Suitengumae Superguide

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Name: Suitengumae

Kind: Town

Location: 35°41’02.66″ N 139°47’04.25″ E

Station: Suitengumae, Metro Hanzomon Line

Worth it? For a quick look.

Updated 9/25/2020

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Suitengumae

Suitengumae (or simply “Suitengu“) is a small residential town just to the northeast of Tokyo Station. You can get here by taking the Metro Hanzomon subway line, or by walking or cycling. The walk is not far – about 2-ish miles. To walk or cycle from Tokyo Station, exit on the Yaesu (east) side of the station at the north exit, then head north until you hit Rt. 10 (Eitai Dori), then head east. About a mile down, you’ll come to the Minato Bridge which crosses the Nihonbashi River. The coordinates for this turn are roughly at 35°40’44.68″ N 139°46’59.90″ E. Turn left (north) and cross the bridge. Head north a few blocks and you’ll come to a massive 4-level freeway interchange above you. Turn left here. Keep this interchange in mind as it’s an important landmark for several reasons explained below. Also under this overpass is an entrance to the Metro subway Suitengumae Station which also houses the Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) which is explained below.

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The huge freeway interchange north of Eitai Dori looking back west along Rt. 50. Suitengumae Station is behind the camera to the left.

Yaesu (east) exit with Tokyo Station on the right. This is facing south. Eitai Dori is to the left (east).

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Just outside the Yaesu (east) side of Tokyo Station. Head north here to reach Eitai Dori, then head east (right).

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West (Marunouchi) side of Tokyo Station at night. Just to the left out of frame is an entrance to the Hanzonmon Line underground. Suitengumae is to the east of Tokyo Station down Eitai Dori (Rt. 10). This photo is facing northeast.

If you turn right at this interchange you’ll come to the Sumida River a few blocks down. But instead turn left and a few blocks back east you’ll pass the Royal Park Hotel on your right, and come to another Suitengumae Station entrance on your left. You’re now in the heart of Suitengumae. In fact, there are several Suitengumae Station entrance/exits scattered all around the area. You’ll have to go inside the station to get familiar with all the exits and where they lead. The station itself is entirely underground and except for the large entrance where T-CAT is, the only evidence of the station you’ll see are the small stairwells on the sidewalks.

An alternate walking route would be to cut down side streets east of Tokyo Station, then re-emerge onto Rt. 10 a few miles down.

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Cutting east down side streets in Tokyo on the way to Suitengumae.

Trains

If you want to take a train to Suitengumae you’ll need to find the Hanzonmon Line on the Tokyo Metro. You can get it from Tokyo Station, or from Otemachi Station just to the north, but be warned that the tunnels + routes to Hanzomon Line are underground in Tokyo Station and are miles of labyrinths. You can easily get lost in them, and even if you don’t it takes forever to get to the actual Hanzomon Line platform under Tokyo Station. An easier way is to find a Hanzomon Line entrance on the surface streets north of Tokyo Station and head down. You still may have to walk a bit so be prepared. The entire experience is generally known around Tokyo to expats as Hanzomon Hell (see videos below). Sometimes you have to walk through entire shopping centers + up and down multiple flights of stairs to get to where you want to go. You can literally spend hours walking around in the system under Tokyo Station – so be prepared.

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Abandon all hope of your feet not hurting all ye who enter here. Once you descend into Hanzomon Hell in search of a subway entrance, it may be quite some time until you find what you are looking for. Be prepared to walk. It may take hours.

Another corridor in Hanzomon Hell. Be ready to walk (and walk, and walk, and walk).

You can also get on the Hanzomon Line at Otemachi Station (Z08) just to the north, or you can switch at Otemachi Station from the Tozai Line, Chiyoda Line, or Marunouchi Line. If you’re coming from Ginza just to the south, you can take the JR Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station from Yurakucho Station or the Yurakucho Line from Yurakucho Station. You can also change directly to the Hanzomon Line from Nagatacho Station on the Yurakucho Line. If you’re on the far west side of the city, you can get on the Tozai Line at Nakano Station, then change at Yurakucho Station. The Hanzomon Line stops at various other places all the way across the city, terminating at Shibuya.

