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Kagurazaka is situated near the Tokyo Dome. From the era when it was a famous red-light district during the Taisho period (1912-1926) still remain the old ryotei (traditional Japanese restaurants) and the geisha houses. It is a quiet and idle place in the afternoon, marked by its thin stone-paved roads. Just a few hours walk in this neighborhood full of old buildings, Japanese restaurants, and Japanese sweets shops, will give you a taste of traditional Japan. Due to the nearby French institute, there are also a lot of French people living in Kagurazaka, giving the district another one of its best-known features: the French eateries. Here is a list of the temples, shops, and restaurants that will show you the typical Kagurazaka.
1. Bishamonten Zenkoku-ji Temple
This is the shrine of the god of treasure, Bishamonten, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune in Buddhism. He is also worshiped in India since ancient times under the name of Vaisravana. The belief in Bishamonten grew stronger during the commercial and cultural development of the Edo period (1603-1868). Nowadays this temple belongs to the Nichiren school of Buddhism and Bishamonten is still popular as a god of fortune who wards off evil.
Address : 5-36 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
7-minute walk from the south exit of JR Iidabashi Station
6-minute walk from the A1 exit of Kagurazaka Station [Tokyo Metro Tozai Line]
6-minute walk from the A3 exit of Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station [Toei-Oedo Line]
2. Akagi Shrine, Akagi café
The Akagi Shrine is known as one of the 3 temples in Tokyo since the Edo period (1603-1868). Its god can ward off evil, prevent fires, and give its blessing over studies and arts. The good luck charms here are also famous for being very cute. The most unusual feature of this temple is that there is a café inside where people often drops by after visiting the shrine.
Address : 1-10 Akagi Motomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
2-minute walk from Kagurazaka Station [Tokyo Metro Tozai Line]
3. The French Institute in Tokyo
This is not a place that will give you a taste of Japan, but it can be a very good spot to rest at during a walk. Near the Iidabashi Station in Kagurazaka, you will find the official French Institute in Tokyo. Inside, there is a French library and a courtyard so silent it is hard to believe you are in the middle of Tokyo; the atmosphere makes you feel like you are actually in Paris. Some people come here especially to eat at the French restaurant “La Brasserie”. It might be perfect for those who can’t eat Japanese food.
Address : 15 Ichigaya Funagawaramachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
7-minute walk from JR Iidabashi Station
Mon~Fri 10am ~ 10pm
Sat 11:30am ~ 10pm
4. Furoshiki shop : Yamato Nadeshiko
This is a shop selling a useful Japanese item, the “furoshiki.” It is a piece of cloth that is very convenient for wrapping up a lot of different things. It is used in Japan to protect or decorate valuable gifts and wrap together clothes or kimono. Its charm comes above all from the various beautiful patterns; there are even people in Japan who use different patterns according to the seasons. Since it can be folded and doesn’t take up much space in luggage, it is also recommended as a souvenir. There are a lot of ways to fold and wrap things with the furoshiki, so feel free to ask the shop clerk to show you!
Address : 6-15 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
2-minute walk from the exit 1 of Kagurazaka Station [Tokyo Metro Tozai Line]
7-minute walk from Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station [Toei-Oedo Line]
12-minute walk from JR Iidabashi Station
11am ~ 7pm
5. Makanai Cosme
This store’s concept started at the gold leaf shops in Kanazawa (Ishikawa prefecture) and specializes in cosmetics and miscellaneous kitchen goods that help to always have a beautiful skin. Most of them are made with natural ingredients. Their most famous item is the konjac sponge, a natural cleansing sponge made from vegetable fibers of the konjac yam (konnyaku). The shop is full of things that any girl would want so please go try and touch the products. You will surely find some perfect gifts.
Address : 3-1 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture.
5-minute walk from JR Iidabashi Station.
2-minute walk from the B4b exit of Iidabashi Station [Tokyo Metro Yurakucho, Tozai, Oedo, Namboku Lines]
Week-day, Saturday : 10:30am ~ 8pm
Sunday, National holiday : 11am ~ 7pm
6. Kagurazaka Saryo Honten
Known for its “okayu,” a thin Japanese rice porridge, and its matcha latte, this cafe focuses on using Japanese ingredients. You can also enjoy warm weather on their open terrace.
Address : 5-9 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
5-minute walk from the south exit of JR Iidabashi Station [JR Sobu Line]
4-minute walk from the exit 1 of Kagurazaka Station [Tokyo Metro Tozai Line]
3-minute walk from the A3 exit of Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station [Toei-Oedo Line]
Monday ~ Thursday : 11:30am ~ 10pm (last order)
Sunday, National holidays : 11:30am ~ 9pm (last order)
This restaurant serves Japanese noodles (soba, udon) and tempura. It has received one star from the Michelin Guide and is very popular among Japanese soba lovers. Of course there are many other dishes and in the evening, a lot of people come to have a drink. The restaurant also serves lunch except on Mondays.
Address : Kagurazaka-kun 1F, 3-6 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
3-minute walk from the B3 exit of JR Iidabashi Station.
4-minute walk from the A3 exit of Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station [Toei-Oedo Line]
5-minute walk from the west exit of Iidabashi Station [Tokyo Metro]
Monday : 5pm ~ 9pm (last order)
Tuesday ~ Saturday : 11:30am ~ 3pm / 5pm ~ 9pm (last order)
8. Kinpei Kagurazaka
This is a Japanese-style bistro serving seafood. It might be easier for people who are not used to Japanese food to eat here, because this restaurant also cooks some traditional Japanese food in an Italian way. For example, they offer a tomato risotto and “takikomi gohan” (rice seasoned and cooked with various ingredients). We recommend that travelers with a tight budget come here for lunch instead of dinner. The set lunch menus are mainly made with fish.
Address : Kagurazaka MK Building 1F, 3-2-39 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
7-minute walk from JR Iidabashi Station
3-minute walk from the B3 exit of Iidabashi Station [Tokyo Metro]
8-minute walk from Kagurazaka Station [Tokyo Metro Tozai Line]
Tuesday ~ Sunday : 11:30am ~ 3pm
Tuesday ~ Friday : 6pm ~ 10:30pm
Saturday, Sunday, National holidays : 5pm~ 10:30pm
9. Kagurazaka OishinboYou can eat genuine Japanese food here for reasonable prices. Lunches are even more affordable than dinners. The menu changes everyday because they use the freshest ingredients of the season. This restaurant focuses mainly on tofu and seafood.
Address : 4-8 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
9-minute walk from the west exit of Iidabashi Station [JR Sobu Line], the B3 exit of Iidabashi Station [Tokyo Metro] or the A3 exit of Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station [Toei-Oedo Line]
Lunch 11:30～14:00 (Last order) Dinner 17:30～22:00 (Last order) Open on Sunday
There are a lot of ramen restaurants in Kagurazaka, but the Japanese ramen lovers would recommend this one, Tanaka-ya. The most famous noodles in this restaurant are the salt flavored “Chuuka Soba,” a clear soup with delicious roasted pork fillets. Although the soup looks transparent because it is salt flavored, the taste is very strong. Please use the vending machine at the entrance to select your menu and purchase your “meal ticket” before entering in the shop.
Address : 6-8-23 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo.
A few steps away from Kagurazaka Station [Tokyo Metro], Iidabashi Station [JR Sobu Line]
The district of Kagurazaka condenses a lot of traditional Japan in a small area. Even walking for just a few hours in the area, peeking into small shops, will surely make you feel immersed in Japanese culture.