Azabu Gardens Journal

Out and about around Azabu Gardens

What the neighborhood offers

By Megan Waters

There really is no neighborhood in Tokyo quite like Moto-Azabu. Green open spaces and child-friendly parks abound, and on taking a walk through its inviting streets, there is a real cosmopolitan atmosphere, with international schools, supermarkets and clinics all within walking distance.

In the heart of it all is Azabu Gardens, an ideal home away from home for families and couples. Living here, it’s easy to see that the area’s reputation as Tokyo's most desirable international neighborhood should not be taken lightly!

Beautiful and wide tree-lined avenues, which are somewhat a rarity in an otherwise concrete jungle, mean the area is ideal for walks and kids can be let loose with peace of mind. While Tokyo is notorious for close, cramped spaces on narrow winding streets, it's easy to forget you are in one of the world’s most densely populated cities.

Take some time to do some window-shopping or enjoy a morning coffee at the retail and entertainment centers of Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown. The Hills complex often holds exciting seasonal events for all ages, too.

Restaurants, bars, and cafes galore are all within walking distance: Lauderdale is one of my favorites. Come here on a sunny weekend for its relaxed ambience and yummy brunches, as well as its spacious European-style terrace. The pancakes here are known as some of the best in Tokyo. Pop into Honolulu Coffee for a Hawaiian-inspired latte or try a malasada doughnut; you’ll soon be hooked!

Visit Gen Yamamoto's cocktail bar with friends on a special occasion for something a little stronger. A unique watering hole, all drinks are stirred and measured by eye and are made using locally sourced fruit and vegetables.

If fitness is more your thing, Moto-Azabu’s pleasant, green environment may be temptation enough to get on your running shoes and hit the sidewalks and parks. For a little rest and relaxation, a host of spas and beauticians in the area offer massage, facials, and nail treatments.

Looking for some culture? The local TOHO cinema shows Western and Japanese films, and the Ex Theater Roppongi has some great music gigs as well as plays. Catch some well-known artists here or discover someone new.

Not forgetting the little ones, some of the best schools in Tokyo are right on your doorstep. Nishimachi International School, Azabu International School, and ABC International School all regularly receive rave reviews from the international community.

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When someone in the family is sick, Roppongi Hills Clinic offers great service in English and Japanese. It really makes a difference to be treated in your own language when feeling under the weather! Extended opening hours and a larger selection of medical care than most health centers in Tokyo make it especially attractive.

On foot or by bicycle is probably the easiest and most convenient way to get around, but the area also boasts convenient access to the Roppongi and Azabu-Juban metro stations, which house three subway lines: Oedo, Hibiya, and Namboku. In Moto-Azabu you are always well connected to the rest of the city.