Jump To Tokyo Sky Tree, Sumiyoshi, Kinshicho, and Shibuya

One other interesting footnote about the Hanzomon Line and Suitengumae is both make access to Tokyo Sky Tree easy. Oshiagé/SKYTREE is the western terminus of the Hanzomon Line. If you stay at lodgings near Suitengumae Station, it’s mere minutes to Sky Tree to the northeast. Suitengumae Station is roughly at the middle 1/3 of the Hanzomon Line (Otemachi) which makes it a good spot for access to both the east + west sides of Tokyo. It’s closer to Sky Tree than to Shibuya in the west, but both are still easily accessible. We’ll discuss lodgings a bit more below.

2 stations to the west is Sumiyoshi, then Kinshicho, and then Oshiagé/SKYTREE.

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Station maps of Marunouchi, Chiyoda, and Tozai lines. Colored circles next to each station indicate line interchange stations. The station highlighted in red is the current station.

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One of many surface street entrances to the Hanzomon Line in Otemachi.

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Approaching the Ootemori level of Hanzomon Hell under Tokyo Station – only one of many levels you will have to pass through to find the subway platform you want. The station levels themselves are quite nice – it’s the miles of walking that makes it hell.

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Ootemori

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Deep inside Hanzomon Hell under Tokyo Station. As you come upon a Metro line sign in Hanzomon Hell, you may think your walk is over, but you’re not even close. You’ll often see signs like these color-coded with the line symbol and color, and a message of how much further (such as “Hanzomon Line 500m”) with an arrow. You get duped into thinking it’s just ahead but in reality you’ll have to pass through many such signs to reach the desired platform. What these signs really mean is “X number of meters until the next corridor junction or stairwell or escalator. So it really ends up being many such paths of 500m + 700m + 300M + 200M…. Before you know it, you’ve been walking for 2 hours and have walked over 5 miles!

Suitengumae Station + Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT)

One of the best-kept secrets in Tokyo is the Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT). It’s inside Suitengumae Station and it has buses that depart to both Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport. The buses are very cheap at around $9 per one-way ride. That’s about 1/2 the cost of taking the NE’X or Keisei Skyliner from say, Ueno. It’s a good idea to go a few days before your departure date and buy a ticket in advance.

Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) just under the freeway overpass interchange. Suitengumae Station is also inside. There’s also a small shopping mall. The pink bldg. visible ahead on the left side of the photo is the Royal Park Hotel. Just to the right behind the station next to the hotel is a huge paid bike parking lot. There is also a station entrance leading underground inside the hotel.

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Inside Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT).

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Station map inside Suitengumae Station.

Bike Parking + Royal Park Hotel

Just west of the station is the very luxurious Royal Park Hotel. It’s very nice but a bit expensive. Expect to pay $200 or more per night. On the northeast corner of the hotel is a huge outdoor paid bike parking lot where you can lock your bike for the day if you need to. Cost is around 400¥ ($4) for 8 hours.

AEON Supermarket + Doutour

There’s not a lot in the way of food around Sutengumae Station. There’s a Family Mart conbini (convenience store) just across the street as well as a 7-11. Just to the east across the street is a Doutour café which is quite good. A few blocks to the east on the same side as the station is a nice AEON supermarket which has good organic vegetables very cheap. They also sell KAGOME bottled vegetable drinks + bottled coffee. Most of the real food in Suitengumae is back towards the west along Rt. 50 where Suitengu shrine is (see below). There is also a post office along this route.

Looking back east along Rt. 50 towards the expressway interchange. The Royal Park Hotel is on the left.

The AEON Supermarket a few blocks east of the station.

Doutour café also a few blocks east of the station, facing south.

Eitai Bridge + Ookawabata River City

If you walk back to where the IBM HQ bldg. is, you’ll find a small bridge named Toyomi Bridge. You can cross back onto Eitai Dori by crossing this bridge. Once you’re back on Eitai Dori, if you head further east you’ll come to the world-famous Eitai Bridge with its iconic view of Ookawabata River City. You can walk or ride a bike across this bridge and stop mid-way to take photos. If you cross the bridge to the east and keep going, then turn south along Kiyosumi Dori, you’ll find the Tokyo University Centennial Museum of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), which also has a large wooden sailing ship, the Seimyo-maru outside to check out.

