Just to the southeast of Kensei Memorial Park and the Japan central gov’t HQ are a cluster of gov’t buildings including the HQ for the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is also a Metro station at Kasumigaseki.
Because it’s a large gov’t area, there’s not a lot to do, but it’s still worth a look. The walk around the area and up north towards Nagatcho can be spectacular at sunset. The Imperial Palace, jogging path, and moat are also just to the east.
Just to the north of Kasumigaseki, out in front of the Diet bldg. around 35°40’33.84″ N 139°44’53.60″ E is Kensei Memorial Park – a very nice green park with a small museum at the north end. If you’re in the area, you’ll want to stop by.
Of particular note around 35°40’17.43″ N 139°44’52.85″ E is the Kasumigaseki Building– Japan’s first real skycraper built in 1968. There’s a large concrete park + fountain behind the building. A film, Chōkōsō no Akebono, was made about its construction.
Even though it’s a gov’t area, there’s a fair amount to see just by walking around, and at the right time of day, it can be a visually epic area to see. You can enjoy crossing the area on the way between one of the areas mentioned above, or walk around the Diet/park area for some exercise. If you have extra time, be sure to check out the Akasaka area as well. Hibiya Park to the easy is a must-see.
Just north of the ImperialPalace in central Tokyo is the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (not to be confused with the Museum of Contermporary Art, Tokyo further to the east). This excellent and modern museum lies just west of the Parkside Bldg., just north of the moat north of the Imperial Palace, and also just west of Hibiya. Just beyond Hibiya to the east lies central Tokyo and the Marunouchi district.
Further to the west around the moat to the south lies the fabulous Akasaka.
Just northwest of the museum is Kitanomaru (North Circle) Park – so named because it is on the circular route that rings the Imperial Palace. The park has other stuff to do – such as a large science museum, walking paths, and Nippon Budokan (built for the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics). Budokan is now used for various sporting events and concerts.
To get to the museum, take the Metro Tozai Line and exit Takebashi Station to the street. At street level, head west down the sidewalk, pass the Parkside Bldg. on your right, and the museum will be up a block on your right – across from the Imperial Palace. Note that for Takebashi Station there is no above-ground station – the entire thing is under street-level.
Takebashi Station exit, right, Parkside Bldg., left. One block left of that is the museum.
Takebashi Station exit, far right, Parkside Bldg., upper center. One block left of that is the museum.South of the museum is the Imperial Palace.You can also walk all the way around the palace by walking the sidewalk along the moat.The science museum is in the upper left corner of the frame.To the very upper right of the frame is Otemachi.Way off to the right out of frame is Hibiya.
There’s lots to do here, although the museum isn’t terribly large. The building itself is impressive, as is its collection of art. Most of the art is from Japan but it’s impressive nonetheless and worth a look. If you have time, stop in and look around.
Jimbocho is a small town in north central Tokyo about 1/2 a mile to the north of the Imperial Palace and the Otemachi area. It’s known as Tokyo’s book town. But it also has a wide variety of sports + music shops – especially for skiing and snowboarding. You can spend a whole day strolling east-west on Yasukuni-Dori Ave (Rt. 403). checking out the shops. There are endless bookstores in the area with every kind of book imaginable.
Central Jimbocho facing north. Yasukuni-Dori runs east-west in sort of an inverted arc shown here running throught the center of town. This street is lined with endless sports/book/music shops, cafés, and restaurants. To the north is Ochanomizu, to the east (right) is Akihabara and Kanda, and to the south is Otemachi and the Imperial Palace.Tokyo Dome City is to the northwest, out of frame.
Extended view facing north. Jimbocho is in the center, Akihabara on the right, TDC at the upper-left, and Imperial Palace to the south, just out of view.
The central + west side of Jimbocho is better described in our Kanda Superguide. We’ll detail just the basic area here. Essentially Yasukuni-Dori (Rt. 403) runs east-west in an arc through the center of town.
There are endless backstreets + streets full of book stores. Most of the major sporting + music shops are along Yasukuni-Dori. There are dozens of interesting guitar shops along the way.
The Hidden Pedestrian Side Street
At around 35°41’43.31″ N 139°45’39.23″ E – just across from a Xerbio Sportsstore and right next to an ABC-Mart shoe store is the entrance to a charming little side street off-limits to vehicle traffic. There are dozens of nice restaurants + cafés and other shops up + down this street. If you walk this street a few blocks to the west and then turn right on Rt. 301 (Hakusan-Dori) it will take you right into TDC. Turning left on the main street next to ABC instead of taking the side street will lead you to glitch Coffee (discussed next). If you continue walking far enough south past glitch Coffee it will take you to the Imperial Palace and Otemachi.
At around 35°41’37.52″ N 139°45’40.50″ E just to the south of Yasukuni Dori is glitch Coffee. The shop is excellent, but’s in a run-down non-descript old office bldg. with only a sign in the window. Don’t let the appearance fool you – it’s worth a trip. See our full review.
At around 35°41’32.82″ N 139°45’48.60″ E just to the south a few blocks off Yasukuni-Dori and several blocks east of glitch is the Yonemoto Coffee Shop – it’s on a corner and a very nice place to rest + get a brew. It’s popular with early-morning local workers. There is a larger main shop by the same company east of Ginza near Tsukiji.
Yonemoto Coffee Shop – just a few blocks east of glitch.
If you walk a mile or so west on Yasukuni-Dori, then turn north (left) onto Rt. 405 (Sotobori-Dori), you’ll come to the sister city of Ochanomizu where there is a spectacular complex called WATERRAS around 35°41’50.39″ N 139°46’03.98″ E. There is also a very nice organic Olympic grocery in the basement of WATERRAS. If you’re up for a bit of a walk, WATERRAS is worth the quick tirp.
Just to the west of WATERRAS 2 blocks is a Greek Orthodox church with spectacular Russian architecture called Holy Ressurection Cathedral.
North to Ueno, east to Akihabara.
If you head north of WATERRAS and cross the Kanda River, then head onto Rt. 452north for about 1 mile you will come to the famous Tokyo district of Ueno.
You can also cross the Kanda River, then head east a few blocks, then north a few blocks again to Akihabara which is only a few miles to the northeast.
Facing west on Yasukuni-Dori.Note the sidewalk Metro portal on the right.
Head north off Yasukuni-Dori here for WATERRAS.
Jimbocho is a nice little town worth a stroll. It’s usually low-tourist, and low-crowd, which makes it easy. It’s well worth a quick trip or day trip from any of the other local major areas such as Otemachi, Akihabara, or TDC. Check it out.