Strolling Around Aoyama

Name: Aoyama

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°39’52.80″ N 139°42’42.41″ E

Stations: Aoyama-itchōme Station Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Omote-sando Station/G02/C04/Z02, Chiyoda Line, Nogizaka Station, Gaiemmae Station

Worth it? If you have time.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑

Updated 8/30/2021

©2021 tenmintokyo.com

Aoyama (Blue Mountain in Japanese) is located just southeast of Omotesando/Harajuku in western Tokyo. The area is mostly shopping, but it’s worth a look and provides a nice stroll. The town is named after the late samurai Aoyama Tadanari, who was a daimyo in the area during Tokugawa Shogunate rule.

Aoyama is also home to many large and mid-size Japanese companies including Sony Financial, Oracle Japan, Recording Industry Association of Japan, Avex Inc., and Nikka Whisky Distilling.

Access

There are 3 main stations on the Tokyo Metro subway to get to it: Aoyama-itchōme Station way to the north, Gaiemmae Station sort of in the center, and Omote-sando Station at the very southwest end in Omotesando. You’ll have to decide which one to pick, but if you’re in Omotesando or Harajuku anyway, we recommend the later.

You can also get to it on the Metro Hanzomon Line, on which it is the 3rd stop.

Aoyama-dori

A main street named Aoyama-dori runs south-northeast through the town. You can start anywhere on the street, but if you head east, then south from Omote-sando Station, you can start at the Ao Building:

Ao Building

At the very south end of Aoyama-dori is a large building + complex called Ao Building. It contains a Kinokuniya bookstore, 2 outstanding restaurants (steakhouse ECM, and Two Rooms grill), and various other places of interest. If you’re up for a fine dining experience and willing to spend a lot of bucks, Two Rooms is an absolute must-see.

There is also a large farmer’s market just a block south on the same side of the street.

A stone’s throw to the east is Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College.

Just a block or so to the south of the market on the other (east) side of the street around 35°39’37.43″ N 139°42’26.78″ E is a popular little yogurt place called Tea and Spoon Nanaya Aoyama. If you’re up for a walk a few blocks to the south, check it out. It’s on a backstreet.

Nezu Museum

If you’re up for a walk 1/2 a mile to the east, around 35°39’45.14″ N 139°43’01.28″ E is the Nezu Museum.

After you’ve checked out Ao Building, head north on Aoyama-dori for a nice stroll. You can head all the way north on it past the Imperial State House Gardens, and then into Akasaka.

Beer Brain + Stockholm Roast

Around 35°40’03.31″ N 139°42’52.00″ E as you stroll north is a tiny little project on a trailer built by a few entrepreneurs called Beer Brain. It’s a small popular beer hangout – but it’s tiny – just a plywood shack. There is outside seating.

Also in the area on the same side of the street is a great little outdoor walk-up café called Stockholm Roast (which has seating on the roof). Both are excellent.

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Beer Brain

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Stockholm Roast.

As you continue north there are 2 more places of interest: Miyota, a popular restaurant, and Modern Works, a new furniture store:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

There is also an Olympic bike shop nearby, which incredibly, sells a Hummer mountain bike made by General Motors.

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As you continue north, you’ll come to a fork in the road. You can either take the left side and end up at the new 2020 Olympics complex, or you can take the right side and end up in Akasaka, which is also well-worth seeing. If you’re hungry after all that walking, there is a nice big 2-story Doutour café right at the split. If you take the right side far enough, eventually you’ll end up in Shinjuku.

Take the left side for the Olympic venue, or the right side for Akasaka. The Doutour is just on the left in the center and has some good cheap meals under $5.

Ayoyama Cemetary

Right around the split, if you take the right side, off to the south is the vast Ayoyama Cemetary, which is nearly 1/2 a mile wide. Buried here, among others is Ōkubo Toshimichi, a Japanese statesman from the 1800’s who was a major figure in the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Toshimichi was instrumental in ending the Tokugawa Shogunate and the feudal system in Japan. The small town of Okubo, now a Korean enclave, a few miles to the north was named after him.

Conclusion

While there may not be a ton to do in Aoyama, it’s still worth a look. You can stroll Aoyama-dori for hours, get some exercise, and still have fun. You can always check out Omotesando back to the west if you like.

Enjoy!

LINKS

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Omote-sando Station at the border between Omotesando + Aoyama.

