Japan Tokyo Travel

Tokyo Shorts – Yanaka

After living in Tokyo for a short while you soon realise that it’s actually a conglomerate of many smaller cities linked together by the all-encompassing rail networks, each with their own unique feel.

Yanaka Ginza

While the like of Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Roppongi are neon soaked affairs, it’s not until you venture into some of the smaller districts that you get a feeling for the more traditional side of the city.

Yanaka Butchers

A far cry from its glitzy cousin, Yanaka Ginza is a traditional shopping street that dates back to the Edo period. Yanaka (谷中) lies not far from Ueno Park on the east side of Tokyo.

Yanaka Snake Street

After a crossing at the end it turns into Snake Street (ヘビ道), a narrow winding road as the name suggests, full of small craft shops and restaurants.

Kyou-ji Cemetery

The area is also home to a huge number of small temples, most of which you can freely wander into and look around.

Shrine in Yanaka

Wrapped Up Statue

Yanaka Cemetery

Yanaka is probably most well-known for it’s large cemetery (谷中霊園) which is home to around 7,000 graves. Far from being morbid it makes for a nice stroll, especially during cherry blossom season.


Bronze Buddha

On your way through it’s worth paying a visit to Tennoji Temple which lies in the northern corner of the cemetery and has a very peaceful atmosphere.

Tennoji Temple

Water Lilies

Inner Courtyard

Made In Japan

1 in a thousand

Old Sake Shop

You might also come across the Old Yoshida Sake Store which is one of the few remaining traditional buildings from the Edo period in the area. Since it’s now a museum you might be left thirsty though!

Temple in Yanaka

Colourful Deity

For those visiting Tokyo, Yanaka makes a nice alternative to the more busy and touristy Asakusa with just as much to explore.


Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Kamakura. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

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  1. Gardner says:

    Glad you made it to Yanaka David – hope you enjoyed your stroll !!
    This place is a very reasonable family run ryokan in the area and the small back streets between here and Nezu underground station are also a joy to wander around .

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