Yanaka Cultural Attractions
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.
Asakura Sculpture Hall 朝倉彫塑館(Asakura Chousokan)
Asakura Sculpture Hall is the former house and studio of the sculptor Fumio Asakura. This building is a traditional Japanese house and with the interiors embellished by the unique style and tastes of Asakura-san. In the building, there is many works of Asakura exhibited and the house itself is an exhibit and of special interest, especially to people interested in Japanese architecture.
The street in front of the Asakura Sculpture Hall
Yanaka Ginza 谷中銀座
Yanaka Ginza is a small street market that retains the warm atmosphere of Shitamachi, the traditional section in Tokyo, with origins from the EDO period. You will see many interesting and unique Japanese foods sold at the food markets there, which Tokyo people have eaten in daily life for quite a while.
Yanaka Reien (Yanaka Cemetery Park) 谷中霊園
An old cemetery and park where many notable and famous artists and actors are buried. A very spacious cemetery, surrounded by a multitude of trees and is known for its cherry blossoms(Sakura) in the spring time.
Yanaka Reien in Spring
Suzuki Harunobu, the Ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock print) pioneer, created many Nishikie (woodblock in color) of a beautiful woman named Osen working in a cafe in Yanaka. Through his works, Osen became very famous and was considered in the top 3 most beautiful women in all of Edo City. It has been said the cafe that Osen was working was located in the place as the building called Daienji is located. Currently, there are monuments of Harunobu Suzuki and Osen at Daienji.
Hebi Michi (Snake road) ヘビ道
It is just a narrow road in the residential area built after World World II. Formerly, the road was a beautiful brook in the EDO period, which dried and was then converted into a 'snaky' and winding road. The block was called Aizome and lead to the Machiya area in Tokyo. If you go, please watch out for cars driving through, yes, cars are allowed on the road.
An old temple founded in 1666. It has been said there are 84,000 Jizo (small stone statues) in this temple. The real number of statues is about 20,000, though, there is to many too count!
Nezu Shrine 根津神社
It has been said that the Nezu shrine was established by the legendary priest Yamato Takeru no Mikoto. In 1705, the 5th Shogunate, Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, built the structure and it still retains the historic appearance to this day. Nezu Shrine is famous for Tustsuji and Azaleas. From the middle of April to the beginning of May, the Azalea Festival is held and is crowded with many people enjoying the azaleas (Japanese flower)