Historic Neighbourhoods of Tokyo | Yanaka
Yanaka, an old town in Tokyo
The Yanaka area 谷中 is a historical part of Tokyo, developed as a temple town in the Edo period (1603-1867). Prominent temples like the Tenouji and the Kaneiji were founded and still exist in the area. In the past people living all over the Edo(the former name of Tokyo) used to visit Yanaka for worship and for sightseeing.
Yanaka and Yanesen Area
The neighbourhoods of Yanaka still retain the charm and warmth of the past with many historical, in traditional style, buildings, some of which are very small. There is a number of very beautiful small temples.
Right beside Yanaka are two other neighbourhoods called Sendagi 千駄木 and Nezu 根津. These areas are also very charming and still have the ambivalence of Edo's traditional residential quarters.The 3 neighbourhoods, Yanaka, Sendagi and Nezu are collectively called Yanesen 谷根千: Ya (Yanaka) Ne (Nezu) Sen (Sendagi) Yanesen is admired and respected by people of Tokyo.
If you are finding the rest of Tokyo as a cold, concrete, fast paced megalopolis, visit Yanesen and experience (taiken) EDO (Tokyo). If, for only a moment, you experience a glimpse or taste or sound of old Edo, we believe it is worth a trip to Yanaka.
To really enjoy Yanesen, simply walk around and enjoy the atmosphere and ambivalence of the neighbourhood. The people living in the area are amicable. Yanesen is a simple residential area with no specific attractions. There are no huge temples like in Asakusa. There are no big shopping areas like the Ginza and there are big, crowded public squares like in Shinjuku.
While you are walking around Yanesen, you will see old temples, traditional wooden houses, cozy, small old-style pubs (Izakaya) with the locals enjoying a meal and drink, kids playing on the narrow road and many stray cats sitting in the streets. Peaceful and cozy.
Also, from the Edo period to this day, Yanesen is loved by many artists such as painters or writers. So, you will see many artists sketching the old neighbourhoods and drawing one or two rounded cats, too.