Hanzomon

Name: Hanzomon

Kind: Town/City

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°41’05.75″ N 139°44’39.04″ E

Stations: Hanzomon Station/Z05, Hanzomon Line

Worth it? Yep.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 9/10/2021

©2021 tenmintokyo.com

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.

The Hanzomon Line will also take you south to Shibuya and all the way out to Sky Tree on the northeast end.

One YouTuber even made a video of every stop on the Hanzomon Line from a conductor’s POV out the front of a train (see vid below).

hanzomon gate edo period

Hanzomon Gate circa late 1800’s.

Today a sidewalk runs almost exactly where these people are standing.

Access

To get to Hazomon on the Metro, take any station on the Hanzomon Line and exit station Hanzomon Station/Z05 (Hanzomon). You will be slightly west of Hanzomon Gate and just north of the Diet Building.

Area Layout

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).

Hanzomon area: Imperial Palace + gardens to the northeast, Hanzomon to the west (left side of frame), and Diet Building in Nagatcho to the south. Kasumigaseki is in the lower right corner.

Hanzomon Museum

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.

Chidorigafuchi Park

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.

https://www.city.chiyoda.lg.jp/shisetsu/koen/chidorigafuchi-ko.html

Akasaka

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.

You can also get to Akasaka quickly on the Hanzomon Line by going to the previous station – Nagatcho (Z04).

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Akasaka at dusk facing northwest.

Security

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.

Conclusion

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.

Enjoy!

Hanzomon Line station map 5 stops east of Hanzomon.

To the south in Akasaka.

LINKS

Hanzomon Station/Z05

Hanzomon Line

Hanzomon Area Guide | Tokyo Cheapo

Hanzomon

Top 20 Spots to Enjoy a Relaxed Stroll in the Hanzomon Area of Tokyo

Hanzomon Museum

25 Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 102-0082

03-3263-1752

Chidorigafuchi Park | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide

Chidorigafuchi Park Guide

Hotel Grand Arc Hanzomon

Diamond Hotel

NEST HOTEL TOKYO HANZOMON (around 35°41’00.38″ N 139°44’31.38″ E)

APA Hotel Hanzomon (around

)

Finding Hattori Hanzo’s Grave

VIDS

Kasumigaseki

Name: Kasumigaseki

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°40’22.31″ N 139°44’58.97″ E

Stations: Kasumigaseki Station, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line (M-15), Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (H-07), Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (C-08)

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? If you’re nearby.

Updated 6/25/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Kasumigaseki is a small town just south of the Japan central gov’t area Nagatcho in west-central Tokyo. Kasumigaseki literally means Misty Gate. It’s also the name of a 19th century Ukiyo-e wood block painting High Noon at Kasumigaseki.

Just to the southeast of Kensei Memorial Park and the Japan central gov’t HQ are a cluster of gov’t buildings including the HQ for the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is also a Metro station at Kasumigaseki.

Because it’s a large gov’t area, there’s not a lot to do, but it’s still worth a look. The walk around the area and up north towards Nagatcho can be spectacular at sunset. The Imperial Palace, jogging path, and moat are also just to the east.

Around further to south and east are Hibiya and Marunouchi north of that. Just east is the spectacular Hibiya Park.

Kensei Memorial Park

Just to the north of Kasumigaseki, out in front of the Diet bldg. around 35°40’33.84″ N 139°44’53.60″ E is Kensei Memorial Park – a very nice green park with a small museum at the north end. If you’re in the area, you’ll want to stop by.

Also just to the northwest of the park is the nice Akasaka area – see our post Nagatcho/Akasaka Superguide for more info.

Kasumigaseki Building

Of particular note around 35°40’17.43″ N 139°44’52.85″ E is the Kasumigaseki Building – Japan’s first real skycraper built in 1968. There’s a large concrete park + fountain behind the building. A film, Chōkōsō no Akebono, was made about its construction.

Access

To get to the area take the Metro Marunouchi Line, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, or Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (C-08) and exit at Kasumigaseki Station. The Chiyoda Line has a few more key stops just a few stations away in either direction: namely, Hibiya Station, Ōtemachi Station, and Akasaka Station.

When you exit, you’ll come up to the street just south of the park mentioned above. The Diet bldg. will be just to your northwest.

Toranomon to the South

Just a few blocks to the south is the cool Toranomon area. See our Toranomon Superguide for more info. If you have extra time it’s worth a stroll. It’s only a few blocks’ walk.

