If you find yourself in Tokyo, but daydreaming about the picturesque shrines, temples and gardens of Kyoto, then Kagurazaka – a little Kyoto in Tokyo – should be the next stop on your hit list. Thanks to the local French schools and a large French population, Kagurazaka is often known as a trendy ‘French Quarter’. But, and it’s a big ‘but’, there is a side of Kagurazaka which has remained somewhat inconspicuous. Not only does it have many cafés and boutiques, it also has a spectacular array of outdoor spaces and a traditional Japanese feel.
This will be the first of several posts highlighting my favourite things in and around Kagurazaka.
A Fusion of Traditional and Modern
Situated in Shinjuku, between a fork in the Kanda-gawa river, Kagurazaka’s centre is also home to a cluster of stores selling a wide-range of modern and traditional goods. Although Kagurazaka was prominently known in the 1900’s for its multiple geisha houses, it has evolved into a fantastic fusion between modern day living and historic culture.
In Kagurazaka, you will still find ladies wearing kimono shuffling along the main high-street, as well as the traditional Japanese restaurants and Geisha houses.
Kagurazaka is my home (at least for now), but before I moved here I had limited knowledge of the area. Being in the busy district of Shinjuku, I feared that the neighbourhood would lack the intimacy that I had recently grown to appreciate in Yokohama. However, as Yoda once said, “fear is the path to the dark side”, and I needn’t have worried. Because, what I love about Kagurazaka is how ‘local’ it feels.
Take a Walking Tour of the Neighbourhood
Always one for chasing cute scenery, the Iidabashi-Kagurazaka-Waseda neighbourhood has quickly become my favourite place to hang-out. If you are tired of the hecticness of Tokyo then I highly recommend a walk from Waseda Station through to Iidabashi. I’ll write a post to connect the dots on this in July.
On the next post I will write about my favourite Japanese Garden near home, Shouseikaku. Hopefully it will become one of your favourites too!