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Ookawabata River City as seen from Eitai Bridge.

View of Ookawabata River City + Eitai Bridge from futher up the Sumida River.

Kiyosumi Park + Kiyosumi Teien Japanese Garden

A bit to the northeast of Suitengumae across the Sumida River is Kiyosumi Park and Kiyosumi Teien Japanese Garden/Ryōtei Tea House. The garden is spectacular, especially in the fall and is well worth a stop. You’ll need to cross the river and then head north on side streets for a few blocks, but it’s not too far and is well worth the trip.

Suiten-gū (水天宮) Shrine

Perhaps the biggest historical attraction in the area is Suitengu Shrine, established in 1881. It’s just up Eitai Dori on the north side of the street to the west of Suitengumae Station. The shrine’s wooden architecture is amazing. Worth a look.

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Suitengu Shrine, facing north. Suitengumae Station is to the right, out of frame.

Lodging

Aside from the Royal Park Hotel, there are a lot of guest houses and AirBnBs in the area, but the hidden gem to stay at is First Cabin Suitengumae. First Cabin provides luxury capsule lodgings for a reasonable price. Expect to pay $42/night or so. Hidden down a little side street just to the east of the interchange overpass, First Cabin Suitenguemae is worth a stay. The building has been fully remodeled and the facilities are spotless. There’s also a small Lawson conbini a few blocks to the north. The staff is very helpful and there’s a large lobby with tables + chairs to sit at where you can eat your brought-in food. The hotel also sells small breakfasts in the form of croissants, bagels, and pastries. There’s also a coffee machine. Overall, very nice. To get to FCS, head back east on Rt. 50 through the overpass, past a small Koban (police box), past the AEON supermarket, then make the next left (north) down the next side street. Continue north past the bagel shop, then a few blocks up turn right. The building is a tall narrow white/gray bldg. with a First Cabin sign on the front.

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Head left (north) past Ozo Bagel.

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Look for First Cabin down a side street to the right.

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Looking south from the entrance to First Cabin. The overpass is straight ahead over Rt. 50. Turning right onto Rt. 50 here will lead you to Suitengumae Station a few blocks up.

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Inside First Cabin standard room. There is also a small lock box on the left for your belongings.

Lobby lounge inside First Cabin Suitengumae.

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Restroom inside First Cabin Suitengumae.

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Another First Cabin – this one over in Toranomon.

https://first-cabin.jp/en/hotels/32

Additional Notes

From Asakusa you can take a world-famous boat cruise up the Sumida River past Suitengumae.

Just to the south of Suitenguemae on the banks of the Sumida River is the Japanese HQ for IBM Corporation. There’s a walkway all along the Sumida River which runs for miles.

Additional Photos

Suitengumae is just to the right of the bldg. in the center with the square hole in it. The river shown is the Sumida River. This is facing southwest.

The massive 4-level Metropolitain Expressway interchange north of Eitai Dori. The T-CAT/Suitengumae Station are underneath this overpass on the north side. If you head far enough east on this road and turn left (north) you can hike to Sky Tree in about 9 miles.

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Hanzomon Line entrance in Tokyo Station. The line map is overhead with each station. Red indicates the current station.

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Line entrances @ Otemachi Station. Each line has a colored circle, and a letter. The current station number for this station on each line is inside each circle at the bottom. Some, but not all stations are interchanges for other lines.

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Another street entrance @ Otemachi Station. There’s also an area map. The green symbol to the right is the Toei subway system symbol – an alternate system from the Metro but which uses many of the same stations.

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Inside the lower level of Suitengumae Station. Note the bank of coin lockers on the right.

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Street entrance to Suitengumae Station on Eitai Dori. Just to the right in the upper corner is the Royal Park Hotel. Just down the side street to the right is an outdoor paid bike locker. This is facing west towards Tokyo Station.