Aoyama, Tokyo – Wikipedia

Aoyama-itchōme Station – Wikipedia

Omote-sando Station/G02/C04/Z02

Aoyama Area Guide | Tokyo Cheapo

Nogizaka Station – Wikipedia

Gaiemmae Station – Wikipedia

Omotesando/Harajuku Superguide

Ao Building

Ao: Omotesando – Where In Tokyo listing

ECN | Hospitality

Two Rooms Grill | Bar

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

Kinokuniya Aoyama in the AO Building – Tokyo Fashion

Beer Brain

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

Hanzomon Line Posts

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

Colors in Japanese

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New Hibiya

Name: New Hibiya

Kind: Subterranean Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°40’22.94″ N 139°45’37.03″ E

Station: Yurakucho Station, JR Yamanote Line, Yurakucho Station/ | Tokyo Metro Line, Ginza Station – Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Station, Hibiya Line

Worth it? A must-see.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 8/18/2021

©2021 tenmintokyo.com

Photos may take a while to load.

New Hibiya is an underground, little-known vast complex of shopping, stores, food, passageways, and other venues underneath Tokyo’s city streets stretching from Hibiya on the west and all the way to Ginza Six on the east. The labyrinth runs for blocks and it’s easy to get lost.

But it’s definitely worth a look.

As part of the train renovations for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the entire underground complex has been totally rebuilt + refurbished. You can easily spend an entire day or more here and not see it all. Best of all, it’s right in the middle of Tokyo.

Many people don’t know all this even exists under the streets.

Be sure to see our other post on Hibiya itself – the above-ground district just southeast of the Imperial Palace.

Access

To get into New Hibiya, you can either enter on the east from any one of the underground portals around or in Tokyo Midtown Hibiya (the centerpiece of which is Hibiya Mitsui Tower), or from any one of the Metro Ginza subway portals around Ginza/Yurakucho. If you use Yurakucho Station, Hibiya will be to your southwest and Ginza to your east.

You can also enter in the basement of Tokyu Plaza Ginza around 35°40’20.19″ N 139°45’44.82″ E.

As the Metro map shows, Ginza Station itself is a vast underground maze of staggering size. There are 3 different Metro lines in the station, and New Hibiya wraps all around the entire station and to Hibiya to the west. Note that there is no one central street-level Ginza Station – the entire thing is underground.

The Hibiya area itself is just east of Hibiya Park, and Ginza is just to the southeast.

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

A Maze of Underground Tunnels

New Hibiya isn’t just one complex – it’s several – all connected by fully modernized tunnels, lights, station platforms, stairs, escalators, and shopping. It’s a dazzling display of light, sound, and things to do. You’ll feel like you’re in a science fiction movie.

Conclusion

Well, that’s it for now. If you’re in the area, pop down into New Hibiya and prepare to be astonished.

Heading down from a street portal into the subway tunnels.

Older pre-modernized subway passages.

Modernized Metro Marunouchi entrance underground.

The basement entrance to Tokyu Plaza.

Modernized Metro Ginza entrance underground.

Ticketing machines.

Get ready to climb stairs – everywhere.

A view at street-level in Hibiya.

Metro portal on the left in Hibiya.

Another Metro portal at street-level.

LINKS

Hibiya – Tokyo’s Elegant Walk

Metro Ginza subway

Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

Tokyo Metro Ginza Line for Shibuya, Ginza and Asakusa

December 30, 2018 – The Ginza Line, the first subway line in Asia, opens in Tokyo, in 1927.

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Odawara

Name: Odawara

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°15’55.15″ N 139°09’07.91″ E

Station: Odawara Station, JR East, JR Central, Tokaido Shinkansen, Odakyu Electric Railway, Hakone Tozan Line.

Worth it? For history, a must-see.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 8/18/2021

©2021 tenmintokyo.com

Odawara is an old historical small Japanese town on the very southwestern outskirts of Tokyo + south of Kanagawa. Actually, it’s way outside Tokyo Prefecture and instead is in Kanagawa. But you can easily reach it from Tokyo. The quickest way is on the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo Station, but it will cost you, and reservations are required. You can also take normal surface trains which will be much cheaper, but which will take up to an hour or more to reach the town.

The town itself is a bit north of Odawara Station – which is a huge complex in its own right and worth a stroll around (around 35°15’20.43″ N 139°09’22.17″ E).

There is a very nice guide from the city @ odawara-guide.com.

There are all sorts of things to do in Odawara and the town is full of history. There are plenty of traditional food places and a few museums – and many other things to see and do.

Odawara sits on Sagami Bay, which has a spectacular beach running 20 miles to the north to Kamakura, although the beach is not continuously walkable for the entire distance.

If you’re willing to hike the long 15 miles to the northeast along the beach, you can also visit Tsujido Seaside Park.

The word Kanagawa means ocean bridge.Odawara Castle History Museum

Tokaido Road

A historical road called Tokaido Road runs through Odawara and it’s a must-see in the town. It was a main road between Kyoto + Tokyo (formerly Edo) in the Edo Period. You can still walk that route and others today if you’re in reasonably good shape. It is quite a long multi-day hike, though. You may want to check out hikejapan.com.

