Looking for a travel guide to Yanaka? Our Yanaka Travel Guide highlights everything you need to know about this part of “Old Tokyo.”
Yanaka is one of the most underrated places in Tokyo. Stretching from Nippori to Ueno Stations, Yanaka is very accessible no matter where you are in the city.
What makes Yanaka unique is its overall vibe. Although you are still in Central Tokyo, it feels like you are in a different world away from the noisy modern areas of Shibuya and Shinjuku.
Yanaka is part of Old Tokyo or “Shitamachi District” along with Nezu and Sendagi districts. These three form what we call Yanesen, a preserved area of Shitamachi filled with old century-old houses, temples, and other structures.
In our Yanaka Travel Guide, find out the best things to do, the major tourist spots to visit, and where to stay.
8 Must-Visit Tourist Spots in Yanaka
Yanaka is one of the most charming districts in Tokyo, yet it is often neglected by most tourists. As part of Old Tokyo, Yanaka is home to many historical landmarks. Here are the must-visit attractions in Yanaka:
1. Tennoji Temple
Established in 1274, the Tennoji Temple is the oldest temple in Yanaka. Although it lost a portion of its premises, including a 5-story pagoda that was burnt down by lovers in a suicide pact, the Tennoji Temple is still one of the top tourist attractions in Tokyo.
2. Yanaka Cemetery
The largest cemetery in Japan, the Yanaka Cemetery is home to over 7,000 graves, including the one from Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last Shogun of the Edo Era.
3. Nezu Shrine
Built after Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Nezu Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan. This Shinto Shrine is the birthplace of the 6th Shogun of the Edo period, making it one of the most important cultural landmarks in Japan.
4. Yanaka Ginza
Lined with over 80 shops selling a range of items, Yanaka Ginza is a popular shipping street. Whether you are looking for souvenirs, arts and crafts, light snacks, or dirt-cheap items, you should visit Yanaka Ginza. If you trace the smaller alleys of the street, you will izakayas (traditional bars), a puppet theater, a beer hall, and a sculpture museum.
5. Toshogu Shrine
Toshogu Shrine was built in memory of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled Japan for more than two and a half centuries. This lavishly decorated shrine is composed of more than a dozen buildings covered in a lush forest.
6. Yanaka Beer Hall
If you love beer, don’t miss Yanaka Beer Hall. It is a popular place among local beer lovers, which becomes crowded after noontime on weekdays and the whole day on weekends. Yanaka Beer Hall serves authentic Yanaka beer that is slightly sweeter and less bitter than regular beers.
7. Yanaka Dan Dan
It might get very exhausting while exploring Yanaka. If you want to rest while observing people, we highly heading to the stairs called Yanaka Dan Dan where you can see Yanaka’s iconic landscape. Don’t miss the sunsets here!
8. Scai the Bathhouse
This contemporary art museum features various artists, so if you don’t see your favorite artists, try another day. Scai the Bathhouse is unique since it is rebuilt on public baths.
Where to Stay in Yanaka
Looking for the best walking tour in Yanaka, Tokyo? Come join us at our Yanaka Walking Tour where you will visit old wooden houses and temples, Yanaka Cemetery, and shopping street Yanaka Ginza.
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