38 Things to Do in Kagurazaka, a District Overflowing with Tradition and Culture, in 2018

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  • Kagurazaka is a small central district of Tokyo that is relatively undiscovered compared to the tourist-packed surrounding areas of Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ueno. With a heavy French influence, the main street through Kagurazaka is brimming with French-inspired cafés, restaurants and shops. However, the history of this area dates back to the Edo period and you can still catch a whiff of traditional Japan among the freshly baked croissants. As one of the only remaining geisha districts left in Tokyo, there is always a chance of catching a glimpse of a kimono-clad geisha pottering around the little, cobbled streets and traditional eating and drinking establishments of Kagurazaka. Uncover the hidden wonders of this culture-rich neighbourhood with these 38 things to do.

    For more things to do in other areas, check this list out!
    Would you like to stay in Kagurazaka? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

    1. Enjoy Dinner While Watching a Geisha Performance

    Geisha Performance

    While most people head to Kyoto for geisha spotting, Kagurazaka is the place to go if you’d like to see one of Tokyo’s few remaining geisha. The reality is that you have to be in the right place at the right time to catch a geisha just wondering the streets, so to guarantee a sighting it’s best to head along to a special event.

    Kagurazaka is home to some of the traditional geisha houses that would have been around back in the Edo period. Here you can experience a performance executed by geiko, who are top-level geisha. In stepping back into this traditional establishment you will also be served up a traditional dinner and drinks by one of the geiko.

    Booking details: Book for Dinner with a Top Level Geisha Performance in Kagurazaka

    2. Explore the Traditional Cobbled Streets

    Tokyo Kagurazaka

    Kagurazaka is a place to be explored inside out. While the area is small, the winding, cobbled backstreets can make it a maze to get around but a maze worth getting well and truly lost in. A tour of the area will ensure you discover the best parts of the neighbourhood from the many temples and shrines to some of the best shops, cafés and restaurants on offer.

    Booking details: Tour Around the Lively Neighborhood of Kagurazaka!

    3. See a Male Geisha Show

    Male Geisha

    A male geisha is known as a taikomochi and is, of course, much less known than the honoured female geisha. However, that is by no means to say that taikomochi don’t put on an equally beautiful and fascinating show.

    All taking place in a traditional tatami room, you will eat authentic Japanese food at a 140-year-old restaurant while enjoying the company and performance of a male geisha. With just five taikomochi in the whole of Japan, this is a truly unique experience.

    Booking details: Enjoy Japanese Taikomochi Show and Cuisine, Tokyo!

    4. Visit the Local Temples and Eateries

    Kagurazaka Temple

    The many shops, temples and streets of Kagurazaka can be discovered in a few hours so why not join a tour to make sure you see all the best parts of the area? Not only is this the best way of seeing the best sights but also gives you the opportunity to meet a local guide so you can learn more about the history of Kagurazaka’s compelling streets. You will also get the chance to eat and drink at an izakaya, a typical Japanese drinking establishment.

    Booking details: Explore Street food and Bars in Kagurazaka!

    5. Eat at One of Kagurazaka’s Best Restaurants

    Recommended Restaurant

    With Kagurazaka’s fusion of French and Japanese culture, it goes without saying that it is home to some spectacular eating joints. Whether you know specifically what you want to get your chops around or want to be headed in the right direction, the advice of a local is sure to put you on the right track. After a good day’s sightseeing in this fascinating area, a satisfying meal will be the icing on the cake.

    Booking details: Restaurant Reservation with Recommended Dishes

    6. Check Out Zenkoku-ji Temple

    Bishamonten, one of the Four Heavenly Kings, was a Hindu god who was later absorbed into Buddhism and evolved into a diety that is said to grant people’s wishes. This nice temple is one of the central attractions of the Kagurazaka area.

    Zenkoku-ji Temple website
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    7. Visit Akagi Shrine

    While on your exploration of local culture and history, stop off at Akagi Shrine as well. It got renovated in 2010 and is now an impressive modern version of its former self. Akagi Shrine is home to many annual events and food markets and is a great place to visit and take great photographs.

    Akagi Shrine website *Japanese only
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    8. Buy Some Japanese Beauty Products

    Japanese beauty products are gentle on the skin and often have skin-brightening properties. Makanai Cosme is a popular cosmetic store in Kagurazaka selling hand creams, makeup, face masks, and more to update your collection or get the perfect souvenir for someone waiting at home.

