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Shimokitazawa: Top 20 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

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Shimokitazawa is a neighborhood known for its excellent shopping with many vintage, second-hand clothing and interior goods shops, theaters, live houses, and cafes. This article introduces the best places to experience the area's vibrant atmosphere and Tokyo's subcultures.

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Shimokitazawa: The Town of Second-Hand Fashion and Vibrant Subcultures

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Photo by Pixta
Famous for the unique fashion style of the people in town, Shimokitazawa is a neighborhood with great shopping, with many stores carrying vintage and second-hand clothing, cute interior goods, and antiques.

With plenty of theaters, galleries, live houses, comfortable cafes, and izakaya bars, Shimokitazawa is a must-go place in Tokyo! It has been the center of Japan's subculture scene since the 1970s. Many of the galleries and venues here cater to indie artists and local creators.

Those who would like to visit, but are unsure where to go, could start by checking out some of the places introduced in this article. The end of the article also introduces recommended accommodations for those wanting to base their stay in this hip area.

20 Things to Do in Shimokitazawa

Restaurants and Cafes in Shimokitazawa
1. Brooklyn Roasting Company
2. Sarutahiko Coffee Shimokitazawa
3. Sunday Brunch Shimokitazawa
4. Nijiiro CURRY Shokudo
5. B&B Bookstore: Read a Book with a Beer in Hand
6. Cafe Stay Happy

Shimokitazawa Culture Spots
7. BONUS TRACK
8. Shimokitazawa Tollywood: Watch Films by Indie Directors
9. Flash Disc Ranch: A Must-Visit For Record Lovers
10. Gallery HANA Shimokitazawa: Enjoy Contemporary Japanese Art
11. Honda Theater: Watch Performances by Young, Energetic Actors
12. Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine

Shimokitazawa Fashion Shops
13. NEW YORK JOE EXCHANGE: A Renovated Bathhouse Turned Into a Clothing Shop
14. Toyo Department Store: Discover the "Shimokita" Style
15. ANTIQUE LIFE JIN: Cute Goods with Animal Motifs
16. Vintage Clothing Store Petit Cochon
17. Fashion Shop marble SUD Shimokitazawa

Souvenir Shopping in Shimokitazawa
18. Shimokita Ekiue: Gifts and Local Products, Dining, and Cafes
19. Kaldi Coffee Farm Shimokitazawa: For Edible Souvenirs
20. Village Vanguard Shimokitazawa: For Gifts, Comics, and Pop Culture Goods

Where to Stay in Shimokitazawa
How to Get to Shimokitazawa

Restaurants and Cafes in Shimokitazawa

1. Brooklyn Roasting Company: Great Coffee and Meals

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Picture courtesy of PR Times

Born in New York's Brooklyn in 2009, Brooklyn Roasting Company is committed to providing coffee that not only meets high standards but also considers environmental sustainability and improvements in the working conditions of coffee bean producers. Brooklyn Roasting Company currently has five branches in Tokyo and Osaka.

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Picture courtesy of PR Times

Brooklyn Roasting Company Shimokitazawa is located within the Mikan Shimokita shopping and dining complex, just a one-minute walk away east of Shimokitazawa Station. It was the first among their domestic and international stores to open as a cafe-restaurant where you can enjoy meals and drinks.

They offer American breakfast in the morning, pasta dishes and hearty meat lunches for lunch, and dishes that pair well with beer and natural wine in the evening. Of course, you can also enjoy delicious coffee all day from Brooklyn Roasting Company.

2. Sarutahiko Coffee Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Picture courtesy of PR Times

Sarutahiko Coffee is a chain of coffee shops born in Japan that enjoys great popularity among domestic and international users. Sarutahiko Coffee Shimokitazawa is special among its stores in that it operates as a bar in the evenings after 19:00.

The SARUTAHIKO COFFEE Night Session service was initially offered for a limited two-week period in December 2022 but due to its immense popularity, it became a regular service.