Hanzomon Line platform.

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Hanzomon Line platform. The yellow rubber tracks are for sign-impaired people. The rubber tracks allow them to use their canes to find their way. Sort of like braille for walking.

The Marunouchi Line whizzes by under Tokyo Station. “Marunouchi” literally means “Home Circle” in Japanese ( “Maru” (circle) “no” (of) “uchi” (home) ).

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Entrance to Hanzomon and Chiyoda Lines in Tokyo Station. The numbers indicate which platform side, the colors indicate which line. Some recent renovations in some stations in Tokyo also include lighted color stripes on the walls to indicate which path to take.

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More levels inside Hanzomon Hell.

LINKS

Metro Suitengumae Station

https://www.tokyometro.jp/lang_en/station/otemachi/index.html

https://tokyo-tokyo.com/Suitengumae.htm

https://tokyocheapo.com/locations/central-tokyo/suitengumae/

http://www.suitengu.or.jp/

https://tokyosharehouse.com/eng/

http://www.ootemori.jp/index.php

https://www.pokemoncenter-online.com/cafe/

https://first-cabin.jp/en/hotels/32

VIDS

Toranomon Superguide Part 1

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Name: Toranomon

Kind: Town

Where: 1-chome, 23-1~4, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Location: 35°39’55.04″ N 139°44’46.09″ E

Station: Toranomon Sta. on the Metro Ginza Line

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Yep.

Last updated 8/7/2020

Page may take some time to load due to photos.

Be sure to see Part 2 of this guide.

Toranomon means ‘Tiger Gate‘ – in medevil times the area was the southernmost security point for the Imperial Palace.

Area Layout

Facing North – Toranomon Hills is the tall dark bldg. at the top, the main road (Rt. 405) runs north/south, and Shiodome area is at the bottom. APA Hotel Toranomon is in the center right of the frame, and First Cabin Atagoyama is on the center left. Tamiya Playmodel Factory is in the center, and Tokyo Tower is to the upper left, just out of frame. Further to the north is the Akasaka area and the central gov’t. Shimbashi Station if off to the lower right out of frame.

The Toranomon Incident

From Wikipedia:

“The Toranomon Incident (虎ノ門事件 Toranomon Jiken?) was an assassination attempt on the Prince Regent Hirohito of Japan on 27 December 1923 by communist agitator Daisuke Namba”.

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills is the tallest building in Tokyo. That title is expected to be surpassed in 2022 when a new, taller complex in Toranomon is built. The complex is spectacular + includes an office tower, shops, and lots of restaurants. Behind the tower is a medical facility + an open space green park.

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Toranomon Hills, facing west. The tip of Tokyo Tower is just visible in the distance.

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There is a nice pastry shop on this side of the complex. At Halloween, the Japanese don’t play games.

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Entrance to Toranomon Hills.

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The park behind Toranomon Hills.

Looking east from Toranomon. Toranomon Hills is on the left.

Tamiya Playmodel Factory

Tamiya Playmodel Factory (pronounced ‘Tom-eee-ya‘, not ‘Ta-my-ya‘ is a nice small shop by Japanese plastic model maker Tamiya. There are lots of high quality models + supplies here, and some built dioramas of WW2 military scenes using the models. It’s right on the corner of the main street running north-south through Toranomon – Rt. 405.

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Tamiya Playmodel Factory in Toranomon @ 35°39’52.90″ N 139°45’17.96″ E. Usually open until around 9PM (21:00 in Japanese lingo).

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Racks of historical Tamiya military models.

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Slight Diversion – North/South: Akasaka + Shimbashi

If you head just south on 405 from Toranomon you will come into Shimbashi and just beyond that, Shiodome. Toranomon is within walking distance of both.

