015 at 10:54 | #

    Wow, love the photos and the fashion.

    reply

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