Take the JR Chuo Line or the Metro Namboku, or Yurakucho Line to Ichigaya Station. Interestingly, the JR platform sits right on the bank of the river.
Ichigaya is a small, non-descript town on the east side of Tokyo. Its name means Market Valley. It’s a less-well maintained area and is seen by some in Tokyo as a lower-class area. But it’s worth a look around on a nice day – and it’s close to central Tokyo.
Ichigaya is at the very west end of Yasukuni-Dori. Just to the northeast is the controversial, but very interesting Yasukuni Shrine.
Perhaps the most well-known attraction in Ichigaya is the Ichigaya Fish Center – where many Tokyoites spend weekends or holidays fishing in the center’s small ponds. It’s a popular spot for families with small children.
There is also a popular bridge in Ichigaya which has some nice cherry blossom-viewing areas in the spring.
Just at the south end of Ichigaya jammed in next to the river is Sotobori Park – a small park with a sitting area, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, and a commercial fitness gym at the south end.
Ichigaya is also home to Chuo University + Hosei University, the later of which was recently remodeled – and which is more popular with international students.
While in the area you can also drop in at Iidabashi just to the north and check it out – which is also worth a look. Also just to the south down the main street is Yotsuya – which is well worth a quick walk. Yotsuya is home to Sophia University, and is just north of the interesting Akasaka. You can also jump off from Yotsuya to the west to Shinjuku fairly easily, although it is approx. 8 miles away. You can take the subway from Yotsuya Station on the corner to Shinjuku easily.
The central intersection in Yotsuya is Rt. 405 (Sotobori Dori) and Rt. 20 (Shinjuku Dori). The station is just on the northeast corner. To the east down Rt. 20 is the main center area where Sophia Univerity is. If you take 20 farther east it will lead you directly into Hanzoman and the Imperial Palace. To the south at the 415-405 split is Akasaka Palace which gives free tours when available. If you take 405 further southeast from there, you will arrive in Akasaka/Nagatcho where the central gov’t is located. Akasaka is a lively area and well worth a look on its own. 405 south past the split into Akasaka is a long gradual slope which cruises past the New Otani Hotel to the east. This slope makes for an interesting bike ride. The hotel has a renowned garden and a sky restaurant on top. If you head west on 20 several miles, you will eventually come to the central area of Shinjuku, which is one of the busiest parts of Tokyo. The walk from Yotsuya to Shinjuku is around 2.5 miles.
There are plenty of restaurants + cafés in Yotsuya as well – most notably St. Marc’s Café on the southwest corner of the intersection.
The central intersection facing east on Rt. 20. Sophia University is straight ahead. Rt. 405 south to Akasaka is to the right.
Yotsuya layout. The central intersection is center left, with Akasaka Palace just below it. Akasaka itself is in the lower-right corner with Rt. 405 running east-west then heading north. The New Otani Hotel is on the right in the green area at the 405 bend. Out of frame to the right (east) is the Imperial Palace. At the very north end of Yotsuya is the Japan Ministry of Defense.
At Sophia University facing back west towards the main intersection.The station is just out of frame to the right.
After heading west on Rt. 20 for several miles, you’ll be in Yotsuya-Sanchome. Make this crossing and continue west (left) to get to Shinjuku.Directly behind the camera is a MOS Burger.
Shinmichi Dori Street
Just west of Yotsuya Station across the street is the entrance to a narrow side street called Shinmichi Dori Street. This street is lined with hundreds of small but upscale restaurants and noodle shops. Well worth a walk.
Just 1/2 mile or so down Rt. 405 to the south is the Akasaka Palace – part of the imperial properties. When not in use, the gov’t normally provides free tours of the palace which is well worth a visit. To get there, just walk down Rt. 405 south on the right hand side of the street, then at the Rt. 415 split head right, then left at the next street for the entrance.
There are plenty of co-working spaces to chose from in Yotsuya – the most notable being Moboff (yes, places have names like that in Japan). There is also offices.co in the Tokyu Yotsuya Building and a WeWork . Like Book•Off and other “Off” type places, in Japan the word “Off” is short for “Offload”. So Book•Off means “Offload your books” and Moboff means “Offload your mob” – or in this case, your workforce. No, just kidding – Moboff more likely is a contraction for “Mobile Office” (Japanese love contractions of words – it’s one of the ways they save typing + shorten information).
Well that’s it. While Yotsuya isn’t a large area with lots to do, it’s still interesting + is centrally located to enough stuff that is. You can visit it as a short side trip to Akasuka, or on your way east from Shinjuku. The walk around Sophia University campus is nice too. If you’re in the area, check it out.