If you go the other direction – north – and make a few winding turns to the northwest you will come to one of Tokyo’s premiere areas – Akasaka. Akasaka is the area just to the west of Japan’s central government. In fact, you can see the Prime Minister’s office from there. The nearest Metro subway station to Akasaka is Akasaka-Mitsuke Sta. on the Ginza or Marunouchi Lines. There are several station exits – on Rt. 405 itself across from Bic Camera, one in the basement of Bic Camera in the .BelleVie shopping complex, and one just behind the government buildings. It’s a bit of a hike to Akasaka from Toranomon, but doable. There is also a newer Toranomon Hills Station (H06) as well – on the Hibiya Line. You can also change lines @ Toranomon Hills Sta. for the Ginza Line to Ginza, Ueno, and many other stops.

There is another station called Tameike-Sanno on the street behind the main street where the Akasaka-Mitsuke Station is. Either one works fine – if you get off at Tamieke-Sanno Station you’ll just have to walk a couple more blocks. Tameike-sanno Station is so-named because it also has an exit in the basement of the huge Sanno Park Tower – on whose top floor NTT DoCoMo has their headquarters. In the Sanno Park Tower basement there are also all kinds of restaurants, shops, and cafés. Sanno Park Tower is located on the corner of 405 and the side street where Tameike-Sanno Station is located.

As a footnote just across from Tameike-Sanno Station are two excellent hotels: APA Pride and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. APA Pride is incredibly grand + it’s reasonable – off season around $70/night. But beware since it’s just behind the gov’t buildings, the gov’t will often take over the entire hotel for visiting international groups and cancel all guest reservations with only short notice. Still, it is an excellent place to stay. The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is right next to APA Pride but it is orders of magnitude more upscale. It will cost you around $400/night but it’s incredibly deluxe. Both hotels make access to the main part of Akasaka easy.

Akasaka-Mitsuke Sta. on Rt. 405 in Akasaka.

Tameike-Sanno Station shown on Google Earth. The Ginza Line here can shoot you to the east side of Tokyo in minutes. The huge building in the distance is Akasaka Intercity Air. Just out of frame to the right across the street are APA Pride and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. You can shoot down to Toranomon Station just one stop to the south from here on the Ginza Line. This photo faces south. The corner of the Prime Minister’s office bldg. is visible just under the street light.

The Akasaka view from the far end of the street shown in the previous photo looks like this – facing back north. Sanno Park Tower is just on the corner on the left. The small round circular area is an elevator entrance to subterranean shops + another station exit. The small brown bldg. just up the side street in the center is APA Pride hotel and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu just to the left of it. There is another station entrance across the street to the left out of frame in this photo. Bic Camera is out of frame up the main street to the left, also out of frame. A really interesting area in Akasaka is a small street behind the Bic Camera – it’s full of all sorts of restaurants, shops, and hotels. If you are on bike, you can ride all the way south from here, into Toranomon, and further south into Shimbashi/Shiodome.

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Prime Minister’s Office. APA Pride hotel + The Capitol Hotel Tokyu are just up the side street to the left.

Looking back south from Akasaka. Toranomon Hills is the tall tower in the distance.

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A spectaular sunset in fall cruising down Rt. 405 south on bike from Akasaka heading towards Toranomon. To the west (ahead) is Tokyo Tower just out of frame to the right. Japan is far enough north that in late fall the sun goes down around 3:30 PM.

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Inside the very swank Capitol Hotel Tokyu. A top 5-star hotel, but it will cost you. Oddly, there is even an upscale 7-11 in this hotel’s basement.

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Lobby.

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Tameike-Sanno Station entrance to the Maruonuchi Line in Capitol Hotel Tokyu‘s basement. The 7-11 is just to the right out of frame. This hotel is so deluxe even the subway entrance looks like a king’s palace.

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Bic Camera Akasaka. Just to the right in the .BelleVie complex is the Tokyo Metro subway entrance for the Ginza and Maruonuchi Lines:

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Just pop in + hang a right down the stairs to the basement – Metro signs are overhead on the right where the small colored circles are for each line. If instead you go straight ahead you’ll pop out on a charming little backstreet lined with all kinds of restaurants, shops, cafés, pastry shops, wine bars, noodle shops, izakaya, chocolatiers – you name it. Further down the street to the left is Akasaka SACAS + Tokyo Broadcasting System‘s HQ. The entrance to this street is roughly at 35°40’37.47″ N 139°44’11.90″ E.

