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A Day in Kagurazaka

Kagurazaka has long enjoyed an upscale reputation, since its days as home to some of the city’s most prestigious geisha houses.
This continues into the 21st century, with the area presenting a tony take on both Japanese tradition and up-to-the-minute contemporary culture.
Look a little deeper and you’ll find Kaguarazaka also has some eccentric outliers hidden down its storied streets, including a borderline-kitsch sento bath, and a distinctly homely record store.

A Day in Kagurazaka

Index

  • Akagi Shrine 赤城神社

  • Hanakagura 花かぐら

  • Kakurenbo Yokocho かくれんぼ横丁

  • Atamiyu  熱海湯

  • Mash Records

  • Shozantei 翔山亭

  • Akagi Shrine 赤城神社

    Akagi Shrine 赤城神社

    Akagi Shrine 赤城神社

    Akagi Shrine is a truly special location in this city dotted with countless shrines and temples.
    A Shinto shrine with a history stretching back over 700 years, in 2010 it was given a stunning new design by internationally revered architect Kengo Kuma, also responsible for Tokyo’s Nezu Museum and numerous other standout projects. Kuma’s radical take on what a 21st century shrine should look like sees the main hall constructed entirely from glass in place of the usual wood, evoking a sense of airy, serene spaciousness.
    Awe-inspiring architecture aside crowds have for centuries flocked here, thanks to Akagi Shrine being said to bestow good fortune upon those seeking marriage or academic success.
    The Akagi Cafe, located within the shrine grounds, also scores style points both for its own sleek design and some charming latte art.

    Akagi Shrine
    Address
    Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Akagimotomachi 1-10
    Phone
    0332605071
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.akagi-jinja.jp/
  • Hanakagura 花かぐら

    Hanakagura 花かぐら

    Hanakagura 花かぐら

    This popular izakaya restaurant leans towards the upscale both in its stylishly muted decor and presentation of food and drink.
    Passing through the discreet entrance in a traditional wooden construction leads you into a corridor that is almost entirely black, and the low-key tone continues once in the dining area, the better to focus customers’ senses on the delectable dishes in front of them.
    Highly recommended is the Hanakagura Bento, consisting of 12 small dishes presented in a wooden box and served from 11:30 to 14:30 (11:30 to 16:00 on weekends and public holidays).

    Hanakagura
    Address
    Tokyo Met. Shinjuku-ku Kagurazaka 3-1
    Phone
    0332600767
  • Kakurenbo Yokocho かくれんぼ横丁

    Kakurenbo Yokocho かくれんぼ横丁

    Kakurenbo Yokocho かくれんぼ横丁

    A stroll down this maze-like warren of izakaya-lined streets, with an atmosphere recalling Kyoto’s famous Gion, will take you back in time to Kagurazaka’s days as hive of geisha activity.
    Named for the Japanese term for ‘hide-and-seek’, this enchanting spot gained its moniker from the belief that anybody attempting to follow a man enjoying a secret visit to the geisha district would surely lose their quarry once the pleasure-seeking gent entered the alley.

    かくれんぼ横丁
    Address
    東京都新宿区神楽坂3丁目
    Phone
    03-3344-3160
  • Atamiyu  熱海湯

    Atamiyu  熱海湯

    Atamiyu  熱海湯

    This local sento (a communal bath house used by the entire neighborhood back when baths in residential homes were rare, and still enjoyed by many older Japanese today) is another treasure with features distinguishing it from its peers.
    Opened in the 1950s, Atamiyu is dominated by a huge mural of Mt. Fuji, surrounded by wisps of cloud and also a jet plane: thoroughly modern when Atamiyu opened, but now with a great retro charm (the mural was repainted a few years back, but true to the original).
    Elsewhere, the men’s changing room has a small pond containing goldfish, and Atamiyu’s bathwater is notable for being hotter than most other sento: while most of these old bath houses have adopted gas boilers, Atamiyu still heats its water with firewood.

    Atami Yu
    Address
    Tokyo Shinjuku Kagura Zaka 3-6
    Phone
    0332601053
  • Mash Records

    Mash Records

    Mash Records

    Music lovers shouldn’t overlook this singular used record store hidden down in a basement: look out for the shop’s neon sign which is helpfully conspicuous on its quiet residential street.
    Indeed Mash’s comfy vibe, including a worn-in sofa and numerous guitars hanging from the ceiling, gives the feeling of having stumbled into a fellow music maniac’s living room, but sure enough this is a shop space.
    With gleeful disregard for genre, crates of vinyl, CDs, and cassette tapes mix up everything from Japanese enka to hard rock, via ’70s disco and ’90s pop.

    Mash record
    Address
    Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Tenjinchou 15
    Phone
    0332695120
    Remarks
    【URL】http://mashrecords-voyage.com/
  • Shozantei 翔山亭

    Shozantei 翔山亭

    Shozantei 翔山亭

    This refined restaurant, in keeping with Kagurazaka’s tony vibe, puts a high-class spin on yakiniku, the popular Korean-originated cuisine which involves diners grilling their own beef and other meats over a charcoal-filled hibachi.
    What is usually delicious but no-frills mainstream cuisine is here elevated both by a refined environment (the traditional building could be mistaken for the former home of a high-ranking samurai) and an insistence on only the finest cuts of meat.

    shoyamatei Kagurazaka Honkan
    Address
    Tokyo Met. Shinjuku-ku Kagurazaka Clair 3-1 Kagurazaka 3.3 F
    Phone
    0335135899
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.shozantei.com/shop/honkan
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