    Makanai Cosme website *Japanese only
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    9. Eat Delicious Ramen at Chu-ka Soba Tanaka-ya

    Ramen is a delicious broth and noodle dish that’s popular in Japan. A great restaurant selling ramen and also soba noodles is Chu-ka Soba Tanaka-ya, which is right in the center of Kagurazaka. If your stomach is rumbling and you’d like to try some delicious Japanese noodles, stop off at Chu-ka Soba Tanaka-ya and get slurping!

    Tanaka-ya Tabelog page
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    10. Check Out the Frasco Gallery

    The Frasco Gallery is a place to see handmade goods such as ceramics, clothing, bags, and jewellery. It’s located a short walk from Kagurazaka Station and different artists can exhibit and sell their works there. No matter when you go, you’re bound to find something new. If you’ve a soft spot for handmade works of art, be sure to stop by this gallery.

    Frasco Gallery website *Japanese only
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    11. Browse Real Japanese “Furoshiki” at Yamato Nadeshiko

    #秋 #紅葉 #収穫 #地蔵 #りす #秋のふろしき #神楽坂のふろしきや #やまとなでしこ #かかし #きのこ

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    A furoshiki is a traditional cloth that the Japanese use to wrap presents, wine bottles, and bento lunchboxes. They can also be used as a tablecloth. These charming cloths come in a variety of styles and patterns, and Yamata Nadeshiko sells both traditional and innovative versions. If you’re stuck for souvenir ideas and you’re in the neighbourhood, be sure to check in and browse their products.

    Yamato Nadeshiko website
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    12. Relax in a Café

    Take a break from shopping and sightseeing at one of Kagurazawa’s beautiful cafés. Kiitos Café, “Kiitos” meaning “thank you” in Finnish, is a popular place to sip coffee and go people-watching. Mugimaru 2 is another excellent choice.

    13. Visit the French Institute

    A lot of areas in Kagurazaka were inspired from French cuisine or architecture, and one may be reminiscent of Paris when wandering along the streets. The French Institute is in Kagurazaka hosts various events and recommends great things to do for visitors.

    French Institute website *Japanese/French only
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    14. Attend the Kagurazaka Festival

    If you visit Tokyo in late July, you can’t miss the annual festival! It’s the biggest summer festival of the year which, in the first two days, hosts the Hozugi Market where you can buy seasonal winter cherry seeds, and Awaodori dances in the second half of the festival. THere are also food stalls selling delicious summer treats, so be sure not to miss it.

    15. Visit Anyo-ji Temple

    2016.08.05 江戸三十三観音霊場 16番札所 医光山 安養寺 天台宗 お寺の奥様が、本堂を開けて下さり、ご本尊の金色に輝く薬師如来さまを、とても近くでお参りすることができました。 1時間以上もお邪魔してしまって、貴重なものをたくさん見せて下さったり、お経のことや仏様に導かれた素敵なお話をたくさんして下さいました。 特に印象に残っているものの1つは、天台宗の僧であり書家であった豊道春海さんの、美しい書を見せて下さったこと。 とても貴重な時間を過ごすことができました。ありがとうございました。 #安養寺 #神楽坂 #江戸三十三観音 #札所巡り #御朱印

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    This little-known temple is nestled in town just a four-minute walk from Kagurazaka Station and holds many charming little treasures such as statues and small torii gates. Many temples in Tokyo are very crowded, so be sure to check out this hidden gem in Kagurazaka.

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    16. Check Out the Museum of Science at the Tokyo University of Science

    理科大学の近代科学資料館。展示が色々面白い。機械式計算機の実機で計算できて感動。でも使い方がわからず、案内もない。ネットで調べて計算するというすき家の新人ワンオペバイト店員状態。機械式で掛け算ってどうするのかなって昔から疑問に思っていたんですけど、13×14だとすると13+13+13・・・みたいにハンドルを14回回す(回した回数もインジケータで確認できるのでミスはない)必要があるのね。腕が疲れる! 昔の人はこんな計算方法をしていたんですね。 ジョブスのNEXTの実機やAppleⅡ、ソニーの初代ウォークマンなんかもあって感動。

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    This museum features interesting history of calculators, computers, and other machines. It’s a fascinating look at how technology has developed since the 20th century. It’s been highly rated among visitors and is completely free to enter.

    Museum of Science website
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    17. Relax in a Japanese “Sento” Bath

    Kagurazaka is also home to a public bath called Daisan Tamanoyu. Relax and refresh the Japanese way by taking a soak in their hot baths and jet cooler. Amenities such as shampoo and body wash are provided.

