Although Kagurazaka is close to Tokyo’s entertainment district, Shinjuku, it has a character all of its own. As a prominent hanamachi (geisha district) that thrived from the Edo Period (1603-1868) to the Showa Period (1926- 1989), Kagurazaka is well-known for its refined, nostalgic atmosphere. Venture inside the cobbled alleys and you will discover tons of historic geisha houses and sophisticated shops that embody the Japanese aesthetic sense and precise craftsmanship. We also recommend to take a walk to Kudanshita through Mejiro Dori from Kagurazaka-Iidabashi.
神楽坂茶寮本店 Kagurazaka Saryo Honten
Tucked away in a quiet alley in the heart of Kaguarazaka, this retro cafefits perfectly into Kagurazaka’s nostalgic atmosphere. Built in a typical Japanese wooden machiya house, one is enveloped by the warmth and comfort created by its wooden decor as they step in. The shop serves a wide variety of Japanese sweets, with the matcha chocolate hot pot andtea-flavored sundae being the most recommended menu items.
Hours: 11:30am-11pm (Mon-Sat) 11am-10pm (Sunday and holiday) Address: 5-9 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo URL: http://saryo.jp (Japanese)
神楽坂 清水 Kagurazaka Shimizu
If you’re looking for premium Japanese cuisine without a hefty price tag, Kagurazaka Shimizu is the place to go. Located close by Kagurazaka’s Geisha Shindo, this old geisha lodging now serves authentic kappo cuisine.
Kappo, which literally means “to cut and to cook,” is a word for Japanese style multi-course meals. Embellished with nostalgic décor from the Taisho period (1912-1926), the restaurant makes you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time. The menu consists of carefully selected, fresh, seasonal ingredients that are amazingly delicious and pleasing to the eye. Soak in the vintage atmosphere as you enjoy every bite of the feast!
Sotobori Park ends at the West Exit of JR Iidabashi Station, but this marks the entrance into the Ushigome neighborhood. During the Edo period, Ushigome Mitsuke used to be one of the roads approaching the gate of the Edo Castle. For security reasons, guardhouses were set up to check on pedestrians crossing the Ushigomebashi Bridge. The other side of the bridge used to be a samurai residence area, can you imagine that?
外濠公園 Sotobori Park
Sotobori is the remains of the outer moat of the Edo Castle. Commissioned by Iemitsu Tokugawa, the thirdshogun of the Tokugawa dynasty in 1636 as the finalconstruction of the castle. The historic moat is now transformed into a scenic park with a 2 km walking path between JR Yotsuya Station and JR Iidabashi Station. Known for its display of vivid shades of greenall year round. A popular spot during the flowerviewing season that is not to be missed.
Experience the charm of Japan withoutleaving Tokyo by visiting antenna shops, shops created by prefectural governments to promote local food and crafts. Located in the vicinity of Kagurazaka, Aomori Hokusaikan is the place to sample Aomori’s mouth-watering delicacies and stock up on genuine handicrafts made by traditional artisans. As Aomori
is Japan’s top apple-producingprefecture, you can also indulge in the mellow sweetness of 100% natural apple juice.
Hours: 10am-7:30pm Address: 2-3-11 Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Website:www.hokusaikan.com(Japanese)
東京大神宮 Tokyo Daijingu Shrine
Tokyo Daijingu Shrine was built in 1880 to worship Amaterasu, a deity related to the divine origin of the emperor, and other deities enshrined in the Ise Jingu Shrine. Tokyo Daijigu Shrine functions as a yohaiden, or hall for worship from afar in Japanese, for pilgrims who were not able to travel all the way toIse Jingu Shrine in Mie Prefecture. As the shrine is the first in Japanto hold a Shinto wedding ceremony, it is especially popular among women wishing to get married.
Walk in the direction of Nigohanzaka from Tokyo Daijingu Shrine and you will come across a rare sight: a western architecture with a cross on it. Built in1937 as the first seminary for Tokyo Lutheran Center Church, the building’s significance lies in that it is the only western chapel in Japan before World War II. From here, it might be a little bit difficult to spot Tsukudo Shrine, whose entrance is located next to a modern building called Kudan Airex Building.Tucked away from the bustles of the city, the shrine is as cozy as a secret garden. However, as the head of Taira-no-Masakado, a samurai who died in a battle in the Heian period (794-1185), is enshrined here, the shrine has quite a few ghost stories to share.
Access: 10-minute walk from Iidabashi Stations (Sobu Line and Chuo Line, Namboku Line, Yurakucho Line) Address: 14-21, Kudan-kita, Chiyoda-ku URL:http://english.tsukudo.jp/