Best Things to Do in Meguro

Explore Top Attractions and Festivals in Tokyo's Meguro Ward

Meguro is one of those places that save for the insane queues outside its Starbucks Reserve Roastery during sakura season, and the huge crowds admiring the scenic beauty of the gorgeous cherry blossom season along the Meguro River, tend to fly under the radar. It’s not a bad thing though. 

Its charm lies in its balance between relaxed residential areas and trendy cafes, shops, and restaurants, contrasting sharply with Tokyo’s most popular commercial hubs. Neighborhoods like Jiyugaoka, Kakinokizaka, or Nakameguro, are some of the best kept secrets among outsiders while remaining as local favorites for a relaxing cafe or a peaceful stroll. So here we go with the best things you can do in Meguro!

1. Meguro River

Meguro River with Cherry Blossoms

The Meguro River (目黒川) captures the essence of the city’s quieter side with its 7.82 km stretch lined by scenic landscapes. Originating from the confluence of the Kitazawa and Karasuyama rivers, it makes its way through Setagaya, Meguro, and Shinagawa wards before reaching Tokyo Bay. 

The river’s banks are a beautiful oasis of urban greenway, with a pedestrian-friendly path that is particularly enchanting during cherry blossom season. Each spring, the Meguro River becomes one of Tokyo’s prime spots for hanami, the traditional cherry blossom viewing, drawing both locals and tourists to its picturesque cherry-lined banks. 

2. Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo
© 2024 Starbucks Coffee Company

Opened in early 2019, Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo (スターバックスリザーブロースタリー東京) is one of the largest Starbucks locations globally. Occupying 32,000 square feet over four floors, it’s located in the Nakameguro district, right along the picturesque Meguro River. The building, designed by architect Kengo Kuma, is a spectacle of modern design and coffee artistry, featuring a colossal coffee roasting machine and beautifully crafted coffee counters. 

The Roastery, one among five total locations around the world, has an exclusive menu that includes unique coffee blends, tea, coffee-inspired cocktails, and a variety of food options. There’s also store-limited merchandise, so it’s a must among Starbucks enthusiasts and collectors alike, but casual visitors are also drawn by the cool interior and sophisticated atmosphere. Demand explodes during cherry blossom season so it’s best to plan accordingly!

3. Meguro Sky Garden

Meguro Sky Garden

Atop a circular loop junction, Meguro Sky Garden (目黒天空庭園) is a small jewel of urban landscaping with panoramic views of the city. This 7,000 square meter garden is a green space integrated with the city’s infrastructure, cleverly designed to sit above a highway. Here you can enjoy a variety of plants and flowers that change with the seasons, making it a year-round attraction. 

The garden’s layout encourages leisurely walks and relaxation, for a peaceful escape from the urban environment below. Its innovative design and the lush greenery is a nice mix of architecture and horticulture, making Meguro Sky Garden an example of Tokyo’s attempts to combine urban development with environmental consideration.

4. Meguro Fudoson Ryusenji Temple

Meguro Fudoson Ryusenji Temple

Meguro Fudoson Ryusenji (目黒不動尊 瀧泉寺), also known as Meguro Fudō, is a tranquil spot with lush greenery that holds a deep historical and spiritual significance in Tokyo. Founded around 808 AD, possibly by the monk Ennin, this buddhist temple is dedicated to Fudo-myoo, the immovable deity of wisdom and fire, which reflects its Tendai Buddhist affiliations. 

Known for its striking black-eyed statue of Fudo-myoo, Ryusenji is one of the stops on the Kanto Sanjuroku Fudo pilgrimage, attracting devotees seeking blessings and spiritual insights. The temple houses the graves of notable historical figures, and the complex also includes the Seishi-do chapel, one of the few structures that survived a fire in 1978, now a designated Tangible Cultural Property of Meguro Ward. 

5. Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
© Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

Within the elegant environment of a former imperial residence, the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum (東京都庭園美術館) is an art deco masterpiece, designed by French architect Henri Rapin and featuring interiors by René Lalique, among others. The museum specializes in decorative arts, showcasing a wide array of exhibitions that rotate throughout the year, from historical retrospectives to contemporary art installations. 