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Looking southwest into Toranomon from Kasumigaseki at sunset.

Conclusion

Even though it’s a gov’t area, there’s a fair amount to see just by walking around, and at the right time of day, it can be a visually epic area to see. You can enjoy crossing the area on the way between one of the areas mentioned above, or walk around the Diet/park area for some exercise. If you have extra time, be sure to check out the Akasaka area as well. Hibiya Park to the easy is a must-see.

Enjoy!

LINKS

Also see our Nagatcho/Akasaka Superguide since Kasumigaseki is very close to Nagatcho/Akasaka.

Kasumigaseki

Kasumigaseki Station (Tokyo) – Wikipedia

Kasumigaseki Area Guide | Tokyo Cheapo

Edo Castle Outer Moat Underground Museum | Tokyo Cheapo

Kasumigaseki Building – Tokyo’s 1st high-rise office building[4]

Chōkōsō no Akebono (A film about the construction of the Kasumigaseki Building).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kuniyoshi_Utagawa,_High_Noon_at_Kasumigaseki.jpg

VIDS

Shimbashi Superguide

Name: Shimbashi

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°39’56.24″ N 139°45’28.49″ E

Station: Shimbashi Station (G-08), Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, JR Yamanote Line, JR Tōkaidō Main Line, JR Yokosuka Line, JR Keihin-Tōhoku Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Yurikamome (U-01)

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Yep.

Updated 3/30/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Shimbashi is a major Tokyo area just south of Ginza/Yurakucho in eastern Tokyo. It lies directly west of the world-famous Hamarikyu Gardens, a stone’s throw from Toranomon to the west, and southeast of the Imperial Palace. Just to the east of Shimbashi Station is the eastern termius for the new fully-automated Yurikamome Line which runs in a loop out to Odaiba and many of the other artificial islands in Tokyo Bay.

For the surrounding area, see our other guides on Toranomon, Shiodomé, and Ginza.

Outside Shimbashi Station on the west side facing south. There’s lots to do here. The tall buildings on the left are Shiodomé.

Inside Shimbashi Station near the Ginza Line entrance.

Shimbashi is known for being a quasi-Shitamachi (old city) Tokyo area, but there’s plenty of newer things to do and see in the area.

One of the coolest aspects of Shimbashi is the large number of great hidden restaurants on its backstreets.

Shimbashi Station is one of the oldest in Tokyo – having been built right around the time the new current Tokyo Station was built after the 1923 earthquake. But the Former Shimbashi Station (the original one) is still around and has been restored. It sits between Shimbashi and Shiodomé to the east near the Panasonic building.

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Former Shimbashi Station. The Panasonic Building is on the right. If you happen to be in the Panasonic Bldg. also check out the very nice museum inside. The station’s original tracks have been long removed, but the frame for the railway’s overhead outdoor roof is still intact today – along with some of the original buildings, which are now over a century old.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Yurikamome 02 – Shiodome Station. Note the traditional-style pillars on the right.

Shiodomé area. Shimbashi is just to the northwest (left) behind the green Panasonic building in the distance. This photo is facing north. If you head left where the cement truck is, you’ll eventually come to Toranomon. Heading right leads to the waterfront and Hinodé (which is interesting in its own right).

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

You’ll find all kinds of cool restaurants such as this one under the station.

Access

Any of the lines mentioned above will bring you to Shimbashi. But your best bet is probably the Metro Ginza Line. Also note the Ginza Line has a direct Ginza stop also. The Ginza Line is useful because both termini on either end are easily accessible to 2 other major areas of Tokyo – Shibuya to the west and Asakusa to the northeast.

Shimbashi Station is a large brick above-ground station with an east and west side. The east side is rather small but features some old locomotive parts + plaques. There’s not much to do on the east side as it’s just a block from Shiodomé. The interesting side is the west side which is adjacent to the main area. There’s also an old historical steam locomotive in the square on the west side. You can also walk from any of the areas mentioned fairly quickly.

At first the backstreets can be confusing, but you’ll soon get used to them.

New JR station renovations are being completed as of 2021.

The Sugi Drug Exit

Aside from the main station exits, there are several other street-level exits around the area. One of the major ones is the sidewalk exit right next to a corner drug store called Sugi Drug across the street from the northeast corner of the station around 35°40’03.52″ N 139°45’31.25″ E. This exit is handy because it’s on Rt. 405 which runs east-west into Toranomon to the west. If you head just up the street north of this corner you’ll also find one of the best Korean restaurants in Tokyo on the left.

