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