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Picture courtesy of PR Times

At night, the atmosphere of the cafe completely transforms into a bar with dimmed lights. Customers can indulge in original cocktails made with Sarutahiko Coffee's specialty coffee, as well as non-alcoholic cocktail drinks and a selection of food items that complement them perfectly.

What's best, the operating hours have been extended allowing customers to enjoy their time until 23:00.

3. Sunday Brunch Shimokitazawa

Sunday Brunch Shimokitazawa is located a 3-minute walk away from Shimokitazawa Station's East Exit. The cafe has gained popularity for its creative and colorful desserts inspired by the seasons.

Their delicious fruit tarts, parfaits, and sodas stand out on the menu, but you can also enjoy here light meals such as omelet rice, French toast, and pasta dishes.

Sunday Brunch Shimokitazawa
Location: Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa, 2-29-2 2F MAP
Business hours: 12:00 - 22:00
Website: https://www.sundaybrunch.co.jp/shimokitazawa/

4. Nijiiro CURRY Shokudo

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Shimokitazawa is also known as the "curry town," hosting the Shimokitazawa Curry Festival every year in October.

One of the restaurants that shined at the 2023 edition of the festival is Nijiiro CURRY Shokudo, which gained popularity for their exceptional Avocado Chicken Curry (1,380 yen). The dish is made with a generous amount of vegetables and has a mild, soothing flavor.

Their menu offers several other options to choose from such as Beef Spice Curry, Keema Curry, Butter Chicken Curry, and others. All the dishes are priced at a little over 1,000 yen.

A restaurant that values diversity, Nijiiro CURRY Shokudo offers menus in both Japanese and English illustrated with plenty of pictures; you'll be able to order easily and with peace of mind.

Nijiiro CURRY Shokudo
Location: Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa, 2-31-9 2F MAP
Business hours: 11:00 - 19:30 (last order 19:00)

5. B&B Bookstore - Read a Book with a Beer in Hand

B&B Bookstore

B&B stands for Books & Beer. At the B&B Bookstore, you can literally enjoy reading books here with a beer in hand. In addition to alcoholic drinks, you can also order non-alcoholic drinks such as coffee.

The B&B Bookstore is renowned for its book fairs and talk events featuring young authors, writers, and editors who support the current Japanese writing community.

For those who visit Shimokitazawa, why not stop by B&B Bookstore to feel the enthusiasm of contemporary Japanese writers?

The B&B Bookstore has relocated to the second floor of Shimokitazawa BONUS TRACK. It can now be easily reached from both Shimokitazawa Station and Setagaya-Daita Station.

B&B Bookstore
Address: Tokyo, Setagaya City, Daita, 2-36-15 BONUS TRACK 2F
Google Map

6. Cafe Stay Happy

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Cafe Stay Happy, born from the owner's passion for travel, is a cozy hub offering travel tips and camaraderie. The decor features travel guides and cozy furnishings, including a kotatsu service in winter, which offers guests the chance to enjoy the comfort of Japanese table heaters.

The menu at Cafe Stay Happy boasts diverse lunch, dinner, dessert, and drink options, sourcing vegetables organically. The menu is available in English and vegan choices are available.

Our recommendations include the Caramel Macchiato with Milk or Soy Milk (850 yen), a luscious cappuccino topped with caramel, the Matcha Kinako Soy Milk Latte (850 yen) blending kinako and matcha, and the Homemade Ginger Ale (800 yen) for a zesty refreshment.

With a community spirit and global flavors, Cafe Stay Happy is a haven for both travel enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

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Shimokitazawa Culture Spots

7. BONUS TRACK

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Picture courtesy of PR Times

BONUS TRACK opened in April 2020 as a communal and vibrant shopping street. Situated in the area known as Shimokita Senrogai, which was once the Odakyu Line track, it is located conveniently between Shimokitazawa Station and Setagaya-Daita Station.