The Metro street exit right next to Sugi Drug.

Hidden Bike Park

Just across the street from Sugi Drug to the southwest around 35°40’02.94″ N 139°45’30.31″ E is a hidden bicycle locker under the train tracks. You can park your bike here for 24 hours for around 400¥ ($4) which is a great deal. When you’re ready to retrieve your bike, use the automated pay machine at the west end of the lot:

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com
©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

As a footnote, if you head 1 block north of Sugi Drug (shown on the right here), you’ll be heading into Ginza if you keep going straight. If you take the crosswalk shown here, just on your left one block up is one of the best Korean restaurants in all of Tokyo: Bokuden around 35°40’06.74″ N 139°45’31.42″ E. The hidden bike park is just to the left, out of frame.

Coin Lockers

There are several cheap coin lockers around + in the station – one bank is just inside the west exit, one is deeper underground in the station near the Metro platforms, and one is outside on the southeast side under a covered walkway. All are fairly cheap + easy to use.

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A bank of lockers inside on the way to the JR and Metro platforms.

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The southwest side outdoor lockers. There is also an automated currency exchange machine straight ahead. You can pay for a locker using your Suica or other IC card at the black terminal shown on the right.

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The indoor platform map underground.

Area Layout

Shimbashi Station is center right, just west of Shiodomé. Hamarikyu Gardens is in the lower right corner, the south end of the Imperial Palace is in the upper left corner, and Toranomon is off to the left. If you go far enough north from Shimbashi Station, you will hit Ginza, and beyond that, to the north, Tokyo Station.

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The main area just outside the west exit. The retro bldg. on the left was built in the 1970’s.

LABi Shimbashi

Just across from the old locomotive outside the west exit of the station is a large Yamada Denki (Electronics) LABi. If you’re looking for a big electronics store in Shimbashi, this is it. It’s across the street from the station around 35°40’02.10″ N 139°45’26.04″ E.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

LABi Shimbashi, right. The station is just to the left out of view.

Backstreets

Shimbashi has some of the coolest backstreets in Tokyo. After dark there are endless things to do. Restaurant options are nearly unlimited. You can spend hours wandering around and not see it all. Plan on spending several hours exploring. Shimbashi isn’t a very large area of Tokyo but there is lots to do nonetheless.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

A very popular high-end shop just under the Shimbashi train tracks.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Man In The Moon Pub

Possibly the most popular bar in all of Shimbashi is the foreigner-friendly Man In The Moon pub located just northwest of the station around 35°39’55.25″ N 139°45’22.40″ E. Be sure to check it out.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

West Into Toranomon

If you head 2 blocks south from the station, then hang a right west, you’ll come to the very cool area called Toranomon – home to the upscale Toranomon Hills complex. Check out our 2-part series on Toranomon. If you’re looking for a good reasonable capsule hotel, check out First Cabin Atagoyama on the way, around 35°39’51.57″ N 139°45’07.50″ E. It’s tucked down a quiet little side street.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

First Cabin Atagoyama

Tamiya Playmodel Factory

Also along the way if you’re into hobbies, check out the Tamiya Playmodel Factory store just on the corner around 35°39’53.12″ N 139°45’17.64″ E. Very cool.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Toarnomon Koffee

If you’re in the mood for a cool coffee experience, check out Toarnomon Koffee in the Toranomon Hills complex on the 2nd floor at 35°39’59.73″ N 139°44’59.86″ E. Definitely worth a look.

1-23-3 Toranomon, Minato-ku,Tokyo 2F Toranomon Hills Mori Tower 105-6302 Japan

〒105-6302 東京都港区虎ノ門1-23-3 虎ノ門ヒルズ 森タワー2階

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Toarnomon Koffee is just on the right on the 2nd floor of the Torranomon Hills complex. Note the top of Tokyo Tower in the distance.

WTC + Seaside Top Observatory

If you’re willing to walk a mile south to Tokyo’s World Trade Center, you can enjoy spectacular views of Tokyo from the top floor at the Seaside Top Observatory. The WTC is located around 35°39’22.82″ N 139°45’23.91″ E and is easy to get to. If you’re willing to change trains once, you can also get right to its front door at an Onarimon Station exit.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

One of the most famous views of Tokyo is this view from the Seaside Top Observatory. Toranomon is just to the right out of frame. The tall bldg. in the distance is the HQ of the Mori Construction Company.

