A visit to Yanaka will surely shine a light on the fact that so much of historical Edo has been lost to natural and man-made disasters. Fortunately, a lot of old Edo, its atmosphere, warmth, and charm still remain in Yanaka.
Yanaka is also associated with the Shichifukujin - the Seven Gods of Fortune. There are seven temples in Yanaka, each for one of the gods. Many people make a pleasant pilgrimage to see these temples and to pray for fortune in their lives. It speaks for itself that especially the first three days of the New Year are the busiest, but this heart-warming tour can be made any day of the year as well, because good fortune flows year-round. Click here to view the details.
Yanaka developed into a temple town in the Edo Era. Tenou-ji, Kanei-ji and other smaller temples were built then and still remain in the area among other traditional buildings. There used to be a more temples, however most of them were moved to the outskirts of the city by the Shogunate. Since most temples had thatched roofs and were built with wood their sheer number started posing a fire hazard when Edo began to grow into a mega-city. The spots where the temples used to be were left as open spaces creating places for the citizens to enjoy some peace and quiet. There was also a further, just as important, strategic consideration. Temples could easily be used for protection of Edo in case it would come under attack. Eventually, the more affluent people, probably attracted by the picturesque surroundings and gently sloping hills, started building their estates only to be followed by writers and artist, who likely came here for the same reasons.
Yanaka was spared the destruction of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and the bombardments about two decades later during the Second World War, leaving in tact a mainly residential area, that can give the feeling that one has stepped back in time.
There are no big roads, but narrow streets and lanes. There are no speeding cars, but remarkably little traffic; no rushing crowds, but people who seem to be taking life at a slower pace. There are no big department stores, but small traditional stores and a few museums, in short Yanaka is a place that is a "must-see" for anyone who enjoys a peaceful, refreshing stroll back in time.
Hotels in Yanaka
|Hotel Name:||Annex Katsutaro Ryokan|
|Rate:||Yen 5,000 ~ Yen 10,000|
All rooms are Japanese style with bath and toilet. Internet for free at your room.
|Hotel Name:||Sawanoya Ryokan|
|Rate:||Less than Yen 5,000|
This family-managed hotel is located downtown and is frequented by guests from abroad.