Yanaka 谷中 is a section of central Tokyo, situated in a hill to the west if Nippori and Nishi-Nippori stations. It was largely untouched by the ravages of World War 2, largely due to its lack of factories and low population density. This section of Edo was reserved for the aristocracy and Buddhist temples, I believe. The “high city” described in Seidensticker’s wonderful history of Tokyo, LOW CITY, HIGH CITY. What is there to see?

A grand avenue, lined by cherry trees:

A lonely cemetery:

Quiet back streets:

Yanaka Ginza shotengai shopping street 谷中ぎんざ商店街:

The “Sunset stairs” (map), which let the viewer watch the sunset for an extended amount of time as you gradually ascend the stairs and hill. In Japanese these stairs are called 夕やけだんだん(ゆうやけだんだん), Yuyake dan dan, which means “sunset, gradually):

  • 夕焼け or 夕やけ (yuyake ゆうやけ) = sunset, dusk, evening glow, etc.
  • だんだん (dan dan) = gradually

Fujimizaka 富士見坂 (map), a sloping pedestrian road that, until recently, had an unobstructed view of Mt. Fuji. (See: Where to see Mt. Fuji from Tokyo’s streets 東京から富士山が見える場所).

See also: “Nippori and Yanaka Ginza Map”, which includes “Snake Street” 「へび道」, a meandering shopping street that used to be a river (the Shakuji-gawa 石神井川). The street is pronounced Hebi-michi, but you’ll also find many references to Hebi-dori.

JPEG version:

yanaka-ginza-tokyo-walking-map

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