Conclusion

Well that’s it for now. Spend some time getting around Shimbashi and you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Facing the station from the northeast around 3:30 PM – an early sunset in fall.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Under the Shimbashi Station tracks built in 1938.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com
©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

On the Ginza Line platform.

©2019 tenminutetokyo.com

Kasumigaseki– just north of Shimbashi in late fall.

Additional Photos

On a side street near the station.

At the station’s west entrance, right.

Abandoned west entrance at night during COVID-19.

Inside the station at night.

Newly-renovated east entrance.

LINKS

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

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

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

Former Shimbashi Station

http://www.oldtokyo.com/shimbashi-station-kasumori-c-1910-1923/

Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮恩賜庭園|公園へ行こう)

Shiodomé Superguide

Toranomon Superguide Part 1

Ginza Superguide

Tokyo Station City

Yurikamomé

https://www.yurikamome.co.jp/en/

Panasonic Shiodome Museum of Art: Up Close and Personal

https://www.tamiya-plamodelfactory.co.jp/

http://www.japan-trip.jp/area/ginza/world-trade-center-building-seaside-top-observatory.html

VIDS

Nagatcho/Akasaka Superguide

Name: Nagatcho + Akasaka

Kind: Town/City

Location: 35°40’33.86″ N 139°44’36.21″ E

Stations: Nagatcho, Tameike-sanno Station, Akasaka-mitsuke Station, Yurakucho, Hanzomon, Namboku, Ginza Lines

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? A must-see, and as a gateway to Akasaka.

Updated 8/27/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Nagatcho is a small area where the central gov’t in Japan is located. The Federal Diet Bldg. is here, as are assembly offices, and a the Prime Minister’s Office. Most activity in the area is centered around government work, but there is still a lot to see and do here.

Nagatcho is also the eastern gateway to a much more interesting area: Akasaka. We won’t go into Akasaka too much here, but we’ll touch on how to get there and a few interesting tidbits.

Access

Being where the central gov’t is located, there are a lot of ways into Nagatcho: you can take one of the Subway Metro lines listed above, you can cycle, or you can walk. Nagatcho is just to the west of the Imperial Palace + Diet Bldg. and there is a nice sidewalk which runs the length of the palace’s moat (Chidorigafuchi) on the western side (known as the Hanzomon area (due to Hanzomon Gate which dates back centuries and protects the western side of the palace).

Subway lines include Yurakucho, Hanzomon, Namboku, and Ginza Lines. There are lots of station portals at the street level scattered all over the area, but the 3 most important ones are the Akasaka-mitsuke Station on Sotobori Dori around 35°40’34.24″ N 139°44’17.11″ E , Nagatacho Station (just up the street to the north), and the Tameike-sanno Station portal on a side street just behind the Prime Minister’s office. For Tameike-sanno Station, take only the Ginza or Namboku Lines. 2 other notable street-level portals are in the Sanno Park Tower, and in the basement of the Bic Camera store just to the northwest.

In short if you want to see the Diet area, hit the Tameike-sanno Station exit and walk up the street, if you want to see Sotoboto Dori Ave, the Bic Camera, or Akasaka, hit the Akasaka-mitsuke Station exits, or if you want to get to the north side go for any of the north Nagatacho Station exits. Also of particular note is Tokyo Garden Terrace to the north around 35°40’46.30″ N 139°44’13.85″ E, just west down the street from one of the Nagatacho Station exits. Around Christmas/New Year’s Tokyo Garden Terrace is a must-see (we’ll discuss this more below).

There is also an additional station just on the south side of the complex: Kokkai-gijidomae Station (Stop 07 on the Chiyoda Line, or stop 14 on the Marunouchi Line).

Nagatcho + Akasaka sit to the north of Toranomon, east of Roppongi, west of Imperial Palace, and south of Yotsuya.

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Underground in a Nagatcho Station exit. Some subway stations in Japan have a decidedly Soviet feel to them.

An Akasaka-mitsuke Station portal on Sotoboto Dori, just west of the Diet Bldg.

Tameike-sanno Station portal, left. The Prime Minister’s Office can just barely be seen above the trees.

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Tameike-sanno Station portal in the basement of the fabulous Capitol Hotel Tokyu.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Prime Minister’s Office viewed from Sotoboto Dori Ave. facing northeast.

Area Layout

Tameike-Sannō Station, and Prime Minister’s office, lower center. To the left out of frame is Akasaka and Sotoboto Dori Ave. the tall bldg. on the left is the Capitol Hotel Tokyu. On the far right are 3 Federal assembly offices. The smaller bldg. in the center is the APA Pride Hotel. This view is facing north. To the lower left out of frame is Sanno Park Tower. Akasaka-mitsuke Station is also out of frame just to the upper left corner.

