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Goin’ Japanesque!

8 Sightseeing Places in Akasaka, Tokyo, A City Where Tradition and Entertainment Blends

Office buildings line the area on the one hand, yet on the other hand the town has taken in all generations and businesses from latest entertainment venues and topical eateries to long-established stores over a century old. That is Akasaka, Tokyo.

It is in the center of Tokyo, and government agencies including Parliament and Supreme Court or popular sightseeing places such as Roppongi are nearby. However, it is an interesting town with shining originality that maintains time-honored tradition.

This time we would like to introduce several popular tourist attractions in Akasaka. Title photo by flickr

 

1. TBS Broadcasting Center

tokyo-akasaka-tbs-tv-station
Photo by flickr

This center broadcasts in the Kanto area of Japan, and it is located a short walk away from the Akasaka Station exit. A huge deck containing parabolic antenna is on the rooftop and it looks as if the building was wearing a hat. The building is loved and nicknamed as “Big Hat”.

There are TV and radio recording studios in the building in addition to exhibition booths souvenir shops related to the TV programs. They also conduct TV studio tours by reservation for students from elementary school to high school. Information: Map

 

2. Akasaka Sacas

tokyo-akasaka-sacas
Photo by flickr

This is a composite “entametown (entertainment town)” that opened in 2008, and it consists of a variety of entertainment facilities. In addition to theaters and live houses nearby, it has cafés, restaurants and several other stores. It bustles with people on weekends and holidays, attracting families, couples, and groups of young people.

In the winter illuminations decorate this area and an outdoor skating rink is set up for a limited period in the square. It is popular as a place to enjoy skating casually in Tokyo.

In addition, cherry trees are planted around the buildings and the area has been famous for it. More crowds gather to this place when they bloom. Information: Map

 

3. Akasaka BIZ Tower

tokyo-akasaka-biztower
Photo by flickr

This tower is a high-rise with 39 stories above the ground, and it is a combination of commercial facilities and offices including various enterprises, eateries, etc. On weekdays the building is bustling with office workers and business people while on other days shoppers and tourists can be seen enjoying dining or drinking tea leisurely. Information: Map

 

4. Akasaka BLITZ

tokyo-akasaka-blitz
Photo by flickr

Akasaka BLITZ is a live house that TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) operates with the theme of “Fusion of TV and Live Entertainment”. It has a great access, being directly connected to the Akasaka Station, and it proudly presents a large live space that can accommodate 1418 guests in total.

Many popular domestic and international artists perform concerts here, and it is one of the leading live houses in Tokyo. We would like to suggest experiencing Japanese concerts here to add to your memories of visiting Tokyo. Information: Map

 

5. TBS Akasaka ACT Theater

tokyo-akasaka-act-theater
Photo by flickr

Having opened in 2008, this theater boasts state-of-the-art facilities and a total of over 1300 seats with 890 on the first floor and 434 on the second. The glass-walled building’s outlook gives a spacious impression, and the seat arrangement in the theater allows good view of the stage from any angle. It is an appealing place with refined stylishness.

This theater offers all-round performing arts including traditional entertainment such as kabuki and bunraku in addition to musicals and concerts, and it functions as the hub of entertainment facilities in this area. Information: Map

 

6. Akasaka Red Theater

tokyo-akasaka-red-theater
Photo by flickr

The small theater opened in 2007 in a great location; only a 2 minute walk from the Akasaka Mitsuke Station. The theater is in the basement down from the entrance, with 173 exceptionally comfortable seats that are reportedly custom-made. Though seats are limited, the overall hall is wide and spacious. Its calm atmosphere that allows the audience to relax and enjoy the show is quite appealing.

The theater offers various stage performances throughout the year, ranging from shows by comedians, rakugo (traditional Japanese comedic story-telling), dramas, musicals and concerts. On the days with popular stages, customers often line up to wait for the doors to open.

There are many eateries around the theater, and it is a great idea to discuss the play with friends after the show while enjoying a good meal. Information: Map

 

7. State Guest House, Akasaka Palace

tokyo-akasaka-reception-hall
Photo by flickr

This neo-Baroque architecture was built in 1909 originally as the Crown Prince’s living quarter. After World War II it has been used as a guest facility, being a place of diplomatic activities or accommodations for state guests and other official guests. It is one of the most valuable buildings in Japan with increasing historical values, and it was designated as a National Treasure in 2009.

It had been open to the public for a limited period each year but since April 2016, it became open all year round. Since then, it has become a popular sightseeing destination visited by more and more people.

If you would like to feel the history and elegant atmosphere in a setting that is far removed from our daily living, this is definitely the place we would like you to visit. Information: Map

 

8. Hie Shrine

日枝神社

tokyo-akasaka-hie-shrine
Photo by flickr

This time-honored shrine has been here for more than 500 years. The calm appearance filled with trees and greenery is impressive, and it doesn’t seem to be surrounded by buildings. This shrine is also famous for the fact that when Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa entered the Edo Castle for the first time in 1590, he made this shrine the tutelary of the castle and treasured it ever since.

This god is said to give blessings for love, safe deliveries of babies, and child rearing. In addition, this shrine is located in the center of political activities and the surrounding area has government agencies. Many people related to political and business circles visit this shrine to pray, and it is said to help them with business and career luck.

The shrine is also well known for “Sanno Festival” held in June every year, which is one of the three major festivals in Japan. People in traditional costumes and gorgeous floats make a long procession, parading through the center of the metropolis in a magnificent view. Information: Map

 

Akasaka is such a town filled with various entertainment facilities and historical interests; however, it doesn’t stand out as a sightseeing destination, and it is not very crowded on holidays. It appears to be a best-kept secret for sightseeing.

Taking a stroll during the day, visiting a theater in the evening, and enjoying a good meal with a drink after the theater; if this is your idea of an ideal day, Akasaka district in Tokyo is the perfect place for that.

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KAWATA

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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