explore nezu yanesen

The Snake Street in Nezu

Snake street (hebimichi, へび道) is a 150 meter long meandering road that was originally the Aizen stream (旧藍染川). This former stream cuts through a residential area that brings you that perfect “shitamachi” feel. Along the way there are a number of nice cafes and boutiques, before continuing into the Yomise street.The stream was put underground in 1921 as the drainage of the stream was bad and it often flooded. A practice that was quite common in those days. The stream was mentioned in one of Natsume Souseki’s novels (“Sanshirou” from 1908).

On the face of it, the street may look like any other street in residential Tokyo. However, the value is in the details. Except for the strong meandering form, which gives you curve after curve, look for the neatly arranged flower pots placed in fron of the houses, the narrow streets that flow into the street, and a number of stylish cafes and sweet shops. Many couples were walking the street on a warm spring day when I visited, on their way to the annual tsutsuji festival in Nezu shrine.

The curves in the street and the flowerpots besides the houses

A split in 2 roads. On has to be careful of the bicycles. Take left here.

Small stone animals or other decorations are often places between the flowers.

The curves continue.

In practice

Start at the southern end of the street after a visit to Nezu shrine (ca 100 meters to the south-west of the start of this road), and continue towards Yomise street that will connect you with Yanaka Ginza. Walking this road will take 5 to 15 minutes.