BONUS TRACK is home to several shops and dining facilities such as the popular B&B Bookstore, the fermented product specialty store Hakko Department, the used vinyl record shop pianola records, the vegan American Chinese restaurant OSCAR, and many other exciting shops.

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Picture courtesy of PR Times

Besides its distinctive dining and retail establishments, BONUS TRACK also offers co-working spaces, shared kitchens, and plazas, providing opportunities for visitors to actively participate in events and contribute to the creation of new cultures.

8. Shimokitazawa Tollywood - Watch Films by Indie Directors

Shimokitazawa Tollywood

Enjoy independent films at Shimokitazawa Tollywood
Shimokitazawa Tollywood is Shimokitazawa's only movie theater! At this venue with 47 seats, you can watch a variety of short films along with movies created by young independent directors.

Shimokitazawa Tollywood

Shimokitazawa Tollywood
Makoto Shinkai, the director of the animated movie "Your Name" ("Kimi No Na Wa"), first showed his indie film "Hoshi No Koe" right here. Generally, all the movies shown are in Japanese. However, the shorter films and animated films are easy to follow for international visitors.

Shimokitazawa Tollywood
Address: Tokyo, Setagaya, Daizawa 5-32-5
Google Map

9. Flash Disc Ranch - A Must-Visit For Record Lovers

Flash Disc Ranch

Browse through records at Flash Disc Ranch
At Flash Disc Ranch, you'll go past the pop entrance and up the stairs to find a floor with countless amounts of records of various genres.

The walkthrough of the shop is extremely narrow so you should store your luggage on the shelf next to the stairs when you go up. Heavy luggage can be held onto by the shop staff while you take your time to find your favorites.

Flash Disc Ranch
Address: Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa 2-12-16
Google Map

10. Gallery HANA Shimokitazawa - Enjoy Modern Japanese Art

Gallery HANA Shimokitazawa

Appreciate art at Gallery HANA Shimokitazawa
Gallery HANA Shimokitazawa is a gallery with large windows, facing the main Ichibangai Street. You can see artworks on display from the outside as well. This gallery opened in 2006 and has shared its wonders with Shimokitazawa locals and visitors alike.

The gallery provides space for young and active artists to present their work. You can see different pieces of art by various artists on a daily basis.

11. Honda Theater - Watch Performances by Young Actors

Honda Theater

Honda Theater
Ever since its opening in 1982, Honda Theater has been one of Tokyo's representative stages. It was created by Kazuo Honda who was once an actor for a company that went bankrupt and couldn't continue acting due to financial reasons.

He wished to provide a place for young actors to perform and give them an opportunity in the world of acting. Thus, he founded ten small theaters and contributed to the current theatrical industry.

The first floor of Honda Theater is occupied by Village Vanguard, a shop that carries a great variety of books and goods. At this shop, you can find a wide range of books, CDs, small goods, and even fancy products you can use in your daily life.

The shop itself is like a maze and you can enjoy searching for the perfect souvenir while treasure hunting here.

The Suzunari

The Suzunari
The Suzunari is one of several theaters belonging to the Honda Theater Group. A landmark of the Japanese contemporary theater scene, The Suzunari is a venue where many shows are held each month featuring actors that are now in the public spotlight.

Suzunari

The Suzunari
The first floor of the building houses dining places and bars. Once night falls, you get to feel the laidback atmosphere you can only get in Shimokitazawa.

The Suzunari
Address: Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa 1-45-15
Google Map

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12. Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine

Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine

Every September, a famous festival is held at the Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine. On non-festival days, the shrine grounds have a peaceful atmosphere, letting you feel a different, quiet side of Shimokitazawa.

Shimokitazawa Fashion Shops

13. NEW YORK JOE EXCHANGE: A Renovated Bathhouse Turned Into a Clothing Shop

NEW YORK JOE EXCHANGE, Shimokitazawa

NEW YORK JOE EXCHANGE in Shimokitazawa
Located on the Ichibangai Street in Shimokitazawa, NEW YORK JOE EXCHANGE is one of the many second-hand clothing shops with a line up of high-quality clothes. Located in a former bathhouse that was renovated, the shop is known for its unique store appearance.


