A dizzying mixture of old ways and modern style, crowds and calm, and arguably the best food scene on the planet.
Travel bucket list idea:
Old Tokyo at Yanaka
Tokyo, Kanto, Japan
Having avoided damage from the great quake of 1923, the bombs of World War Two and the attention of developers, the Yanaka neighbourhood retains a mellow and somewhat rickety ‘old Tokyo’ feel.
The narrow streets here are home to small temples and family-run stores, but also the occasional historic building repurposed as a hip cafe, bar or gallery.
A good starting point is the Yanaka Ginza shopping street, before branching off into the alleyways to find arty spots like the Asakura Museum of Sculpture and the uber-contemporary SCAI The Bathhouse gallery.
Alternatively, stop for craft beer in the renovated townhouse that houses the Yanaka Beer Hall.
After, walk on to Nezu Station to see the lovely Nezu Shrine or stroll to Ueno for the park and its museums.
Getting there & doing it
The nearest station is Nippori on the JR Yamanote Line – just a few minutes from the top of Yanaka Ginza.
Yanaka involves a lot of strolling, so wear sensible footwear and save it for a dry day.
When to do it
Weather-wise, spring (late March-May) and autumn (October/November) both have lots of warm sunny days – perfect for a stroll around the neighbourhood.
June, July and August are hot and humid. If you’re visiting then, go as early as possible in the day.
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