Odawara Castle

Odawara Castle is an ancient Japanese castle from the 1400’s which was destroyed and rebuilt several times, including in the mid-1800s during the Meiji Restoration. The castle is just south of the station and within walking or biking distance for most people.

There’s lot to do in the castle park, including a museum called Odawara Castle History Museum.

There are also lots of cycling paths in the town.

Odawara Dynacity

About 3-4 miles northeast of the station around 35°17’02.50″ N 139°11’12.13″ E is a huge mixed-use complex called Odawara Dynacity. If you have extra time and are done with the castle area and other sights, it’s worth a look. It’s mostly just a moden mall, food places, and some other attractions, but it might be worth the walk if you’re up for it.

Unfortunately their website is Japanese-only.

Conclusion

For a good blast of Japanese history + tradition, Odawara can’t be beat – so if you have a day off and can make it down, be sure to check it out.

Enjoy!

LINKS

小田原市

Odawara Station – Wikipedia

Odawara Station – Visit Odawara Guide

Izuhakone Railway – Wikipedia

Tokaido Shinkansen

How to use the Tokaido Shinkansen

Hakone Tozan Line

Odawara Travel Guide: Things to do in Odawara, Kanagawa – Japan Travel

Visit Odawara Guide – Odawara English Travel Guide

Top 10 things to do in Odawara – Visit Odawara Guide

Old Tokaido Road Guide: Hiking from Tokyo to Kyoto | Japan Cheapo

Edo Five Routes – Wikipedia

Odawara Castle Guide • Just One Cookbook

Odawara Historic Town, the gate way to Hakone | digi-joho TOKYO

https://www.inspirock.com/japan/odawara/odawara-castle-history-museum-ninja-kan-a994270249

Odawara Castle – Halal In Japan

https://www.dynacity.jp/

Tsujidou-Kaihin-Prefectural-Park (Tsujido-Seaside-Park)

hikejapan.com

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

Sagami Bay

Kamakura period

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Imperial Palace + Kitanomaru Park

Name: Imperial Palace + Kitanomaru Park

Kind: Castle + Park

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°41’31.72″ N 139°45’03.45″ E

Station: Kudanshita Station, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, Toei Shinjuku Line

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? A must-see.

Updated 8/11/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Just north of the Imperial Palace is a huge park called Kitanomaru Park.

The park includes a huge pond, gardens, and the Nippon Budokan – which was originally built as a Judo arena for the 1964 Olympics.

The Imperial Moat runs along the west side. If you head northwest or further west and down south a bit, you’ll arrive at the fabulous Akasaka. Just across the street to the south before the Imperial Palace is the Imperial Guard Division HQ. Just east of that is the Japan National Archives. Just across east of that on Uchibori-Dori is the Parkside Building, which is down into Otemachi.

There are also 2 large car parking lots.

Uchibori-Dori, facing west. The entrance to the Imperial Palace is on the left, the Parkside Bldg. on the right. Kitanomaru Park is ahead up the street on the right.

Access

To get to the park, take the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line or Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, and exit Kudanshita Station. You can also take Toei Shinjuku Line. Get off at Kudanshita Station around 35°41’44.45″ N 139°45’05.70″ E. Head west down the street, then south in the next block.

Entrance is free and is easiet on the south side of the street at the Tayasumon Gate near the Imperial Palace from the main street. There’s a small bridge to cross the moat into the park. You’ll be right at Nippon Budokan so head southwest around the walkway and further south into the park.

2 Museums

Inside the park there are 2 great museums: National Museum of Modern Art and the Science Museum. The Science Museum is way out on the southeast side.

There are also a few other small things to do, and shops including an ice cream place and a few small other food shops.

The leaves in the fall are spectacular.

If you’re in central Tokyo, you don’t want to miss it.

Enjoy!

LINKS

Kudanshita Station – Wikipedia

Kudanshita Station/T07/Z06 | Route/Station Info

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

A visit to “Kitanomaru Garden” – This is where you’ll find your new favorite museum! – Visit Chiyoda

Nippon Budokan

National Archives of Japan – Wikipedia

Tokyo Imperial Palace | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

Tokyo Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace: Mega Guide for What to Do and See | Tokyo Cheapo

Imperial Palace Tokyo – a travel guide for visitors

Tayasu-mon Gate, Tokyo

旧江戸城写真ガラス原板  田安門 | Tokyo Museum Collection

Kitanomaru park, Tokyo, Japan [RESULT] – SketchCrawl.com™

Parc Kitanomaru – Le jardin du château d’Edo

Tokyo Travel Tips. Advice, Reviews, How to get Around, Things to See

Breakfast at Yaesu Hatsufuji (again), Ueno Park, and Kitanomaru Park – mmm-yoso!!!

Kitanomaru Square The Terrace – Luxury Apartment for Rent in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

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