Get a glimpse of old Japan in Yanaka with its 70 temples

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The high-tech image of Tokyo disappears in Yanaka. The low buildings and narrow winding streets retains the atmosphere of the Showa Era. This is an area where you can take a leisurely stroll.
Yanaka Taito, Tokyo 110-0001

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A temple town since the Edo Era

Yanaka is a temple town. For various reasons such as protecting Edo Castle, escaping from fire and quakes, alleviating the overpopulation of people and stores in the central area, this area was naturally established. While walking or dining in Yanaka, get that feeling of the good old days of Japan. In Yanaka Ginza which is the center of the area, there are about 70 private stores, and since it is a matter of course to eat and walk while in the neighborhood, it’s fun to try out reasonable and delicious food at places like Yakiya for grilled squid, Tamaru for chonmage potatoes, Niku-no-Sato for menchikatsu, Shippoya for fried donuts and Hatsuneya for tempura. There is also a cemetery in this town of temples known as Yanaka Cemetery which covers an area of 100,000 ㎡ with about 7000 graves. It has a tranquility that cannot be imagined in a place like Tokyo, and it has a very familiar presence as a short cut for the locals, a play area for kids and a course to walk the dog. The last shogun of the Tokugawa clan, Yoshinobu Tokugawa, along with numerous painters and politicians rest in the cemetery. The main road of Sakura-dori is famous for its cherry blossoms.

The tour of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune

The tour of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune is the oldest of its kind in Tokyo which entails visits to pray at the temples and shrines that have enshrined each of the seven deities. The tour is annually held from January 1st to 10th from 9a.m. to 5p.m. It is only during this time that visitors can enter the Hon-do hall of the temples. It’s the perfect event to start the year fresh. In Yanaka, there is also a hotel by the name of Sawanoya Ryokan which is run by Isao Sawa who is called the Charisma of Tourism. 90% of the guests are from other countries, and it’s an ideal place after a whole day of walking around.

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Yanaka can easily be accessed from Nippori Station. Simply take the South Exit and use the foot bridge to cross the train tracks. The Yanaka area is the other side of the tracks and runs alongside Nippori Station.

From Shinjuku Station to Nippori Station:
Take the Yamanote Line direct to Nippori Station (20 minutes, ¥170)

From Tokyo Station to Nippori Station:
Take the Yamanote Line direct to Nippori Station (12 minutes, ¥160)

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8 years ago
Yanaka goes alright
Yanaka is kind of "Stuck in time" The main street "Yanaka Ginza" is reminiscent of 1950s-1970s style streets, filled with small cheap food stalls (Go before 5pm as things start to sell out) and many cheap liqueur stores, along with many of your general things (Grocery stores, etc) There's pretty neat stuff all around the Yanaka area so I recommend a wander around. It's a pretty short wander away from Nippori or Ueno so you can explore more of Taito Ward in the same day. All in all, I would go back.
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8 years ago
Often overlooked, but well worth a visit
Yanaka is amazing. It has a nice mix of old style Japanese houses, over thirty temples and shrines, a tranquil cemetery where you can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring, a great sunset with a view of Mount Fuji on a clear day, a decent cat café, and of course, Yanaka-Ginza Street; the famous shopping street that runs along a steep slope and sells everything from hand made jewellery, inexpensive street food, hand-crafts, and traditional style souvenir art. A trip to Yanaka is a great distraction for a few hours when you're in and around Tokyo.
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