Nagatcho is a fairly small area. There’s the central gov’t/Diet area, a small area north of that with various gov’t bldgs. and museums, a smaller area east just across from the Imperial Palace, and the area south of the central gov’t which rolls into Akasaka. Not much else, but the area is still interesting. A stroll or bike ride around the central area is interesting, and in the fall spectacular. There are also smaller various shrines (See below), historical points of interest and other things to do. When you’re done exploring the central gov’t area, head north to see Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho (also see below), and then southwest to see Akasaka and all it has to offer.

If you want to see the Diet area, pop up out of Tameike-sanno Station which puts you just west of it. Akasaka proper is just 2 blocks west. Both the Prime Minister’s Office and Official Residence are on this street. Turn left (east) up a side street for the Diet bldg. One can spend hours just strolling up and down streets in the area.

Parliamentary Museum

A must-see area is just out front of the Diet to the west. There are 3 major attractions here: Kensei Memorial Park, a small historical park to the north of that, and further north, the Parliamentary Museum. Kensei Memorial Park has a very nice garden worth a stroll. The main road between the Diet and the palace is Uchibori Dori and is popular with joggers and walkers. In fact, you can circumnavigate the palace 360 degrees around over into Otemachi, Hibiya, and back. The entire distance is spectacular and one of the best walks in Tokyo.

Kasumigaseki

Just to the southeast of Kensei Memorial Park is Kasumigaseki, where more gov’t bldgs. are located – including the HQ for the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is also a Metro station at Kasumigaseki.

Hibiya Park

Just south of Kasumigaseki is the must-see Hibiya Park. This lush well-kept park is huge with lots to see + do. Not bad for just 1 more block’s walk. Definitely hit it. There is also a very nice German Christmas Market held here every December.

Sanno Park Tower + NTT DoCoMo HQ

Just to the south of Tameike-sanno Station 2 blocks on the corner of Sotoboto Dori Ave. is a giant skyscraper called Sanno Park Tower. There’s lots to do here. The basement has all kinds of shops + a convenience store. Sanno Park Tower is also home to Japan’s mobile phone company NTT DoCoMo. There are also cafés in the bldg. Just for kicks, you can have a brief thrill riding the massive gleaming glass corporate elevators from the lobby to the top floor. But be warned all floors including the top floor have lots of security guards, and you will not be admitted for any reason without a badge officially obtained in advance. Still, the elevator ride itself is a thrill – the huge glass elevators fly upward at incredible speed, while you watch the ground drop out from under you and their inner workings of cables + huge flywheels spin as you look on. And then in the blink of an eye you’ve been flung 50 stories skyward. Fun – if just for a few moments.

日本 Sanno Park Tower

The massive glass elevators inside Sanno Park Tower – as close as you can get to an amusement park ride inside Corporate Japan.

There are a few photos of the inside of the bldg. over at Mitsubishi Estate.

Sanno Park Tower, left looking northeast on Sotobori Dori Ave. Tameike-sanno Station is just up this side street on the right. The Prime Minister’s Office is also just up this street to the right. Capitol Hotel Tokyu and APA Pride hotels are also up this street to the left. Just behind the small red van is a small round glass portal with an elevator inside which takes you down to shop level.

Turning right (north) at the intersection of Sotoboto Dori shoots you up to the Bic Camera, past Akasaka-mitsuke Station, and up to Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho, which we discuss next.

Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho

If you exit the Nagatcho Sta exit around 35°40’44.55″ N 139°44’25.63″ E and head just a few blocks west downhill, you’ll come to a major intersection on Sotoboto Dori with a river + Benkei Bridge and a huge office bldg. just to the north. One of the area’s best hidden gems is at the base of this bldg: Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho.

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Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho. The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho is an ultra-deluxe ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ hotel.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Christmas lights display @ Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho

Also behind Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho is Akasaka Prince Classic House – a vintage wedding + meeting hall.

Hotels

Hotel choices in the area are endless. The aforementioned Capitol Hotel Tokyu is luxury beyond belief, but it will cost you $400+/night. Clearly the best value in the area is the APA Pride Hotel – which is is very deluxe + clean and in an off-peak time will cost you only around $70/night – unimagineable in the west. It’s right next to Capitol Hotel Tokyu. A definite winner. Hotel Monterey Hanzomon is also very nice, but a bit more expensive + little further north.

