As a side note, you can even buy some pretty cool Hanzomon Line merch online now.
Free Wifi: Yes
Location: 35°41’44.37″ N 139°45’05.56″ E
Worth it? If you’re in the area.
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑
Oddly, the name Kudanshita means 9 Levels Hill.
There’s not a huge amount to do in the area.
The most important sights nearby are the controversial Yasukuni Shrine to the west, and the Imperial Palace grounds to the south.
There is also a large science museum called simply The Science Museum.
If you’re in the area, stop in and have a walk around.
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.