The surroundings are noteworthy as well, with a beautifully landscaped garden that complements the museum’s aesthetic and serves as a peaceful urban retreat. The museum, celebrating the fusion of Eastern and Western artistic traditions, is a vital part of Tokyo’s artistic landscape as a place for cultural exchange and educational programs.

6. Institute for Nature Study

Institute for Nature Study

A sanctuary within the city, the Institute for Nature Study (国立科学博物館附属 自然教育園) is a window into the diverse and rich ecosystems of Tokyo, covering a vast area of protected land in Meguro of over 20 hectares. This nature reserve aims to preserve native flora and fauna, providing a living laboratory for ecological study and environmental education. 

With its well-maintained walking paths that meander through forests, ponds, and open meadows, the Institute is an ideal spot for nature lovers that serves as both as an educational facility and a recreational space. Here you can can participate in guided tours, bird watching, and seasonal events focused on understanding and appreciating the natural world.

7. Meguro Parasitological Museum

Meguro Parasitological Museum

The Meguro Parasitological Museum (目黒寄生虫館), established in 1953 by Dr. Satoru Kamegai, is a unique and somewhat eerie exploration into the world of parasites. It showcases around 300 specimens from a vast collection of 60,000, including an eye-opening 8.8 meters long tapeworm. The museum is famed for its detailed displays on the life cycles and effects of various parasites, giving an educational insight into the diversity of parasites in the natural world and their relationship with human hosts.

Additionally, the museum features a gift shop where visitors can purchase unusual souvenirs, such as keychains with actual parasites encased in acrylic. This one-of-a-kind museum, granted, is not for everyone. But it intrigues with its deep dive into a typically unseen aspect of biology, so it’s a must-visit for those with a curiosity for the macabre and scientific.

More info: Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo

8. Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom in Meguro River

The cherry blossom season in Meguro, particularly along the Meguro River, is one of Tokyo’s most enchanting spectacles each spring. The river’s banks are lined with over 800 cherry trees that burst into a vibrant display of pale pink, creating a stunning floral tunnel. This natural phenomenon draws crowds from all over, seeking to experience the fleeting beauty of sakura blossoms. 

The area becomes a festive venue during the peak bloom period, with numerous food stalls and lanterns enhancing the celebratory atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll under the cherry blossoms or partake in nighttime viewings, when the trees are beautifully illuminated. 

More info: Meguro River Cherry Blossoms

9. Meguro Sanma Matsuri

Grilled sanma

The Meguro Citizen Matsuri (目黒区民まつり), also known as Meguro Sanma Matsuri (目黒のさんま祭), is a fun festival that celebrates the autumn arrival of the Pacific Saury, a seasonal fish known locally as Sanma. Held annually near Meguro Station, the festival is famous for offering about 7,000 charcoal-grilled Sanma for free to attendees, who often line up in long queues for the chance to enjoy this fresh, delicious treat. 

Accompanied by performances and other activities in addition to the free food, the festival has a lively atmosphere that celebrates both the season and the local community. It’s a perfect opportunity for visitors to experience the warmth of traditional Japanese hospitality and the joyous communal spirit of Tokyo’s festivals!

10. Meguro River Minna no Illumination

Meguro River Minna No Illumination
© 目黒川みんなのイルミネーション実行委員会

The Meguro River Minna no Illumination (目黒川みんなのイルミネーション) is a spectacular winter event that transforms the scenic area along the Meguro River into a luminous fairy tale landscape. As darkness falls, the riverbanks light up with countless LED lights that reflect beautifully on the water, creating a magical atmosphere. This illumination event is designed to be eco-friendly, using used cooking oil from local restaurants to power the generators that light up the LEDs.

The glowing lights offer a stark contrast to the pink hues of cherry blossoms in the spring, providing a different but equally mesmerizing experience. Visitors can stroll along the river, enjoying the warm glow and festive environment, making it a popular destination for couples and families alike during the holiday season.

More info: Meguro River Minna no Illumination

So by all means, Meguro is definitely worth a visit

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Written by

Photographer, journalist, and avid urban cyclist, making sense of Japan since 2017. I was born in Caracas and lived for 14 years in Barcelona before moving to Tokyo. Currently working towards my goal of visiting every prefecture in Japan, I hope to share with readers the everlasting joy of discovery and the neverending urge to keep exploring.