Portland - Shimokitazawa Creative Tour

From September 11-15th, We had the great opportunity to host business owners and developers from city of Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, thanks to our member, Ryohei Suita.

Shimokitazawa is a center of subculture scenes in Tokyo, and is right next door to Shibuya, the most popular city in Tokyo.

The main purpose of this trip was learning how creativity in cities works; how to present local product and nurture the city's designers and creatives.

We started our tour directly from the airport, to Portland's famous farmers market in Hillsdale.

Farmers Market

The weather could not be better. We tasted all kinds of fruits, cured meats and observed how they displayed products.


The Shimokitazawa crew were very interested in Portland's local production and craft movement, so we went to visit Made Here PDX. Co-founder and UpliftPDX member Bob Davis gave us a great discussion, telling about how they started the store and how they differentiate from souvenir stores in town.(https://madeherepdx.com/)

The Good Mod

Next stop was The Good Mod. This 20,000 square foot creative work space / furniture space is located on the 4th floor in a buildin at heart of downtown Portland. Founder Spencer Staley gave us a great tour at their creative work space.(http://www.thegoodmod.com/)


The next day we went to visit Mitsu Yamazaki at PDC, the Portland Development Commission. He just recently published his first book, "Portland: Making the World's Number One Place to Live". He gave us a great presentation about how the Portland molded itself into this creative city.

 In this tour, we had visited various studios, work spaces and creative agencies to experience the current work style in Portland and feel the overall vibe.


Egg Press

Egg Press is a nationally-renowned greeting card company, producing unique hand drawn illustrations and textile patterns using vintage German letterpress machines.  They are considered one of the pioneers in the resurgence of letterpress printing.(https://www.eggpress.com/)

Grovemade (special thanks to uplift member Ken Tamiya)

Grovemade is a Portland leading craft maker, specializing in phone cases made out of bamboo and other woods.  They have been featured various magazines and media for their quality of work.(https://grovemade.com/)

Coava Coffee Roasters

Coava Coffee has been considered one of the best roasters in Portland. They have two shops in Portland getting a cult-like following.  We visited their new roasting facility which just opened in July 2016. (http://coavacoffee.com/

IPRC Independent Publishing Resource Center

A resource center for zine creation and letterpress book making. This facility has nation's largest collection of zines. (https://www.facebook.com/IPRCPDX/)

Pinball Publishing

They create pocket-sized notebooks out of 100% recycled paper. (http://pinballpublishing.com/)

Ford Building

The Ford building is a creative office space, with multiple creative offices including Pinterest's Portland office, and our member Jason Sturgill's studio “See Saw Club Studio”. (http://www.fordbuildingpdx.com/)

Kiriko Made

Uplift PDX founder Katsu Tanaka also owns the brand Kiriko, specializing in Japanese fabrics and made in Portland goods, distributed all over the United States. Their new retail space is located Portland's Old Town neighborhood. (http://kirikomade.com/)

Shimokitazawa crews were also very interested in Portland's food scene, so we took them to some of our most favorite restaurants in town.(http://kirikomade.com/)

Ned Ludd

First night at Ned Ludd (http://www.nedluddpdx.com/). Our member Michelle Basta and her partner Jason French own this amazing restaurant. All the seasonal ingredients are carefully chosen and cooked by in wood-fired ovens. 


Second night at Superbite (http://www.superbitepdx.com/). Superbite is the newest addition to downtown Portland's food scene. Our member Kurt Hafman collaborated with restaurant OX to start this new restaurant. Their course menu is, in our opinion, the best in town.


Through this creative tour, we came up with a few new projects ideas connecting creators in Shimokitazawa and Portland, and inspiring creative exchange between the two cities.