As a side note, you can even buy some pretty cool Hanzomon Line merch online now.
Free Wifi: Yes
Location: 35°41’05.75″ N 139°44’39.04″ E
Worth it? Yep.
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑
Just west of the Imperial Palace and just north of the natonal Diet Building in Tokyo is the small district of Hanzomon. The area is rich in history and dates back to the 1600’s. It’s named after a Edo-period samurai Hattori Hanzō, who was a guard and retainer for Tokugawa Iyesu, who later became a Shogun. Hattori died just before 1600.
Hanzomon was orginally a sentry outpost on the west side of the Imperial Palace grounds. The area is bounded on the west side by a large moat which runs north-south around the palace. Around 35°41’05.75″ N 139°44’39.04″ E is an ancient sentry post building called Hanzomon Gate.
The area is accessible in several ways: you can walk around the sidewalk on the north side of the palace + wind around down to the south (along Rt. 401), you can take the Tokyo Metro subway on the Hanzomon Line to Hanzomon Station/Z05, or you can walk to to from the south in the Nagatcho/Akasaka area where the Diet Building is located.
You can also ride the road that rings the palace on a bike – if you’re feeling adventurous. The ride downhill from the northwest of the palace all the way down into Nagatcho is a spectacular ride, especially at dawn.
The moat is open to the public for small non-powered boats in the spring – and the area is a popular recreation area for joggers + walkers.
See our other post on Nagatcho/Akasaka for more info.
We also have a page featuring posts on nearly every stop on the Hanzomon Line.
Hanzomon Gate circa late 1800’s.
Today a sidewalk runs almost exactly where these people are standing.
The station is off to the west and directly north of the Diet Building to the south. It’s an easy walk from one area to another. The moat rings the palace grounds t the east across Rt. 401. To the southeast is Hibiya and Hibiya Park as well as Kasumigaseki (which has its own station).
Just 3 blocks south of the station is the very nice Hanzomon Museum – a must-see. The museum contains many ancient and interesting displays + artifacts.
National Theater + Supreme Court of Japan
Just southwest of Hanzomon Gate is the National Theater of Japan – also worth a look. The Supreme Court of Japan is also in the same complex.
Also just to the south is the Liberal Democratic Party HQ – home of the current ruling party of Japan.
Jammed in a narrow strip to the north between the moat + Rt. 401 is Chidorigafuchi Park (try saying that 3 times quickly) – which a sidewalk runs through. The area is popular with joggers.
To the west less than a mile is the north end of the Akasaka area – a hip + trendy area popular with young people. The area also contains the very upscale New Otani Hotel. Just to the west of that is the Imperial State House guest house – which offers free tours when foreign dignitaries aren’t occupying it.
However, the real interesting part of Akasaka is just to the south down Rt. 405.
Akasaka at dusk facing northwest.
One last word: be aware that because of its proximity to the Imperial Palace + Diet Building, the area is crawling with security. Behave yourself and don’t do anything which might even slightly be construed as threatening while in the area. The guards don’t take kindly to problems or disturbances. In general if you mind your business, you’ll be fine.
Hanzomon is an interesting historical area, as well as a nice place to stroll around or ride a bike, weather permitting. If you have time and are on the Hanzomon Line, stop in and check it out.
Hanzomon Line station map 5 stops east of Hanzomon.
To the south in Akasaka.
25 Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 102-0082
NEST HOTEL TOKYO HANZOMON (around 35°41’00.38″ N 139°44’31.38″ E)
APA Hotel Hanzomon (around
Free Wifi: Yes
Location: 35°40’48.56″ N 139°48’24.94″ E
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑
Worth it? A must-see.
Photos may take a while to load.
To get to the museum, take the Metro Hanzomon Line, get off at Sumiyoshi Station and exit to the street. Head west down side streets until you hit a river. Cross one of the river’s bridges west, and then head south on Mitsume Dori (Boulevard) about 1/2 a mile. The museum will be on your left. It’s a about a mile walk total from the station to the museum.
If you’re visiting or staying at Tokyo Sky Tree to the north, you can also easily walk south to the museum within a few miles.
Also, just across the street to the east of the station is Sarue-Onshi Park, which is also worth a stop if you have extra time.
There’s loads to do at the museum and its exhibits are excellent. You can easily spend several hours there.
West-side entrance to the museum.
Just south of the museum is the huge and excellent Kiba Park which is worth a stroll too if you have time.
This sign shows a map and the way as soon as you exit the station.
Free Wifi: Yes
Location: 35°41’45.95″ N 139°45’41.43″ E
Worth it? For a nice stroll, books, music, or sports.
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑
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.
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 Sports store 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.
This street is shown in the 1st video below by NIPPON WANDERING TV.
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.
Yonemoto Coffee Shop
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.
WATERRAS + Ochanomizu
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.
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.
Location: 35°41’02.66″ N 139°47’04.25″ E
Station: Suitengumae, Metro Hanzomon Line
Worth it? For a quick look.
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.
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).
Just outside the Yaesu (east) side of Tokyo Station. Head north here to reach Eitai Dori, then head east (right).
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.
Cutting east down side streets in Tokyo on the way to Suitengumae.
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.
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.
One of many surface street entrances to the Hanzomon Line in Otemachi.
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.
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!
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.
Inside Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT).
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.
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.
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.
Head left (north) past Ozo Bagel.
Look for First Cabin down a side street to the right.
Inside First Cabin standard room. There is also a small lock box on the left for your belongings.
Lobby lounge inside First Cabin Suitengumae.
Restroom inside First Cabin Suitengumae.
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.
Hanzomon Line entrance in Tokyo Station. The line map is overhead with each station. Red indicates the current station.
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.
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.
Inside the lower level of Suitengumae Station. Note the bank of coin lockers on the right.
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.
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) ).
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.
More levels inside Hanzomon Hell.