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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kanto - Tokyo - Northern Tokyo
Yanaka
# 66   of 73 most visited
sights in Tokyo

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Yanaka Ginza

Yanaka (J) is one of the few districts in Tokyo where the shitamachi atmosphere, an old town ambience reminiscent of Tokyo from past decades, still survives. Throughout the district, there is an air of nostalgia and a rustic charm. It is within walking distance from Ueno Park, and offers a sightseeing opportunity different from the metropolitan city feel of other parts of Tokyo.

A short walk from either Nippori Station or Sendagi Subway Station will take you to Yanaka Ginza, a shopping street which best represents the shitamachi flavor of the Yanaka District. Here, there are shops selling goods and produce, ranging from groceries and necessities to clothes and toys.

It is interesting to see trades of all kinds lining the street, starkly contrasting each other: the butcher's beside the barber's, the confectionery beside the watch dealer. Prices are relatively cheap as well; little snacks and finger food sold from below 50 yen can be found in some stalls.

Yanaka remains a residential district where many locals live, and through Yanaka Ginza, visitors can observe the ongoing daily activities and trades carried out in the district market. Indeed, the unique shitamachi character that the area exudes attracts many domestic tourists as well.

10 yen manju and daifuku sweets on sale

Just round the corner and along the Yomise-dori Street is the Yanesen Tourist Information Center. Drop by to find out more about Yanaka, or about one of their classes catered towards foreign tourists. They organize classes on Japanese ink painting, kabuki dressing, Japanese instrument playing, calligraphy, flower art and others (online or phone reservations required).

In the opposite direction along the Yomise-dori Street is a 10 yen manju (bun with different kinds of filling) shop which is quite famous in the area. It sells manju with a variety of flavors, such as black sugar and green tea, that make an economical yet delicious snack (they come in packs of ten).

Yanaka Cemetery

Another attraction of Yanaka is the Yanaka Cemetery, where the locals lay to rest in loving memory those who have passed away. Many of the tombs are elaborately decorated and nicely landscaped. Paths are well kept and wide, presenting a good trail for a tranquil stroll. The grave of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun of the Edo Period, is also situated within the cemetery.

The Sakura-dori Street, which runs through the center of the cemetery, is lined by cherry trees and attracts many visitors every year during the cherry blossom season. Yanaka Cemetery used to be part of Tennoji Temple, but was separated from it during the Meiji Period. The temple has a peaceful decor and atmosphere, and a big bronze Buddha statue sits on the left of its main building.

Tennoji Temple and the seated bronze Buddha

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How to get there
From Nippori Station
Yanaka Cemetery is a three minute walk and Yanaka Ginza a 5-10 minute walk west of the station, which is served by the JR Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line and the Keisei Line.

From Sendagi Subway Station
Yanaka Ginza is a five minute walk and Yanaka Cemetery is a ten minute walk east of the station, which is served by the Chiyoda Subway Line.

From Ueno Park
Yanaka Cemetery is a 15 minute walk north of the Tokyo National Museum. Yanaka Ginza is a further ten minutes walk.

Orientation in Tokyo

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User Ratings
Ratings for Yanaka:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  interesting  
User Rating (by 64 users):
80/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 781):
359.  Kofukuji Temple (Nara)   81/100
360.  Okinawa World (Okinawa Island)   81/100
361.  Inuyama Castle (Inuyama)   80/100
362.  Daishi Kyokai (Mount Koya)   80/100
363.  Nijo Jinya (Kyoto)   80/100
364.  Yanaka (Tokyo)   80/100
365.  Seisonkaku Villa (Kanazawa)   80/100
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394.  Detached Palace (Hakone)   143
395.  Myoshinji Temple (Kyoto)   143
396.  Sakaimachi Street (Otaru)   142
397.  Yanaka (Tokyo)   142
398.  Jidai Matsuri (Kyoto)   142
399.  Cherry Blossoms (Yoshino)   141
400.  Takayama Festival (Takayama)   141
401.  Sanja Matsuri (Tokyo)   141

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English Links
Yanesen Tourist Information
Offical English website.

Japanese Links
Yanaka Ginza
Offical website.
Yanesen Tourist Information
Offical website.

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