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Yanesen (Yanaka/Nezu/Sendagi/Hongo) 谷根千エリア(谷中/根津/千駄木/本郷)

Yanaka & Nezu & Sendagi & Hongo Area Yanaka & Nezu & Sendagi & Hongo Area
Yanaka & Nezu & Sendagi & Hongo Area Yanaka & Nezu & Sendagi & Hongo Area

Tokyo's old downtown offers retro ambiance, hearty fare, coffee and candy Godzillas

Yanesen is part of Tokyo's old downtown, also known as shitamachi—a collection of neighborhoods that survived war and disasters when much of the city didn't. This area is known for its friendly vibe, retro charm and narrow byways full of small shops, bars, and restaurants. When Tokyoites get nostalgic and want to experience life at a more congenial pace, they often head for Yanesen and shitamachi.

Don't Miss

  • SCAI The Bathhouse—it's not what you think
  • The unusual architecture of Nezu-jinja Shrine

How to Get There

The Yanesen area is served by both metro subway lines and Japan Railways.

Yanesen is really three different places: Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi. Along with neighboring Hongo, which is nearby and similar, these four areas are typical shitamachi.

To get directly to Yanesen, take the Metro Chiyoda Line to either Nezu or Sendagi stations.

Alternatively, take the JR Yamanote Line to Sendagi.

Taste shitamachi flavors

There is much to see in Yanesen, but one of the best ways to get to know shitamachi is to sample its food. Shitamachi has hearty, "no fuss" fare, like menchi katsu, a deep-fried minced meat cutlet, and tendon, battered and deep-fried seafood and vegetables on a bowl of rice. Yanaka Ginza is a shopping arcade that is typical of shitamachi, and you can find many such dishes here.

If you're a coffee lover, try some of the lovingly made brews at traditional coffee shops known as kissaten. There are many of them in the Yanesen area.

For your sweet tooth

There are a number of cafes and Japanese sweet shops here as well. Daifuku—sweet beans wrapped in soft mochi—are the most common.

Amezaiku is another local treat. The word Amezaiku means "candy craft," or making candy objects. The craftsperson heats up the candy and deftly shapes it into a bird, cat or even Godzilla. The art has been around for hundreds of years and is usually found at some matsuri and other festivals. Yanesen has a shop, Amezaiku Yoshihara, that makes and sells amezaiku every day.

A one-of-a-kind art gallery

SCAI the Bathhouse is an art gallery specializing in contemporary art. It is housed in a bathhouse that has been reformed and has a history of more than 200 years. You should definitely stop by SCAI.

One of Tokyo's most venerable shrines

Nezu-jinja Shrine is one of Tokyo's oldest shrines. Its tunnel of red torii gates might remind you of the famous Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto.

The amazing structures of the main shrine might look like they belong somewhere else, such as Nikko . When visiting Nezu, the serenity you will experience and the photos you take will make you look forward to more of the same in Kyoto and Nikko .

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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