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Did You Know Kagurazaka Was Built for Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu? Let's Walk Kagurazaka with Our Tour

Updated: 5 days ago

Let's Walk Kagurazaka with Our Tour

Kagurazaka was constructed in 1636 as a 12-meter-wide street named Onaridori, designated specifically for the passage of the Tokugawa Shogun. This street, now known as Kagurazaka, was made for the third Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu.

Before Kagurazaka's construction, the main route was along Karuko-zaka, which runs parallel to Kagurazaka. Karuko-zaka was an ancient path of the Kamakura Kaido, a road leading to Kamakura, also known as the "Old Kamakura Road." Beyond Karuko-zaka, the "Old Kamakura Road" passed to the east of today's Shirogane Park, descended Akagi-zaka in front of Akagi Shrine, emerged in Tenjin-cho, and led towards the Joshu Road, among others.

Let's Walk Kagurazaka with Our Tour

Kagurazaka Was Built as Shogun Road

Kagurazaka was built as Onaridori because of the vast estate of the Wakasa Obama Domain lord, Sakai Tadakatsu, in the Ushigome area. The route from Sakai Tadakatsu's estate to the Ushigome gate of Edo Castle became Kagurazaka, the Onaridori.

Due to Shogun Iemitsu's deep trust, Sakai Tadakatsu was granted a vast estate in 1628, covering 43,500 tsubo (approximately 143,800 square meters)—about the size of three Tokyo Domes. Subsequently, Shogun Iemitsu frequently visited Sakai Tadakatsu's estate, around 150 times, as historical records suggest. Tadakatsu's appointment as Tairo (a position above senior councilors and directly assisting the Shogun, akin to the number 2 position in the Edo Shogunate) in 1638 only solidified this connection. For context, the Tairo's role in the Edo period could be likened to that of the Vice President in modern-day America.

Let's Walk Kagurazaka with Our Tour

Moreover, there's a tale from 1939, when Edo Castle caught fire, and Shogun Iemitsu temporarily sought refuge in Sakai Tadakatsu's estate. The surrounding estate was fortified with bamboo spear fences, and the retainers guarded the Shogun day and night with spears, a gesture that deeply moved him. This event is the origin of the name "Yarai-cho," where the Yarai Noh Theater gets its name.

Understanding the historical and cultural significance of Kagurazaka, which served as both the Shogun's pathway and the Tairo's route to Edo Castle, highlights its distinguished heritage.

Let's Walk Kagurazaka with Our Tour

Why Not Experience Our Kagurazaka Walking Tour?

Nowadays, Kagurazaka has transformed into a bustling shopping street. While many shopping districts across Japan are losing their vigor, Kagurazaka remains lively. Walking through this vibrant area, where you can observe the shopping habits of locals, offers a unique glimpse into the past, where Shoguns once passed.

Kagurazaka's unique blend of historical depth and modern-day vibrancy undoubtedly makes it one of the best streets for exploring Tokyo. Walking down Kagurazaka, imagining the days of the Shogunate while witnessing the contemporary life of Tokyoites, can create unforgettable memories of your Japan trip.

Why not experience our Kagurazaka walking tour? Our knowledgeable guides will introduce you to both the history and the present of Kagurazaka.

Let's Walk Kagurazaka with Our Tour

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