If you’re looking for a good capsule, lots of them abound in the area, but a really nice one is First Cabin Akasaka just to the west. There are lots of other hostel + capsule type hotels in the area.

The really cool hotel area is on the hidden small side street just behind the Bic Camera to the north. There are endless hotels here including Centurion Hotel, Granbell Hotel Akasaka, and Kitano Hotel Tokyo. The entrance to this hidden side street is around 35°40’35.15″ N 139°44’12.46″ E. Just across the street from that to the west is the Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel – a huge hotel right at the north end of Akasaka. This is also a mixed-use development with lots of restaurants + shops and a mall. There is also a Metro subway portal just at the entrance to the hidden side street.

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Inside our little room @ APA Pride Hotel – which included this small desk. Don’t mind all the food + loot – we had just made a massive cheap food haul from Don Quijote Ginza when this photo was taken. Incredibly, this room was only $70/night.

APA Pride room. Small but very nice, clean, and somewhat upscale.

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Capitol Hotel Tokyu lobby.

Co-working Spaces

The area has lots of great co-working spaces at reasonable rates – most notably a very nice Regus space at Akasaka K Tower.

Just next to the Nagatcho Sta exit around 35°40’44.55″ N 139°44’25.63″ E is a great PMO shared office space. In fact it’s right next to the station exit.

Another very nice cowork space is GRID Nagatcho, which incredibly, is in the same block as PMO..

Hie Shrine

Smack behind the APA Pride Hotel to the west up on a big hill is Hie Shrine. You can exit the rear of APA Pride + climb the steps to reach the top. On the other side is a massive granite staircase which leads down to Sotoboto Dori Ave. and into Akasaka. The view from the top of the stairs allows you to look to the west, over a massive white Tori Gate, and into Akasaka. From here you can also see the TBS Broadcasting HQ a block away.

View from Hie Shrine facing west into Akasaka. Sotobori Dori Ave. is below. Straight ahead is Akasaka. The bldg. with the round section on top is the TBS HQ. There is also a small Japan Post Office just ahead on the left. On the 1st floor of the orange bldg. is a very nice FamilyMart conbini (convenience store). 1 block ahead on the right is a Tully’s Coffee, and beyond that Akasaka SACAS + Akasaka Biz Tower (shown in vids below). Since Akasaka is just a stone’s throw from Nagatcho, it’s a must-see in the area. Also down this street just on the right is a huge First Cabin Akasaka capsule hotel. There are all kinds of restaurants and shops on this street + backstreets to the right.

First Cabin Akasaka

Sanno Matsuri

Sanno Matsuri is a traditional Japanese festival held every other year which starts at Hie Shrine and ends later in the afternoon. If you’re in the area when it happens (usually in summer), it’s worth a look.

Dive Into Akasaka

To the west beyond Nagatcho is Akasaka proper. There are 2 main areas to see here: the Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower area (and the Biz Tower Attrium mall next to it), and the myriad hidden side streets just to the northeast of that. There are some fabulous photos of the area over at Konnichiwa | My excellent Japanese adventure. JNTO also has a great page in English describing the area. The Akasaka SACAS area consists of: Akasaka SACAS, Biz Tower, Biz Tower Attrium, a Merto entrance, and several shops/restuarants across the street. There is also a concert hall called BLITZ to the north of Biz Tower Attrium. In the winter BLITZ has an outdoor ice-skating rink. The TBS broadcasting HQ is also in the area. BLITZ is owned + operated by TBS. A Tully’s is also located across the street:

Tully’s across the street from Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower facing north. Nagatcho is to the right (east). The large First Cabin Akasaka hotel is the white bldg. on the right. The hidden side street area is just behind this block. 2 blocks down on the right is the large FamilyMart, and there are all sorts of other great restaurants + shops on this street to the right. Don’t be afraid to wander down side streets to find unexpected enjoyment.

Akasaka’s Hidden Gem: The Hidden Side Street

Starting at around 35°40’37.79″ N 139°44’13.16″ E to the north, and running north-south is a long hidden side street behind the Bic Camera bldg. At night, this street is actually the livliest street in the area and is a must-see. At night this street comes alive with light, sound, smells, restaurants, shops, clubs, and bars. You can spend an entire evening here and not even scratch the surface. In addition there are several smaller adjacent side streets to explore. If you go to Nagatcho/Akasaka, absolutely do not miss this street. Photos are shown in the Additional Photos section below.