14. Toyo Department Store: Discover the "Shimokita" Style

Toyo Department Store, Shimokitazawa

Toyo Department Store, Shimokitazawa
After the end of World War II, Shimokitazawa developed many "black markets" that did business outside of the standard controlled pricing. The area where stalls used to line up randomly created the "Shimokita" style atmosphere, but as the city developed, the markets have gradually disappeared.

The Toyo Department Store is a collection of many shops that wished to preserve the old "Shimokita" style. In a former beer garage, there are many shops that carry vintage fashion, second-hand clothes, goods, and accessories.

All the shops here are known to have "exclusive items" being sold. Why not go and find a personal item while enjoying the Shimokita atmosphere?

Toyo Department Store
Address: Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa 2-25-8
Google Map

15. Antique Life Jin: Cute Goods with Animal Motifs

ANTIQUE LIFE JIN

Shopping at ANTIQUE LIFE JIN

Antique Life Jin is a shop filled with goods where you can find original accessories, small Japanese trinkets, and cute items with animal motifs. You can find plenty of products such as cups, hats, and tote bags.

After walking for about 2 minutes, you will also find Antique Life Jin II, which sells antique furniture. Why not stop by to take a look at this shop too?

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16. Vintage Clothing Shop Petit Cochon

The vintage clothing shop Petit Cochon (also transliterated as Puchikoshon) specializes in Japanese vintage clothing from the 1960s to the 1970s. They proudly and beautifully showcase the meticulous craftsmanship of Japanese-made garments from that era.

With a great selection and tasteful presentation, we especially recommend this vintage clothing shop for those seeking retro and cute clothing. In Shimokitazawa, there are two Petit Cochon stores, each offering a chance to fall in love with Japan's vintage clothing culture.

Petit Cochon main store
Location: Tokyo, Setagaya, Daizawa 5-33-3 Map
Business hours: 12:00 - 20:00
Website: https://puchikoshon.thebase.in/

Deser Snow - Petit Cochon 2
Location: Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa 2-30-14 Map
Business hours: 12:00 - 20:00
Website: https://puchikoshon.thebase.in/

17. Fashion Shop marble SUD Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa may be best-known for its vintage clothing shops but it is actually a district with many shops run by young designers and independent creators.

One of the local fashion shops featuring a distinctive original style is marble SUD. This brand was established in 2001 from the shop owner's dedication to bringing the warmth of human hands and the charm of hand-drawn designs to their customers.

Straying from trends, marble SUD aims to create clothing that stimulates the viewers and sparks conversations. Their stores feature original designs, imported clothing, interesting finds from various cultures - Eastern, Western, South American, Nordic - and handmade accessories from local artists.

This unique mix imbues their stores with a sense of culture, embodying their belief in making a difference through the products they offer.

marble SUD Shimokitazawa store
Location: Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa 2-30-8 Crescent Shimokitazawa 1F Map
Business hours: 11:30 - 20:00
Website: https://www.marble-sud.com/

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Souvenir Shopping in Shimokitazawa

18. Shimokita Ekiue: Gifts and Local Products, Dining, and Cafes

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Picture courtesy of PR Times
Shimokita Ekiue is a shopping facility located above Shimokitazawa Station (Odakyu Line). It comprises 16 shops and dining facilities that aim to create a space where the visitors' spirits are uplifted. The complex has been designed with the diverse and free-spirited Shimokitazawa style in mind.

The dining facilities include cafes that offer morning meals, casual eateries for enjoyable lunches, and standing bars for casual drinks, catering to a wide range of needs. The food genres span from Japanese, German, and Thai to Hong Kong cuisine, providing a rich lineup.

