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.
The area was originally called Iidamachi (literally ‘Iida’s Town‘), named after a local samurai in the late 1500’s – Iida Kihei. Later a bridge (bashi) was built in the area. The town informally came to be known as Iidabashi (‘Iida’s Bridge’) during the Meiji Restoration of the mid 1800’s. But the town wasn’t officially renamed to Iidabashi unti 1966 when the first post office was opened there.
Central Iidabashi – the main intersection with its huge elevated walkways is in the middle. The station is in the center left below the walkways. The Ramla complex is in the tall bldg. on the left. Mejiro Dori is the street running to the south towards the Imperial Palace. If you head east (right in this photo) at the small 2-story white bldg. in the center, you will come to Tokyo Dome. Shinjuku is to the west (left).
IIdabashi is a rather small town by Japanese standards but is just central enough to be important for easy access to different parts of the city. The town is mostly organized around one central intersection on Rt. 8 (Mejiro Dori), and includes 4 major streets – 2 running north, one running east-west, and one running south (Mejiro Dori).
The central area around the major intersection has everything you want to see as well as IIdabashi Station on the southwest corner. The station is the small tan bldg. on the right shown in the photo at the top of this page.
Just to the right of the station is a Becker’s (Bekazu’s to locals) which has all kinds of food and great burgers. Just to the right (west) of that around the corner is a shopping complex called Ramla.
Ramla complex, left. The station is just around the corner to the left. If you head up this street (west) for about 1/4 mile, then turn right, you’ll come to Kagurazaka. There is also a Metro subway entrance for Iidabashi Station there. A few blocks down on the left is the Canal Café.
A reverse view of the station – looking back north. The station and Ramla are on the left.
There is a massive long walkway system with stairs on each corner of the intersection. You’ll have to climb the stairs and then walk along the walkway to get to the other side.
The massive pedestrian elevated walkway.
Get ready to climb some stairs.
On the walkway, facing east. Tokyo Dome Hotel is just barely visible in the upper left side of the photo.
Facing west on the walkway.
If you cross to the northwest corner of the walkway, then down to the street, you’ll be on a street running northwest (the next street to the north of the street Ramala is on), you’ll find some good restaurants and shops. There’s a nice Tully’s Coffee right on the corner, ramen and soba noodle shops, pizza, and a nice Italian place across the street called Spiga. A few more blocks up the street on the left is a Doutour café which has some good cheap food like lettuce hot dogs for a few bucks. There is also a Denny’s in the area.
Facing west. Station is to the southwest.
Plenty of local places to eat.
There is the aforementioned Tokyo Dome Hotel to the east in the area, a nice FLEXStay Inn to the northwest a bit (up Shin-Mejiro Dori), and a nice APA Hotel to the south on Mejiro Dori. All are worth it. Tokyo Dome Hotel tends to run roughly around $100/night, the other two around $65-80, depending on season + demand. There are various other hotels in the area.
Walk to Imperial Palace + Marunouchi
Once you’ve had your fun in Iidabashi, you can stroll for a few miles south on Mejiro Dori and after crossing Rt. 302, it will turn into Sotobori Dori. Continue south here for about 1/2 mile until you hit Hakusan Dori and then turn right, then 1 block and turn left. Continue south a bit more, and you’ll come to the Imperial Palace (south on Rt. 301).
Head south on Sotobori Dori for 1 block, turn right onto Hakusan Dori shown here, cross over the river, then make the next left for the Imperial Palace.
Kagurazaka has a small-town charm all its own. The main attractions are a wide variety of small food, restaurant, wine and shop establishments. The main station exit is off on a little side street. When you pop up out of the station turn right to get to Waseda Dori. Then turn left + head down the hill to walk the main street. You can also turn left from the station, then right again at the next right + walk all the way to Shinjuku. If you turn right for Waseda Dori + head down the hill, at the next major interesection there is a corner entrance to Iidabashi Station.
Kagurazaka is known for its large number of Kaiseki restaurants. Kaiseki is a refined form of dining considered a delicacy in Japan.
If you’re into wine, there are a lot of wine shops on Waseda Dori. Check out the World Wine Bar. They also serve lunch for around $10. Also don’t be afraid to check out the side streets and alleys which have a huge number of nice hidden shops as well.
Kagurazaka Metro Station is the orange bldg. on the left. Turn right at the end of the street to walk to Shinjuku.You can also visit the shrine at the end of the street shown above.
When you pop up out of Kagurazaka Metro Station, across the street you’ll see this French wine shop. It turns out Kagurazaka has a lot of French expats living in it. Turn left here to head to the main street:
Looking right from the station. Turn left at this light for Waseda Dori.Head down the hill.There’s a nice Family Mart on the corner if you want some food.
Waseda Dori facing east. Shinjuku is in the distance. This street is lined with all sorts of charming shops, restaurants, cafés, and bars. At night especially it’s interesting.
Waseda Dori facing east. The Iidabashi Metro Station is on the lefthand corner across the street.If you head straight ahead, eventually you’ll end up in Shinjuku.
If you need a good laundromat (as they say in the US), there’s the Sakura Coin Laundry just north of the station shown in Rambalac’s video below.
That’s about it. While Kagurazaka isn’t a big town, there’s lots to see + do on its main street – so plan on a few hours at least if you want to visit some shops, or stop in at cafés + restaurants. All-in-all it’s well worth the trip. Also see our post on Nakano 3 stops to the west.
Another view down Waseda Dori
Organic vegetable grocery. Note the tiny café to the left. This is what makes Kagurazaka so awesome – lots of quaint little shops.