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Enjoy the Kagurazaka Walk Tour: Discover Reversible One-Way Street and Tokyo's First Pedestrian-Only Street

Updated: 6 days ago


Enjoy the Kagurazaka Walk Tour: Discover Reversible One-Way Street and Tokyo's First Pedestrian-Only Street


Kagurazaka is a uniquely charming area in Tokyo, known for its rare traffic system of 'reversible one-way streets,' reflecting the vibrant life and rich history of the area. Let's delve into the secrets of this unique traffic system.




The Origin of Kagurazaka's Reversible One-Way Street


In Kagurazaka, the direction of the one-way street changes between day and night. Specifically, traffic flows downhill towards Iidabashi Station from midnight to noon, and from noon to midnight, it flows uphill towards Yarai. This system was implemented in 1961 to accommodate the morning traffic towards the city center and the reverse in the afternoon.


There's a rumor that former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka changed the one-way direction to ease his commute from Mejiro to the National Diet Building. However, since Tanaka became prime minister in 1972, it's unlikely that he initiated the change. Instead, it's possible that the rumor started because the reversible system conveniently matched his commuting needs.


Enjoy the Kagurazaka Walk Tour: Discover Reversible One-Way Street and Tokyo's First Pedestrian-Only Street

Kagurazaka as a Pedestrian-Only Street


Kagurazaka is known for its pedestrian-only hours. From noon to 1 PM on weekdays and noon to 7 PM on Sundays and holidays, the section from Kagurazaka Station to Iidabashi becomes a pedestrian-only street. This system was established to enhance local activation and safety, making it a delightful place for visitors. It is said that in 1887, Kagurazaka held Tokyo's first pedestrian-only event during the festival of Bishamonten (Zenkoku-ji Temple), also marking the first appearance of night stalls in Tokyo.


Enjoy the Kagurazaka Walk Tour: Discover Reversible One-Way Street and Tokyo's First Pedestrian-Only Street


Other Examples of Reversible One-Way Streets in Japan


Besides Kagurazaka, there are other places in Japan that use reversible one-way systems. For example, in Tokyo's Adachi Ward, the traffic direction between Tokyo Geidai Intersection and Senju Nakamachi Park Intersection switches from northbound in the morning to southbound in the afternoon. Similarly, in Okayama City, the section from Kokutai-machi Intersection to Minamigata 2-chome Intersection operates under a similar system.


Enjoy the Kagurazaka Walk Tour: Discover Reversible One-Way Street and Tokyo's First Pedestrian-Only Street


Enjoy the Kagurazaka Walk Tour around Noon to Experience the Fascination of Reversible One-Way Streets


The reversible one-way streets of Kagurazaka represent more than just a traffic rule; they are a vital part of the area's history and culture, offering a unique experience to its visitors. This distinctive system symbolizes that Kagurazaka is a lively neighborhood. I encourage you to walk a tour through this fascinating Kagurazaka area and experience its unique charm for yourself. It might be fun to visit Kagurazaka, from Okubo Street to Ushigome Central Street, around noon when the traffic direction changes.


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