Last week I explored the back alleys of Harajuku with Azby Brown, director of the KIT Future Design Institute and author of Just Enough: Lessons in Green Living from Traditional Japan. Beneath the veneer of teen fashion and continual demolition and rebuilding, we saw a small remnant of a four hundred year old cemetery, vestiges of hills and streams, and walls and buildings from the time of World War II.
But nothing was more striking than this Treehouse Hideaway Cafe on the north side of Harajuku, towards Yoyogi. A funky stairway leads up to a second story, green building that wraps around an enormous pine tree. Further up the tree is an open air platform. The treehouse was created by Kobayashi Takashi (小林崇). Kobayashi has created treehouses all over Japan.
So much of Tokyo and other urban built structures eradicates the natural environment it occupies. It is very cool to see the structure built around this old tree, and to see something you might associate with the countryside in the heart of Tokyo’s trendy fashion district.
Here’s a map to find the cafe. On the day we toured Harajuku, a flash mob assembled because of a rumored appearance by teen band Hey! Say! Jump, injuring several teen fans. We were fortunate not to get caught in that).