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    18. Visit Tsukudo Hachiman Shrine

    A shrine for fans of Japanese history and architecture, this little area has steps leading along a path to the shrine, beautiful in spring when cherry blossoms bloom overhead. Ring the bell and pray for good luck, prosperous business and careers, and safety at home!

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    19. Eat Chinese Food at Ryuho

    #龍朋 チャーシュー麺、味噌ラーメン、炒飯 2017/11/11

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    This beloved Chinese restaurant is so popular that it’s generally very crowded, but you can usually sit after a short wait. Gorge on Chinese goodies such as mapo dofu, fried rice, and ramen. It’s only a minute walk from Kagurazaka Station, so be sure to check it out if your stomach is rumbling when you arrive.

    Ryuho Tabelog page
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    20. Catch a Movie a Ginrei Hall

    Take a break from shopping and sightseeing to check out a movie at Ginrei Hall! Both Japanese and international movies are shown at this local cinema.

    Ginrei Hall website
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    21. Go Shopping at Ramla Shopping Mall

    Tokyo is a great spot for shopping, but some of the more well-known areas such as Shibuya, central Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro can get crowded. Ramla is around a fifteen-minute walk (or four-minute subway ride on the Tozai line) from Kaguraza Station and is a shopping centre that is sure to keep shopaholics entertained for a while!

    Ramla website *Japanese only
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    22. Play Games and Win Prizes at SEGA Kagurazaka

    Just one minute on foot from Kagurazaka Station is the SEGA building where you can play arcade games, win plushies, and take Japanese “purikura” in photo booths. This is ideal if you get caught in the rain or would like to take a break from sightseeing to play some fun games.

    SEGA Kagurazaka website
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    23. Feast on All-You-Can-Eat Sushi

    Still hungry? At Kagurazaka Sushi Academy, you can have all the sushi you can eat for 90 minutes! It costs 2980 yen for women and 3480 yen for men, and for that you can try different types of sushi such as maguro (tuna), salmon, shrimp, eel, ikura, and much more. The restaurant also serves Japanese sake and delicious desserts. If you’re in the mood for sushi, don’t miss Kagurazaka Sushi Academy from your list.

    Kagurazaka Sushi Academy Tabelog page
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    24. Take a Leisurely Stroll Down the Main Road

    #kagurazaka #niceplace #manyrestaurants #manystores #kagurazakastreet #kagurazakastation #tokyo #japan

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    The main road of Kagurazaka is off-limits to vehicles from 12:00 to 13:00 every day and from 12:00 to 19:00 on Sundays and national holidays. During this time, why not take a stroll and people watch? The vibe of this lovely district with vibes ofbth French and traditional Japanese style will relax you and maybe you’ll discover a new shop or cafe along the way.

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    25. Try Some of the Best Steamed Pork Buns in Tokyo

    間違いないやつ♡♡

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    Gojuban is a popular shop that sells delicious “nikuman”, or steamed pork buns, perfect for a snack while you explore. You can get a large sized one for a couple of hundred yen, and as well as the traditional pork filling, you can get other flavours too such as curry, mozarella cheese, custard, and extra spicy. Visit this shop for a piping hot and tasty snack.

    Gojuban website *Japanese only
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    26. Have a Glass of Wine and Bask in the French Ambience at Petit Paris

    This high-class restaurant serves different kinds of wine as well as grand, hish-quality meals. Visit here to get a real sense of Old World France and perhaps meet some French expats, who adore this restaurant for its authentic feel and its delectable dishes.

    Petit Paris Tabelog page
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    27. Chat with English-Speaking Staff at Mojo Coffee

    Mojo Coffee is a cafe from New Zealand which roasts its own coffee beans and serves tasty, high quality drinks. It also serves cafe meals such as eggs benedict, tomato and avocado toast, and delicious peninis. It’s the perfect place to eat brunch and chat with the English-speaking staff.

    Mojo Coffee Tabelog page
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    28. Get Lost Down One of Kagurazaka’s Streets

    As well as the trendy main street, Kagurazaka is home to many small alleyways overflowing with local treasures. A long time ago, this was a big area for geisha (locally known as “maiko”), and you can still get a feel for the area’s golden age in many of the areas little alleyways and streets.

    29. Sing Karaoke

    A great way to spend a rainy afternoon or the climax of an epic night out is by singing karaoke, a Japanese pastime that’s fun and engaging! Kagurazaka may be a relatively small district, but this is Tokyo after all, and you’ll find karaoke rooms such as Karaoke no Tetsujin, Big Echo, and Joysound in this area.