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The charming little side street behind (west) of Bic Camera. Also shown below:

A spectacular day in Akasaka – the Akasaka SACAS/TBS complex is straight ahead. Toranomon is to the left (south).

Akasaka overall map – Sanno Park Tower, center, APA Pride Hotel/Prime Minister’s Office on the right, center, Bic Camera just out of view at the upper left corner. As a fun footnote the elevators up to the top-floor NTT DoCoMo HQ have to be seen to be believed – mostly glass, they shoot you up through the tower at incredible speed as the ground + building appear to drop out from under you. You can’t go in the offices, but you can go in their lobby + look around. Toranomon is to the right down the main street (southeast).

Sky view map: Tokyo Tower (left), Shinjuku center (far in the distance), Atago Green Hills Mori Tower, center right (see part 2), and Toranomon Hills tower, far right. This photo is facing northwest. Central Tokyo + the Imperial Palace are just a few more miles to the right (east), out of frame.

But now, back to Toranomon.

Looking south on Rt. 405 in Toranomon towards Shimbashi. Shiodome is the tall bldg. in the distance.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower is visible from Toranomon, and is well within walking distance just to the northwest.

UCC Coffee Academy Tokyo

Just down the street to the southwest is UCC Coffee Academy Tokyo where you can take coffee classes (in Japanese only, however). Also right next door is giant Family Mart conbini where you can grab a quick cheap breakfast.

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“In April 2007, UCC opened its UCC Coffee Academy, Japan’s only comprehensive educational institution specializing in coffee. The academy, which enables its students to learn about all aspects of coffee systematically and at their own level, is the repository of the coffee-related information, expertise, knowledge and skills accumulated over the years since UCC was first founded. It offers a variety of programs catering to all sorts of students, from those who simply have an interest in coffee to those who want to open their own coffee shops”.

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Also on this street is the HQ for Iwatani Corporation – makers of small tabletop gas stoves + other appliances.

Oki Printers HQ

Just to the west a few blocks is the world headquarters of Japanese printer maker Oki. Oki makes office printers, but in the 1980’s they were famous for a full-color ribbon-ink printer for Atari and Commodore personal computers called the Okimate 10 (which you can still find today on eBay in working condition).

Okimate 10 color printer from the 1980’s

Okimate 10 color print.

Atari 400 (1979) | Oldcomputr.com

Early Atari 400 Personal Computer circa 1980’s.

First Cabin Atagoyama

If you’re looking for a capsule hotel in Toranomon, look no further than First Cabin Atagoyama – a top-notch capsule hotel just to the southwest of Toranomon Hills. Prices in off-season run around $45-$55 and it’s quite nice. The hotel is located just to the west of the Tamiya Playmodel Factory a few blocks – on a side street.

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First Cabin Atagoyama. Oddly there is no lobby on the ground floor – go to the 5th floor instead.

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Inside First Cabin

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Just a block to the east of the First Cabin is this little Vietnamese noodle shop.

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It’s easy to eat breakfast cheap in Tokyo – in this case a tomagoyaki (fried egg) + a small BOSS Coffee from a conbini. Total: just over $2 USD.

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Don’t be afraid to explore the local side streets on foot.

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There is also a very nice Japan Post Office in the area.

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Well, that’s it for Part 1. Be sure to see Part 2 of this guide.

LINKS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toranomon

Toranomon Station

Toranomon Hills Station

Toranomon Hills – Wikipedia

Toranomon Hills Mori Tower

Okura Museum of Art

Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

Aman Tokyo – Luxury Urban Hotel (A mere $1,000-$2,000 USD per night)

5 Things to Do in Toranomon

Oki Data C531dn Digital Color Printer

Tamiya 1/35 Military Miniature Series

BOSS Coffee

Capitol Hotel Tokyu Akasaka

https://whenin.tokyo/The-Tavern-Grill-Lounge-Toranomon-Hills

VIDS

Tokyo’s Toranomon Neighborhood View | General MacArthur Road