Shibuya Story Vol.9 Dogen-zaka

Tokyu 109 Building (occupied by many fashion shops) is a gateway to Dogen-zaka. It used to be the trendiest building just two to three decades ago. The heyday is gone but it’s still there even if less brilliant than before. The building has witnessed changes over time like the frames of a film.

The slope street to the west from Shibuya railway station is called Dogen-zaka. Some say once upon a time there was a den of robbers headed by Dogen, and others say there was a temple called Dogen-uphill. It must have been a slope where foxes and raccoon dogs came and went in olden times. This hill on the fringe of Tokyo has turned into a bustling shopping and entertainment district. But there is a different atmosphere from the rest of bustling streets and there are big roadside trees which have been on the slope for a long time. The trees have old memories about the hill with the Shibuya River at the bottom of it.

There’s an amazing variety of shops in Dogen-zaka. I see a seedy pink-coloured name board and a new chain store opposite an old antique dealer. Dogen-zaka reminds me of food shops perhaps due to my age and I can smell a delicious waft of food in the air when I go up the hill.

I vaguely remember that this building has been here for decades. It is a brick house between the streets connecting Dogen-zaka and Tokyu-honten-dori Ave.

I assume it is a barbecue restaurant or a Korean restaurant. I notice the house every time I pass by but I have not been there yet. Even without knowing who does what there, I wish it could stay there forever.

A new building may be built in this vacant lot. The lot without a building reminds me that the place is on the hill. Not just in the name of the place, but Shibuya really is a town of slopes.

(Photo by Taichi Seo)

[ Japacon× FIELDS Research Institute ]


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