    Rooms are private and come with food and drinks, so if you’re there for the evening or fancy an affordable way to spend a cold afternoon, belt your favourite songs Japanese-style!

    30. Eat at Kagurazaka Ika Center

    This popular restaurant has seafood which couldn’t be any fresher. You can choose which live shrimps you would like to eat, and chefs will prepare it right in front of you. This may not be for everyone, but if you think you can handle it, it is the freshest shrimp you are ever likely to taste! The venue itself is popular, busy, and has staff which speak some English.

    Website *Japanese only
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    31. Try Matcha Treats at Saryo Cafe

    At the Saryo Cafe, just a four-minute walk from Kagurazaka Station, you can enjoy its signature Matcha Green Tea. This traditional yet relaxing cafe also has matcha-based treats such as indulgent matcha chocolate fondue! An English menu is available.

    Website *Japanese only
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    32. Indulge in Italian Cuisine at Kagurazaka Stagione

    Of the many restaurants in Kagurazaka, this is one of the most popular. It serves tempting dishes including pasta, seafood, and chicken, and has an impressive wine list. The atmosphere is casual yet classy, and staff are very friendly.

    Website *Japanese only
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    33. Enjoy Wine at World Wine Bar by Pieroth

    This cozy wine bar serves a great selection of wines along with classy and delicious international dishes. It is fun for families and also for couples or friends. There is a helpful English menu and welcoming staff!

    Website
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    34. Buy Unique Items at Sada

    Sada is a wonderful hidden gem selling unique clothes, shoes, ceremics and other items which are durable, very high-quality, and mae in Japan but known craftspeople. You will find real treasures here which you won’t find anywhere else. The shop is small but friendly and filled with great stuff!

    Website *Japanese only
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    35. Try Traditional Japanese Sweets at Kinozen

    Kinozen is a hugely popular traditional sweets shop which as been open since the beginning of the Meiji era. Although very busy, it continues to attract locals and tourists alike. One of its specialties is the matcha flavored cream pastry. Get down there if you want to try some delicious Japanese sweets which are popular with the locals!

    Website *Japanese only
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    36. Sample Rice Snacks at Kagurazaka Karyo

    This great store specializes in different varieties of rice cakes, 33 to be exact! And people flock here to try them. Varieties can be tried before buying, and include vegetables, nuts, cheeses, and spices. It is a great snack and also an amazing gift idea!

    Website *Japanese only
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    37. Have Fine Japanese Food at Esaki

    Esaki is only 16-seater restaurant but good things come in small packages! Here you can delight in Japanese Oden (the specialty here), which includes top-notch seafood, tuna, and seasonal vegatables. The sashimi is also a solid favorite. In the colder months, this place is very busy so you will have to wait in line! But it’s worth it!

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    38. Find All Sorts at La Kagu

    <Paul Smith loves la kagu Exclusive item Vintage Scarf> 10月7日(土)のオープン以来、多くの方にご来場いただきお楽しみいただいているポップアップショップ、「Paul Smith loves la kagu」。今回のポップアップショップでは、デザインのインスピレーションソースとして、長年ポール・スミス氏が収集してきた大量のヴィンテージスカーフが天井に飾られています。 ・ その貴重なヴィンテージスカーフを、ポール・スミス氏から特別に数量限定でご提供いただき販売しております。また、コラボレーションを記念し、スカーフにはそれぞれポール・スミス氏本人の直筆サインが入ったスペシャルなカード付き。 11月20日(月)までのポップアップショップとなっておりますので、是非この機会にご来場ください。 . Paul Smith loves la kagu Exclusive item Vintage Scarf ¥9,000+tax . #lakagu#fashion#paulsmith #special#神楽坂 #ラカグ

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    La Kagu is all things trendy and arty, and has an outdoor terrace, a vast book store, a cafe, and an events space. There are various farmer’s markets, workshops, lectures, and exhibitions held here, and attracts the creative minds and fashionistas! It is also just a nice and casual place for a coffee or a light lunch.

    Website
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    Both traditional, modern and multi-cultural, a walk around Kagurazaka is like riding a cultural roller coaster. As a locals’ favourite, this area is an absolute must for anyone wanting an insight into an important area in the history of Tokyo. With its ideal central location, there’s no excuse not to pop over to Kagurazaka before heading on to one of the bigger tourist attractions nearby.

    For more things to do in other areas, check this list out!
    Would you like to stay in Kagurazaka? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

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