The Meguro river hasn't always been so attractive. In the 1980s it was filled with industrial waste. People wanted to live as far as possible from it's banks. In the late 1980s, the government cleaned the river up.
As the river improved small cafes, fashion shops and restaurants began to appear. The first businesses to take a chance on the area were run by fashionable young hipsters. With time, the area's quirky shops helped to make Nakameguro one of Tokyo's most popular residential neighborhoods.
The neighborhood is also known for its nightlife — bars and izakaya that are frequented by local residents.
Nakameguro is close to central Tokyo with easy access to many downtown neighborhoods. For example, it's only 6 minutes from Shibuya by train.
With popularity, Nakameguro rents have risen. Some hipster shops have been replaced with upscale shops (and chain shops).
Nevertheless, the area still has a distinct youth subculture feel to it.
Away from the river, Nakameguro is much like any other Tokyo neighborhood. It's a dense urban environment with narrow streets.
The sakura along the Meguro river are amongst the best in Tokyo. As part of the Nakameguro Sakura Festival lanterns are put up along the river. When the sakura fall the river becomes awash in pink petals.
Ghosts of the RiverTowards the end of WWII (March 9th 1945), a firebombing attack on Tokyo timed with high winds burned 286,358 buildings1. It was the single deadliest air raid of WWII greater than Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The most reliable estimates say that over 100,000 people lost their lives2.
Eyewitness accounts are clear that burn victims and people fleeing the smoke jumped into the city's rivers including the Meguro river in Nakameguro. Countless bodies ended up in the river. It's often misreported that these victims "drown themselves" when in fact they died of burns or smoke asphyxiation.
They say that the river got so hot it boiled (probably a myth). Old timers in the neighborhood will tell you there are ghosts in the river.
RankingsNakameguro is #3 of 18 best Tokyo hanami spots
Nakameguro is #7 of 21 best places to live in Tokyo
Nakameguro is #15 of 19 best Tokyo neighborhoods for kids