Biz Tower lobby.

Okamura Chair Museum

One last little bit of madness: just north of Akasaka-mitsuke Station is the Okamura Chair Museum. This place is a museum for office chairs + car seats. Turns out this company has been making OTT office chairs for decades in Japan and also supplying Japan’s major auto manufacturers with auto seats for decades also. A crazy quick stop if you’re in the area. Just walk in off the street. The company is still in business and some of their office furniture is absolutely amazing. “muffle creates the right balance. For both concentration and collaboration space

If you head up west from the Akasaka SACAS corner where the Tully’s coffee is, you’ll find the street extends west with more interesting shops + restuarants. Finally at the end you’ll come to a tunnel which leads out of the area:

Conclusion + Footnotes

Well, that’s it for now. Nagatcho/Akasuka is one of the most exciting up-and-coming areas in Tokyo – a must see. As another footnote, just to the south is also the very nice Toranomon area – it’s close enough most people could walk to it. It’s definitely worth a trip. See our 2-part post on Toranomon.

Baton-wielding Police

You’ll also see lots of baton-wielding police in the area (shown in the 1st image at the top of this page), due to the critical nature of the central gov’t. If you’re behaving however, and not causing any trouble, they will generally leave you alone. If you get too rowdy, especially inside gov’t bldgs., they may very well arrest you + throw you in prison. And you do not want to ever end up in a Japanese prison because in Japan, guilt is assumed. It’s not the same as the US. If you do end up in one, a forced confession is likely (even if you are innocent), and if you are a foreigner, you will mostly likely serve some time, and then be deported and banned from ever entering the country again. If the police do approach you and ask to see your passport or alien registration card, be ready to provide it in an instant. By law, foreigners are required to carry their passport/registration card on them at all times, so be prepared. Don’t risk a prison term in Japan due to sheer neglect or bad behavior. It’s just not worth it. Always remember you’re a guest in someone else’s country. Respect them.

One more note about the Nagatcho/Akasaka area is because it’s the national central gov’t area, nearly everything in the area except the hidden side street shuts down early at night. So be prepared to not have access to certain things after around 9 PM. Trains however, continue to operate until 11-12 PM.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

Overall master view. North is to the top. To the upper right is Imperial Palace, with the Diet + offices center right, left into central Nagatcho, then south + left into Akasaka. Notable buildings are the TBS HQ in the far lower left corner, Akasaka Biz Tower to the upper-right of that, Sanno Park Tower is the huge bldg. lower right center, and the large grey bldg. is Tokyu Garden Terrace just left of center at the top of the frame. If you continue along the major road shown at the top of the photo up to the northwest, you’ll pass the Imperial State House (which offers tours normally), and then into Yotsuya. If you turn left (west) at the main Yotsuya intersection, after a long way you’ll reach Shinjuku. Hibiya is just out of frame to the lower right. The small square bldg. with the blue square on the roof to the right of Sanno Park Tower is the Official Prime Minister’s Residence. APA Pride and Capitol Hotel Tokyu are hidden from view behind Sanno Park Tower. Just to the upper-left of Sanno Park Tower is Hie Shrine. Sotobori Dori Ave. is the main road running north-south. Just out of view to the southeast is Toranomon, and beyond that to the south Shimbashi. To the left out of frame about a mile is Roppongi.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Looking back north at the Diet Bldg. approaching from Toranomon to the south.

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Bic Camera on Sotobori Dori. (In Japan it’s pronounced “Bee-ka Ca-mé-da” by locals).

.belleVie shopping complex, including Bic Camera. A subway portal is just down the stairs to the right. If you pass straight through to the other side, you’ll be on the hidden side street. Make a left. You’ll come out near the entrance to the hidden side street just down on the right here:

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Entrance to the hidden side street facing south. At night this street comes alive with restaurants, shops, clubs, and hotels. The .belleVie shopping complex is the large bldg. on the left. This street is probably the #1 attraction to see in the Nagatcho/Akasaka area at night. If you walk this street a few blocks and turn right, you’ll come to the Akasaka SACAS area. 90 degrees to the left out of view is the Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Between Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel and the entrance to the hidden side street is this plaque which details how all the local areas got their names. English is included at the bottom. Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel is the bldg. in the background.

Turn to your left 180 degrees from the entrance to the hidden side street, and you’ll see Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho (the tall bldg.) just to your left only 2 blocks away. Tokyu Plaza Akasaka Hotel is the large white bldg. on the right. There’s another portal to Akasaka-mitsuke Station shown in the center. The plaque shown in the previous photo is just out of view to the right.

