To Tokyo Daijingu, a Shrine That Is Believed to Produce a High Rate of Success in Love
Tokyo Daijingu Shrine is about five minute walk from Iidabashi Station. It's affectionately called 'Tokyo-no-Oisesama’ (Ise Grand Shrine in Tokyo), since it enshrines some of the same deities of Ise Grand Shrine. Also, two deities called 'Takamimusubi-no-kami' and 'Kamimusubi-no-kami' are the symbolized god of marriage, which attracts and brings in many female visitors, mainly office workers and college students.
Look at these earnest wishes! Hope all wishes come true...
Let's make a wish with this stick called 'Kigan-gushi' (300 yen). Write down your wish on the stick and put it into the 'Kigan-bako' (a prayer box).
Head to Kagurazaka, One of Tokyo's Most Elegant Districts.
From Tokyo Daijingu, walk along Waseda Street toward Kagurazaka. Starbucks marks the entrance to the neighborhood. Kagurazaka Street, a one-way street, has its own traffic rule which is rarely seen elsewhere, like driving down the slope in the morning and up in the afternoon. This rule is believed to have been implemented by the former prime minister, Kakuei Tanaka, to adjust to his schedule for his convenience, which has become an urban legend now.
An Eating Tour in Kagurazaka. First, Stop by at 'Goju-ban', a Popular Nikuman Shop.
This old nikuman shop opened in 1957. You must be blown away by the showcase filled with variety of nikuman! The large-sized nikuman, their specialty, hits you with the irresistible aroma of juicy, flavorful meat. The bun skin tastes slightly sweet. Such great stuff! This is a perfect place to eat around Kagurazaka.
Open up the bun and look inside. See, so much filling stuffed! No doubt even one nikuman is enough to make you full.
After Filling Your Stomach with Nikuman, Head to Bishamonten Zenkokuji Temple.
The temple enshrines Bishamonten (Bishamon), the god of military arts, which is one of the four guardian gods. The temple was originally built 400 years ago. Since the Edo period, it's been affectionately called 'Kagura-no Bishamon-sama' (Bishamon of Kagurazaka). The bright vermillion-painted gate and grounds is easy to find from Kagurazaka Street.
You might want to take photos of 'Koma-tora' ('tora' means a tiger), the pair of guardian tigers, not dogs. The reason for the different animal is that Bishamonten is called 'Tora Bisha' because of his birthday; he was born during the Hour of the Tiger ( 3 - 5 a.m.), on the Day, Month, and the Year of the Tiger.
Next, Stop by at 'Kameido'.
Kameido is an old Japanese confectionery shop established more than 40 years ago. It's located nearby Akagi Shrine in Kagurazaka. Their 'cream pan' (custard filled sweet bread buns) is awesome! So much thick, rich cream is stuffed inside. The cream is actually more like flan. Enjoy the soft, jelly-like texture!
The shop is pretty small but has 2 tables in the back. The navy-colored floor stands out as it is a sharp contrast to the natural retro style of the rest of the shop.
Looks like these buns can't wait to be eaten, saying 'Eat me now!' This popular cream pan sells out by noon everyday, almost without fail.
Since we were supposed to have dinner soon, we decided to share one cream pan. This skilled patissier has taken care of this cream pan. He has made the bun skin rather thin, which is the tip for the long-lasting savory texture, he said.
Head to Akagi Shrine, Next to Kameido.
Akagi Shrine has housed Ushigome's local deity for approximately 700 years. It was recently renovated into a completely modern, stylish shrine by one of Japan's most acclaimed architect, Kengo Kuma, who also designed impressive eye-catching buildings like KITTE, GINZA KABUKIZA, and the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center. Such a cool futuristic shrine with unique features like its super cute guardian dogs, and a large apartment building attached to it.
The cutest and most avent-garde guardian dogs I've ever seen.
Hyogo-Yokocho (Hyogo Lane). The Cobblestone Alley Taking You Back to the Old Times.
Hyogo means armory. The name comes from the fact the armory of Ushigome-jo Castle was located in this area in the Sengoku period (Warring States period).
Such a narrow street, but it has many historic places you might see in the Japanese old movies, like the old bar called 'Iseto'.
Kenban-Yokocho (Kenban Lane)
Kenban-Yokocho (Kenban Lane), a geisha district with several call-offices where geisha practice their art and their schedule is taken care of.Traditional art of geisha world is still alive in this area. If you are lucky, you can catch the sound of Shamisen around here.
The Cobblestone Alley Taking You Back to the Times When Traditional Performing Arts Were Popular in This Area.
Ending Kagurazaka Tour with Dinner at 'Kyoraku-Tei'
Must-eat place for 'shin soba', noodles made from newly harvested buckwheat.
When you order sake, you can pick your favorite sake cup called 'ochoko'. They have variety of ochoko in different shapes and colors.
Soba, buckwheat noodles.