The west of Tokyo with it's big centers like Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Shimokitazawa... has been for long the most lively and trendy places of Tokyo, while the east was mere old areas attracting old people, sometimes falling appart or for the tourists: Asakusa, Ueno, Akihabara, Nihonbashi, Ginza... The area between Ochanomizu ad Akihabara, and the one between Asakusa and Nihonbashi (right where we live), have changed slowly in the past 5 years with a lot of cafes and craft shops opening here and there. The trend was confirmed by two big initiatives using the under-track space of the Yamanote line in Okachimachi and the Sobu line in Manseibashi: aki-oka artisan 2k540 and Maach ecute. If I knew about both for some time and have been to aki-oka quite often, I've never really had the chance to go to Maach which opened more recently, until yesterday. Since it is an "ecute", the usual name for stations shopping mall I was expecting to see the same fashion and accessories brands as in every ecute, but it was a completely different thing. Under the arcades of the tracks there is a path and shop, or rather stalls continuously span, without knowing exactly what brand it is. The space is very beautiful, and since I went there around 20:30 it was extremely quiet. The majority of shops are interior and natural clothing shops, which is again the typical new image of Tokyo east side, with similar trends in Marunouchi, in Nihonbashi... There are also a number of cafes and restaurants. I went to Fukumori, because I like their food from the north of Honshu and their simple concept very much, and have been often to their other shop in Bakurocho, but there are several others cafe I'd like to try. I'll keep you updated!
I didn't regret paying a visit there, and I think that'd be one of my hide away for rainy days!