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Nagatacho Station on the Hanzomon Line platform (which is color-coded purple).

TBS HQ. BLITZ is just behind it.

Heading west up the street across from Hie Shrine, which leads to the next corner shown in the next photo below. You can also hang a right here before the corner at the brick alley to get to the hidden side street heading north.

The view on the corner with the Tully’s facing west. Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower are just ahead as shown in the photo below:

Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower. A Metro portal is the small box on the right next to the lighted signs. Biz Tower is on the right, and beyond the lights on the left is the Biz Tower Atrium complex – and beyond that, BLITZ. You can also head right here down the street the Tully’s is on instead for more discovery:

There is a restaurant/bar just to the right called SMT. If you continue down the street north of that you’ll see:

There is also another small APA Hotel on this street as well. The hidden side street runs one block parallel to the right (east).

Looking back east from the Akasaka SACAS/Biz Tower area towards the Tully’s. There are more streets to the right (south) to explore as well.

Another view of Biz Tower Atrium.

The BLITZ complex.

The view of west Nagatcho facing north from the pedestrian bridge next to the entrance to the hidden side street. Tokyo Garden Terrace Koicho is at the base of the tall bldg. on the right. A Nagatcho Station Metro entrance is just up the hill to the east (right).

Looking back south 180 degrees from the photo above. The hidden side street is just to the right of the small black bldg. right of center. A Metro portal is just in front of that. The main gov’t area is off to the left a few blocks, Sotobori Dori is the street on the left with the cars on it.

Centurion Hotel on the hidden side street.

The hidden side street heading south – a must see. Itamae Sushi on the right is very popular. Down on the left a bit is a good jazz club.

Palaceside bldg. back in Otemachi on the east side. Turn right here for Tokyo Dome City and Ueno.

Additional Photos

The station exit at the small Metro portal in Nagatcho on the north side. Very Soviet-feeling.

Facing west from the north end of Akasaka. If you take this road northwest you’ll pass the Imperial Statehouse and come to Yotsuya. If you turn left @ Yotsuya, it will take you to Shinjuku several miles down. if you turn right here, you’ll see:

Also in Yotsuya is Sophia University.

LINKS

Tameike-Sannō Station

Tameike-sanno Station

Tameike-Sannō Station – Minato, Tokyo – Japan Travel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tameike-Sann%C5%8D_Station

Kokkai-gijidomae Station

Nagatacho – Tokyo Travel Guide

Nagatacho | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide

Tameike Sanno

Sanno Park Tower – Wikipedia

Akasaka, Tokyo – Wikipedia

Akasaka-mitsuke Station

Akasaka-mitsuke Station Map – Minato, Tokyo – Mapcarta

Akasaka Mitsuke

Akasaka Guide | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide

Akasaka Tameike Tower

National Diet Tour | Things to do in Nagatacho

TOKYO GARDEN TERRACE

Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho | Things to do in Kioicho

https://akasakaprince.com/en/

Parlimentary Museum of Japan

Hibiya Park

Hie Shrine – Wikipedia

Nagatacho, Ark Hills and the Hie Shrine

https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1737/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1066443-d12074421-Reviews-Benkei_Bridge-Chiyoda_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

hanzomon gate Archives – JAPAN THIS!

All Eyes On Akasaka

https://www.mai-b.co.jp/index-en.html

Hotels

APA Pride

Hotel New Otani Landscape Garden: an oasis of peace in Akasaka – and it’s free!

The B Tokyo Akasaka-Mitsuke – Guest Reservations

https://akasaka.tokyu-plaza.com/en/

TOKYU PLAZA TOTSUKA

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

https://en.japantravel.com/tokyo/the-capitol-hotel-tokyu-nagatacho/36416

Hotel Monterey Hanzomon

https://www.granbellhotel.jp/en/akasaka/

https://akasaka.tokyu-plaza.com/en/

New Sanno Hotel

Food

Tully’s Coffee Akasaka

THE PUBLIC RED AKASAKA

Office

https://www.regus.com/en-us/japan/tokyo/akasaka-k-tower-3932

PMO

GRID Nagatcho

https://www.okamura.com/en_mea/products/categories/seating/

Gov

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet

PM’s Office of Japan (@JPN_PMO)

MOFA

Film

https://archive.org/details/GhostStoryOfYotsuya

VIDS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dS_-1IBfpE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxCctnEoH-g