yanaka yanesen

Places to visit in Yanaka

Tokyo’s north-eastern corner is where you will find most of Tokyo’s history: Asakusa, Ueno and the so-called Yanesen area (which includes Yanaka, Nezu, Sendagi). However, unlike Asakusa and Ueno, where a small number of large buildings survived, Yanaka survived as a whole neighbourhood. It survived the large earthquake of 1923, and it survived the bombings during World War II.

This article list my recommendations in Yanaka, which is mainly known as an old temple town. There were other temple towns like this one during the Edo period (1603-1868) on he fringes of the city. This was done so that the temples could also be used as forts in the event of a military invasion. In particular in the north-eastern corner there were plenty of temples as this direction was deemed to be unlucky.

Temples are not the only treat in Yanaka. It also features the largest ancient cemetery in Tokyo with the grave of Tokugawa Shinobu. In addition, this town breathes the shitamachi culture, in particular through its lively shopping street called Yanaka Ginza where cats are king.

Please note the places below are all in Yanaka. Your visit should also include neighbouring Nezu and Sendagi (together called Yanesen). Bordering on the southern side is also Ueno Sakuragi that has not too miss places such as Kayaba coffee and Ueno Sakuragi Atari, and are often featured as being actually part of Yanaka.

There are many more small shopping streets and historical locations in Yanaka to explore such as the tsuji-bei wall and the SCAI the bathhouse. Also check Nezu, Sendagi and Ueno Sakuragi, all within walking distance of Yanaka.

Closest stations:
Nippori Station (Yamanote line, Jōban Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Keisei main line and Nippori-Toneri Liner).
Sendagi Station (Chiyoda line)
Names in Japanese:
谷中霊園 (Yanaka Cemetery), 谷中銀座商店街 (Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street), 萩荘 (Hagiso)