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Goin’ Japanesque!

Enjoy the Quaint Area of Tokyo’s Kagurazaka, Reminiscent of Edo

Writer’s Photo

There are many places around Tokyo that are recommended for strolling around. One of the spots we would like to recommend is Kagurazaka (Kagura-hill). Kagurazaka is a district located right by Kagurazaka Station on the Tozai Line or the Iidabashi Station on the JR East and Tokyo Metro lines. It is a tourist destination that is reminiscent of Japan’s Edo period (1603-1867) Tokyo. The streets are stone paved and lined with stylish shops. It is a district famous for being loved by the great writers such as Natsume Soseki and Mori Ogai and even today, it is a popular area that is loved by a wide age group from young to old. 


Kagurazaka is Japan’s French Quarter?


Kagurazaka is often compared to a French cityscape. One of the reasons for this is the unique features of Kagurazaka, such as cobble-stone streets, back alleys as well as the view of small shops lining the streets reminding some of Montmartre in Paris. There is also a French school called Institut Français in Kagurazaka, and so it is actually a place where many French gather. These factors seem to be why people associate this area with the French city. Information: Map


Recommended Spots in Kagurazaka

In Kagurazaka, many shops such as restaurants, sundry shops, supermarkets line the streets. Of the many streets, we would like to introduce a select few that we recommend.


Let’s start with shops at the bottom of the hill. 

1. Kinozen


Writer’s Photo

This is a sweets shop that offers desserts like anmitsu (a Japanese confectionery of boiled beans, cubes of agar gelatin, and other toppings with molasses poured on top), bavarois, oshiruko (sweet red-bean soup). Other than desserts, they offer tokoroten (a cold dish of gelidium jelly made into thin noodle-like strips) and other rice dishes like kamameshi (rice mixed with meats and vegetables, served in a pot), and rice porridge which makes it a nice place to stop by for lunch or tea. The popular dessert is the matcha (green tea) bavarois. In the hot summer season, they offer a seasonal menu such as shaved ice, allowing you to enjoy a feel of the seasons. It is shop that lets you rest and relax. Information: Map

2. Shimakin


Writer’s Photo

It is a traditional restaurant that started in 1869 offering Japanese kappo style cuisine. They offer popular dishes like una-ju (rice topped with grilled eel served in a lacquered box) as well as kaiseki dishes (traditional Japanese meal brought in courses) and makuno-uchi bento (box lunch containing rice and small portions of side dishes). You will be able to get a taste of traditional Japanese cuisine. It can be somewhat pricey, but if you would like to experience the flavors and atmosphere of Japan, it is a place we recommend. Information: Map

3. Ryukotei


Writer’s Photo

It is a traditional Chinese restaurant that opened in 1889. It is said that originally they had operated a sushi restaurant on the 1st floor and Chinese restaurant on the 2nd floor. However by the post-WWII period and continuing on to present day, it has become a restaurant specializing in Canton style Chinese. The restaurant itself got a facelift in 2008. The restaurant’s unique features are its modern interior and the wall-like solid exterior. Though it is a traditional restaurant, it has a quaint atmosphere that lets people to dine casually. It is recommended particularly for lunchtime. Information: Map


Here is a place located mid-hill.

4. Gojyuban


Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

Having opened in 1957, it is a Chinese restaurant that is famous for the wide variety of deliciously satisfying, handmade niku-man (pork buns). Other than niku-man, they offer side dishes of shumai and gyoza dumplings. It is a famous store with store locations within department stores in the city. If you’re feeling hungry for a little bite, it’s nice to stop by and stroll around the area with a niku-man in your hand. If you go further up the hill, you will see their 2nd location where you can also make purchases. 

Main Branch, Map
2nd Branch, Map

5. Zenkokuji Temple


Writer’s Photo

This is a temple built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and is a distinguished temple with over 400 years of history. It enshrines Bishamonten, the god of good fortune and warding off evil. It is located around mid-hill of Kagurazaka. During the Kagurazaka Matsuri Festival that is held in July each year, they hold a Hozuki Market and sell pots of hozuki, which is the Japanese lantern plant. The temple is called Bishamon- sama (sama being an honorific title) and has been loved by the local residents since long ago. Information: Map


Going further up the hill, there is a shrine.

6. Akagi Jinja Shrine


Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

This is a shrine that enshrines the god of study and arts, as well as the god that helps grants the wishes of women such as good matchmaking and healthy birth. It is a shrine with a modern and stylish design, and rightly so as the design and planning is the work of Japan’s representative architect Kengo Kuma. In addition to offering your prayers, you are able to get a view of Japan’s architectural design. It is a quiet and calm atmosphere with a café in the shrine site, so you can feel refreshed both in body and spirit. Information: Map


The newest spot at the very top of the hill.

7. La kagu

Writer’s Photo

This is a new retail facility that just opened in 2014. It is a place getting a lot of buzz particularly from the younger generation. It is a building that made use of a warehouse that was built about 50 years ago. Inside the building are cafes and shops offering daily goods and fashion items. There is also a lecture hall where talk shows and events are held. It is a facility that offers a fashionable and sophisticated vibe. Information: Map


So there you have it, the recommended spots of Kagurazaka. Other than the places we have introduced here, there are many shops and highlights in the area. We would love for you to actually visit Kagurazaka and find your own favorite spot. It does not cover a large area, but the entire area is a hill so just keep in mind it may require some energy in walking around. Even so, it is a place filled with attractions that you won’t even feel tired walking around. We recommend that you check the place out as a sightseeing destination.

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About the author

I'm interested in general in all things related to culture and fine arts with a focus on movies, art, and design. I hope to introduce to many people all the different sides to Japan in regards to Japanese culture.

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