• Other

10 Reasons to Visit Yanesen

3 minute read
Alexandra Harney

Tokyo is famous for its merciless modernity, but the winding lanes of Yanesen — an amalgam of the temple districts of Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi, in the city’s east — are a hit with young Tokyoites in search of a slower pace of life. Here are 10 reasons to visit.

1 Isetatsu A family business since 1864, the dollhouse-like Isetatsu sells brightly colored chiyogami paper decorated with woodblock prints, and other stationery reminiscent of old Edo. Tel: (81-3) 3823-1453, 2-18-9 Yanaka.

2 Yamanaka Ryokan Try Tokyo’s best kaiseki-style Chinese restaurant and sleep on a fluffy futon at this little-known gem, just five minutes by taxi from the express train to Narita. Tel: (81-3) 3821-4751, 4-23-1 Ikenohata.

(See Time.com/Travel for city guides, stories and advice.)

3 EXPO This vintage-shopper’s paradise stocks bowling shirts and fur coats, classic Japanese toys and charmingly outdated telephones. Tel: (81-3) 3824-6899, 4-26-30 Ikenohata.

4 Usagi The 1960s are alive and well at this pint-sized, retro watering hole. Proprietress Saiko-san sets the tone with period Japanese pop, good-natured banter and quick sake refills. Tel: (81-3) 3822-0070, 2-16-2 Nezu.

5 Yakuzen Curry Jinenjo This local institution claims that the 11 Indian spices, six Chinese herbs and eight vegetables in its curries have medicinal properties. Luckily, they’re also delicious. Tel: (81-3) 3824-3162, 5-9-25 Yanaka.

6 Yabusai Sousuke This was once the local ice and charcoal shop; today, with wooden walls beautifully restored, it is a public gallery and studio for young textile and hat designer Chie Yoshikawa. Tel: (81) 90-4420-2439, 1-2-16 Yanaka.

7 Atelier SanUnKaiGetu This hip boutique sells retro-chic Hawaiian shirts, bags, and pillowcases made of kimono-style fabric. Tel: (81-3) 5834-8850, 2-37-1 Nezu.

8 The Nezu Shrine Yanesen is strewn with places of worship and a trip isn’t complete without a visit to one. This 300-year-old Shinto shrine is young by the standards of this district, but its orange torii gates and azalea bushes more than compensate. 1-28-9 Nezu.

9 Kamachiku This family-run noodle shop, set in a century-old granary with a modern addition designed by architect Kengo Kuma, overlooks a soothing Japanese garden. Arrive early to avoid disappointment: the handmade udon is so good, it’s gone by 1:30 p.m. on weekends. Tel: (81-3) 5815-4675, 2-14-18 Nezu.

10 Kikumi Senbei They’ve been making senbei (rice crackers) at this open-fronted wooden store since 1875, and do a brisk trade among nostalgic Japanese both old and young. Tel: (81-3) 3821-1215, 3-37-16 Sendagi.

Read TIME’s stories about romance on the road.

See the best new travel products, gadgets and trends.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com