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Those who look for items that could make excellent gifts or souvenirs should visit the retail stores within Shimokita Ekiue: the first store of the lifestyle brand SOCO thinking GORILLA, green and flower shops that add color to everyday life, a specialized T-shirt store, convenience stores, and more.

Shimokita Ekiue
Location: Tokyo, Setagaya, Kitazawa 2-24-2 MAP
Business hours: vary by shop *most shops open at 11:00 and close at 20:00. The dining facilities operate until 22:00 or 23:00.
Website: Shimokita Ekiue (Japanese)

19. Kaldi Coffee Farm Shimokitazawa: For Edible Souvenirs

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Kaldi Coffee Farm Shimokitazawa, in business since 1992, is one of the best places to find edible souvenirs and Japanese food items. At this shop, you'll feel like you're on a treasure hunt. The maze-like shelves are lined with beautifully designed products from around the world and Japan's various regions, all available at affordable prices.

If you're looking for Japanese flavors and unique snacks, we recommend Kaldi's original product brand, Moheji. This line-up focuses on Japanese ingredients and foodstuffs carefully selected based on their quality and taste.

Some of the items that make excellent souvenirs are the Original Instant Matcha Latte, the Soft Brown Sugar and Kinako Nejiri snacks from Hokkaido, which are made with roasted soybean powder, or sembei rice crackers, which have a long shelf-life. Their seasonal treats, such as the cherry blossom flavored snacks available in spring, are also a must-try!

We hope you enjoy browsing through Kaldi Coffee Farm Shimokitazawa. Every visit here is full of discoveries!

20. Village Vanguard Shimokitazawa: For Gifts, Comics, and Pop Culture Goods

Shimokitazawa: Top 15 Spots in Tokyo's Trendy Subculture Haven

Village Vanguard, with over 300 stores throughout Japan, offers a diverse range of products including books, comics, pop culture goods, fashion items, interior décor, toys, figurines, and other unique and quirky items that make excellent souvenirs from Japan.

The Village Vanguard Shimokitazawa store, located in the same building as the Honda Theater, features a maze-like interior that is very enjoyable to navigate. The array of products available on its shelves is truly impressive, showcasing creativity and originality in every item.

One key aspect that has built Village Vanguard's loyal fan base is its support for independent creators, with many goods being handmade or unique. A visit to Village Vanguard promises to be engaging, enjoyable, and insightful, providing a glimpse into Japan's dynamic contemporary creative scene.

Where to Stay in Shimokitazawa

illi shimokitazawa

Picture courtesy of illi Shimokitazawa
Shimokitazawa has a few lodging options for those wanting to stay a night or two or looking to base their entire Tokyo trip here. The eclectic, laid-back atmosphere of Shimokita is desirable to many, especially after a long day of shopping or sightseeing in Shinjuku and Shibuya.

We recommend illi Shimokitazawa, an apartment-style hotel with spacious floor plans. Suitable for groups of up to six people, the renovated, modern style of these cool rooms are an excellent choice. The room is just a few minutes away from Shimokitazawa Station.

Those interested in learning more can see details on Booking.com.

FAQ

Is Shimokitazawa worth visiting?

Shimokitazawa, a neighborhood in Tokyo renowned for its bohemian flair, is a gem worth exploring for its vibrant artsy scene and eclectic offerings. With a diverse array of vintage stores, indie boutiques, cafes, and intimate theaters, Shimokitazawa beckons visitors seeking a unique, offbeat side of the city. Shopaholics can revel in the trendy fashion boutiques and record shops, while music and theater enthusiasts can indulge in live performances at the neighborhood's intimate venues. Shimokitazawa's local culture shines through its street art, cozy izakayas, and laid-back ambiance, offering a refreshing contrast to Tokyo's urban hustle. Conveniently located and easily accessible from central Tokyo, Shimokitazawa stands out as a must-visit destination for those looking to immerse themselves in Tokyo's arts, culture, and alternative vibe.

