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Those Who Appreciate the World of Stone Gardens, Zen, and Tea Ceremony Can Fully Enjoy Kagurazaka, Tokyo's Hidden Gem

Updated: 1 day ago


Those Who Appreciate the World of Stone Gardens, Zen, and Tea Ceremony Can Fully Enjoy Kagurazaka, Tokyo's Hidden Gem


Kagurazaka: The Most Recommended District by Shinjuku Residents


Kagurazaka is a hidden gem in Tokyo, known among those in the know. However, it ranks as the number one spot that Shinjuku residents recommend to their friends, acquaintances, and foreign tourists visiting Shinjuku. It topped the list in the category of "Festivals & Events" and ranked second in "Nature, Parks & Streetscapes" and "Commercial, Dining & Entertainment Facilities." Kagurazaka is the only district that ranked in the top five in all six survey categories (Source: Shinjuku Autonomous Creation Research Institute's "Study of the Charm of Shinjuku's Towns"). Nevertheless, tourists are not commonly seen in Kagurazaka even today.


Kagurazaka, A Hidden Gem In Tokyo, Lacks Famous Buildings But Offers A World Of 'Wabi-Sabi'


This hidden gem of Tokyo, "Kagurazaka," lacks grand castles or national treasure-level shrines and temples. Unlike Asakusa's Kaminarimon or Sensō-ji, Tokyo Tower, or Skytree, there are no well-known buildings to photograph, which is one reason tourists may stay away. However, those who understand the symbolic Japanese culture of "Wabi-sabi" can thoroughly enjoy the tourism in Kagurazaka. This is because exploring Kagurazaka requires the 'creativity' necessary to appreciate the world of 'Wabi-sabi.'


"Wabi-sabi," the symbol of Japanese culture, is said to represent the spirituality of imperfection. "Wabi-sabi" emphasizes the beauty of the incomplete and the impermanent. It is believed that these imperfections stir the imagination, attracting people from around the world.


Those Who Appreciate the World of Stone Gardens, Zen, and Tea Ceremony Can Fully Enjoy Kagurazaka, Tokyo's Hidden Gem


Kagurazaka, The Street Built for the Shogun


Similarly, Kagurazaka has a long history but no grand castles or national treasure-level shrines and temples. Originally, Kagurazaka was built in 1936 as Onaridori, a road from Ushigome gate of Edo Castle to the residence of Tadakatsu Sakai, the shogun's chief retainer, commissioned by the third shogun of the Edo shogunate, Iemitsu Tokugawa. It is said that Tokugawa traveled nearly 150 times to Sakai's residence. Today, this area is a vibrant shopping street.


Those Who Appreciate the World of Stone Gardens, Zen, and Tea Ceremony Can Fully Enjoy Kagurazaka, Tokyo's Hidden Gem


From a Shogun's Road to a Bustling Shopping Street with Many Cultural Heritages


There are a few examples in Japan where a road built for a shogun has turned into a commercial district. With the end of the Edo period, the samurai residences around Onaridori were transformed into shops, turning a district meant for samurai into one for common people. The area's 400-year history has fostered a rich culture, including the geisha district "Karyukai," the Zen temple Denchu-ji named by Tokugawa Iemitsu, and the oldest existing Ukiyo-e studio, Takahashi Studio. We also offer cultural experience tours in Kagurazaka, such as playing traditional games with geishas, Zazen meditation at Denchu-ji, Ukiyo-e printing at Takahashi Studio, and Kumihimo braiding at Domyo.


Additionally, the area retains old Kamakura period roads such as the cobblestoned Hyogo Yokocho and Karasuyama, adding to its historic charm. Kagurazaka has often been depicted in Ukiyo-e prints. The Yarai Noh Theater, originally located in Kanda, is now situated on the former site of Sakai Tadakatsu's residence.


Those Who Appreciate the World of Stone Gardens, Zen, and Tea Ceremony Can Fully Enjoy Kagurazaka, Tokyo's Hidden Gem


Kagurazaka: A Town That Demands Imagination


Can you imagine the figures of shoguns and samurai strolling through Kagurazaka, evoking scenes from 400 years ago? The spirit of 'Wabi-sabi' pervades the entire district, stirring the imagination. Walk through Kagurazaka and experience the world of stone gardens, tea ceremony, Zen, and Noh theater—perfect for travelers who appreciate the 'Wabi-sabi' culture. Since there are hardly any foreign tourists, you can also glimpse the everyday life of the Japanese.


Enjoy a Walking Tour of Kagurazaka with Your Rich Imagination and a Local Guide


The alleyways around Kagurazaka are like a labyrinth. Join us for our "Kagurazaka Walking Tour" and let your imagination flourish as our expert local guides lead you on a wonderful journey through this historic neighborhood. Furthermore, Kagurazaka is home to one of Tokyo's premier dining districts, boasting around 500 eateries. We also offer an "Izakaya Tour" in this gourmet area, so be sure to take part and experience the best local flavors.


Those Who Appreciate the World of Stone Gardens, Zen, and Tea Ceremony Can Fully Enjoy Kagurazaka, Tokyo's Hidden Gem

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