photos by Ben Richards & Masaaki Inoue
Shibuya has been undergoing a massive face-lift in recent years, transforming private and public spaces into hip hangouts. Walk north along the newly completed Miyashita Park and you’ll soon arrive at the neighborhood’s newest redevelopment: Kitaya Park.
before-and-after views of Kitaya Park
Kitaya Park originally opened in 1963 and for a brief time functioned as a lovely spot where neighbors could gather for cherry blossom-viewing. But as time went on, the park fell into disrepair and became a de facto bicycle parking lot and cigarette smokers paradise. So in 2019 Shibuya Ward, using a tool known as a park-PFI (Public Finance Initiative), granted rights to a consortium of companies led by Tokyu Corporation to redevelop the park.
The new park opened in April 2021 with multiple areas for events and just hanging out. It also boasts a Blue Bottle Coffee shop, designed by Keiji Ashizawa. Outside the cafe are benches made by Ishinomaki Lab, an initiative founded by Ashizawa to empower the people of Tohoku after the earthquake and tsunami.
Inside the cafe is a large, curved tile-counter surrounding the kitchen area with tiles made from volcanic ash glaze and are a key material that connects the interior and exterior. If you would like to host an event at the park there is a contact form and additional material on the park’s website.