Yanaka or sometimes we call Yanesen (combined Yanaka, Nezu, Sendaagi) is a town where we can enjoy the nostalgic lifestyle of the common people while retaining the atmosphere of the old downtown Tokyo.
Located to the north of Kan’eiji Temple, which received special protection from the Tokugawa Shogunate (most of precinct is now converted to Ueno Park), there are many shrines and temples such as Tennoji, Nezu Shrine, and graveyards such as Yanaka Cemetery, where grave of TOKUGAWA Yoshinomu, 15th and the last shogun is settled
Yanaka Cemetery is a mixture of public and private cemeteries. The public cemetery managed by the Tokyo metropolitan was originally the cemetery of Tennoji, but after the Meiji Restoration, metropolitan confiscated it from Tennoji and opened to public regardless of sect. Therefore, many graves of non-Buddhists, Shinto and Christian tombstones can be seen. Shinto-style tombstones can be distinguished from Buddhist-style tombstones because the apex of the tombstone is a square pyramid. Granite produced in the Seto Inland Sea is used for most of the tombstones. Nearly 100% of Japanese are now cremated, placed in urns and buried under gravestones.
The five-storied pagoda, which was built in the Edo period in Tennoji and was a symbol of Yanaka Cemetery, was burned due to love-suicide self-immolation in 1957 and has not been rebuilt to this day.
On South, there is the University of Tokyo, Japan’s premier academic institution, and Tokyo University of the Arts, the premier educational institution for the arts. When we go further, we can reach Nezu Shrine, famous for its azaleas, which is often called the most beautiful shrine in Tokyo.
Laet’s visit Asakura Museum of Sculpture, which was the atelier of Fumio Asakura, who graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1907 and led the Japanese sculpture world, faces a quiet street in Yanaka.
There are many temples in Yanaka besides Kaneiji and Tennoji. It is also a good idea to walk around the temples along the narrow roads beside the temple walls, Tuiji-bei (a roofed mud-wall).
In Yanaka, there are streets and shops that have remained since before World War II, and we can enjoy walking and shopping with a nostalgic feeling while looking at them.
In this area, we can enjoy eating and shopping for fashionable items at a small shop that uses an old folk house. And at Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street, we can enjoy casual shopping for groceries and side dishes for our daily life.
Let’s finish today’s walk while watching the beautiful sunset over Yuyake dan-dan (Sun-set gentle slope).