Tokyo’s Nishi Nippori is a lovely area a bit off the main tourist track that offers a more traditional laid-back Japanese atmosphere. Abound with gorgeous little temples, old cemeteries and family owned little shops and restaurants, the area between Nishi-Nippori and Nippori is my type of place.
Start: Tennoji Temple (station: Nippori, then the south exit)
Finish: Nezu Temple (station: Nezu)
Time: Allow approximately 4 hours, including stops along the way
Yanaka has been famous for its large concentration of temples since the Edo Period, when most temples and shrines were removed from the inner city and relocated to the outskirts in an attempt to curb the frequent fires that ravaged the crowded shogunate capital. Not only did the religious structures’ thatched roofs ignite like tinder, but the land they formerly occupied would subsequently be cleared and left empty, to act as fire breaks in the otherwise densely populated city. Furthermore, temples on the edge of town could double as forts to protect Edo from invasion. The only invasions Yanaka suffered, however, were friendly ones, as townspeople flocked here to enjoy its peacefulness, wooded hills, paddies, clear streams, and majestic temple compounds. It wasn’t long before the wealthy began building country estates here as well, followed by artists and writers who favored Yanaka’s picturesque setting and cool breezes.
[…] Rather, a trip to Yanaka is like a visit to a small town, where the pace of life is slow and the people have time for one another. If Tokyo is starting to wear on your nerves, come here to refresh yourself. This walk always makes me happy!
Here’s a taste of my walk around the area :
Other suggested readings if you’re heading towards that area :
- Yanaka Cemetery
- To Nishi Nippori and Beyond!
- Yanaka | Walking Tours
- National Geographic’s Tokyo Walking Tour: Old Tokyo