How many hours to spend in Shimokitazawa?

For a comprehensive visit to Shimokitazawa, allocating around 4 to 6 hours is recommended to fully immerse yourself in the neighborhood's vibrant atmosphere and diverse offerings. This timeframe allows ample opportunity to explore the bustling streets, discover unique shops, cozy cafes, and theaters, and soak up the creative energy that defines Shimokitazawa. Whether you're browsing vintage boutiques, enjoying a meal at a local eatery, or taking in a live music performance, setting aside several hours ensures a well-rounded experience in this bohemian Tokyo district. Adjust the duration based on your interests, with the flexibility to extend your stay for further exploration or to delve deeper into specific activities that pique your curiosity.

What area is Shimokitazawa?

Shimokitazawa is a popular neighborhood located in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, Japan. Known for its bohemian and trendy atmosphere, Shimokitazawa is a vibrant area filled with narrow streets, eclectic shops, vintage boutiques, cafes, theaters, and live music venues. Situated to the west of Shibuya and Shinjuku, Shimokitazawa has gained a reputation as a fashionable and creative district, attracting a diverse crowd of locals and visitors. The neighborhood is known for its artsy vibe, street art, thrift stores, and a wide range of dining options that cater to various tastes and preferences. Shimokitazawa is also celebrated for its bustling secondhand clothing shops, independent boutiques, and intimate live performance spaces, making it a hub for alternative culture and entertainment in Tokyo.

What is the nearest station to Shimokitazawa?

Shimokitazawa, a trendy and bohemian neighborhood in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, Japan, is conveniently serviced by two main stations: Shimokitazawa Station and Shindaita Station. Shimokitazawa Station, operating on both the Odakyu Line and Keio Inokashira Line, serves as the primary transport hub for the area, offering seamless connections to different parts of Tokyo. Shindaita Station, located nearby and part of the Keio Inokashira Line, provides an additional transit option for travelers. These stations play a crucial role in facilitating access in and out of Shimokitazawa, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy the vibrant arts, culture, and entertainment scenes the neighborhood has to offer.

What line is Shimokitazawa on?

Shimokitazawa Station in Tokyo is situated on two key train lines: the Odakyu Line and the Keio Inokashira Line. The Odakyu Line, a private railway, connects Shimokitazawa to Shinjuku and Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, offering convenient access to various destinations along its route. Additionally, the Keio Inokashira Line, another private railway line, links Shimokitazawa to Shibuya and Kichijoji, providing vital transportation connections to central and western Tokyo. These two lines play a crucial role in facilitating travel to and from Shimokitazawa, contributing to the neighborhood's accessibility and connectivity to different parts of the city.

Is Shimokitazawa worth visiting at night?

Shimokitazawa, a dynamic neighborhood in Tokyo, is well worth visiting at night for a variety of enticing reasons. As twilight descends, the area transforms into a lively hub with vibrant streets, colorful lights, and a bustling energy that beckons exploration. The neighborhood's nocturnal charm extends to its live music venues, small theaters, and performance spaces, offering diverse entertainment options for music lovers and culture enthusiasts. Shimokitazawa's eclectic dining scene, featuring bars, cafes, izakayas, and diverse restaurants, invites visitors to indulge in a wide array of culinary delights well into the evening. Late-night shoppers can enjoy exploring the neighborhood's unique mix of vintage boutiques and independent stores that often keep their doors open late. With its hip and bohemian vibes, Shimokitazawa at night exudes a distinct charm, making it a captivating destination for those seeking an alternative and culturally rich nightlife experience in Tokyo.

How to Get to Shimokitazawa

From Shibuya Station, take the Keio Inokashira line to Shimokitazawa. It is the next stop after Shibuya on the express line. The ride costs 130 yen and takes 3 minutes.

From Shinjuku Station, it is the second stop on the express Odakyu Odawara Line (160 yen). It takes around 7 minutes.

Main image by Pixta

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