When you think of tourist attractions in Tokyo, what normally springs to mind?
You may think of the large scramble crossing in Shibuya(渋谷), anime and comics, electronic goods, Akihabara（秋葉原) and its “Idol” groups, Sensoji temple in the famous Asakusa(浅草), or Roppongi(六本木), home to the most glamorous nightclubs and luxurious venues!
There are many famous areas such as those above, but in this article, we would like to introduce you to 6 tourist spots in hidden quiet area Bunkyo-ku, near Tokyo university, Yushima(湯島)!
1) Yushima Tenman-gu Shrine(湯島天満宮): Wishing for success in studies
Yushima Tenmangu(湯島天満宮) was built in the year 458, and is an historic venue. This place separates the lives of two legendary godlike figures, Amenotajikara-wonomikoto(天之手力雄命) and Michizane Sugawara(菅原道真). This place has been historically visited by numerous scholars and academics, and has had a long standing following in the academic world.
In the area where visitors purify their hands with water, there is a cow statue, and there are pictures of heavenly Gods on cows drawn on “Ema(絵馬)” the wooden plaques where prayers are written. There are also various images of cows inside Yushima Tenmangu as well.
There are various connection with the cow which explain this imagery, one of which is that Michizane Sugawara, one of the celebrated figures, was born in the year of the Ox, as well as the fact that dead bodies were carried on a carriage pulled by cows.
Yushima Tenman-gū Shrine(湯島天満宮)
Address: 3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Prefecture 113-0034
2) Café Kingyouzaka(金魚坂カフェ): 350 years history and experience
[Kingyozaka/金魚坂] Café was opened in 2000 to fulfil the owner’s wish that “everyone gets familiar with goldfish. 2000年にスタートしたカフェは「一般の人にもっと金魚に親しんでほしい」という現オーナーの思いを形にしたもの。 #goldfish #coffee #cafe #beautiful #igerstokyo #tokyotrip #trip #stroll #travel #japan #tokyo #strolltips #tokyodome #金魚坂 #金魚 #本郷 #散策 #さんぽ #神神白湯 #東京ドーム
You will see the Café Kingyouzaka(金魚坂カフェ) near Hongo Street. Goldfish are familiar to the Japanese, as they are seen in many festivals such as “goldfish scooping”. You will also find a menu shaped like a goldfish! We recommend visiting this unique café!
Address: 5-3-15 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Prefecture 113-0033
3) Tsumakoi Shrine(妻恋神社): Praying for important people in your life
Down the hill from Yushima Tenmangu you will find Tsumakoi Shrine(妻恋神社). This celebrated shrine’s three pillars are made from the legendary Japanese hero, Prince Yamato Takeru Nomikoto(日本武尊), the princess, Ototachibana(弟橘姫命), and the God of bounty, Ukanomitamanomikoto(倉稲魂命).
The name is said to come from the legend of the prince who drew love from his deceased wife, the princess. This is the ideal place to come to pray for the important people in your life.
Address: 3-2-6 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Prefecture 113-0034
4) Origami Kaikan(おりがみ会館): Places where you can witness colorful origami displays
This exhibition centre and workshop are dedicated to the traditional Japanese art of origami, where you can learn to do yourself in classes here. There's a shop on the 1st floor, a gallery on the 2nd, and a workshop on the 4th where you can watch the process of making, dyeing and decorating origami paper for free. Why don't you watch and experience Origami, the Japanese Tradition of Paper Folding!
Address: 1-7-14 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Prefecture 113-0034
5) Kanda Myōjin Shrine(神田明神): The Love Live Shrine in Akihabara
Kanda Myōjin Shrine(神田明神), is a Shinto shrine located in Ochanomizu, Tokyo. The shrine dates back 1,280 years, but the current structure was rebuilt several times due to fire and earthquakes. Kanda Myōjin Shrine was an important shrine to both the warrior class and citizens of Japan, especially during the Edo period(1603-1868), when Tokugawa Ieyasu(徳川家康) shogunate paid his respects at Kanda Myōjin Shrine.
KandaMyōjin Shrine (神田明神)
Address: 2-16-2 Soto Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Prefecture 101-0021
6) Yushima Seidō(湯島聖堂): A place of study in times past
Yushima Seidō(湯島聖堂) has its origins in a private Confucian temple, the Sensei-den, constructed in 1630 by the neo-Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan(林羅山) in his grounds at Shinobi-ga-oka (now in Ueno Park). The fifth Tokugawa shogun, Tsunayoshi(徳川綱吉), moved the building to its present site in 1690, where it became the Taiseiden of Yushima Seidō. The Hayashi school of Confucianism moved at the same time. It is known as the birthplace of academic education in Japan.
Address: 1-4-25 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Prefecture 113-0034
Let’s find the Hot Spots in Yushima!
If you walk directly from Yushima station(湯島駅) to Ochanomizu station(御茶ノ水駅), you can spend around 20-30 minutes along the route visiting various places of interest, such as the above, with many discoveries and diversions along away. Yushima provides a refreshingly peaceful place for reflection within the heart of Tokyo.
Photos: Kota Wada