Bunkyō (文京)  is in Tokyo, north of the Imperial Palace.
The name means roughly "Capital of Culture" and, indeed, it's best known as the home of the sprawling University of Tokyo and a series of aristocratic parks and villas.
There are six subway lines running through the district with a total of 20 stations.
- Chiyoda: Nezu, Yushima, Sendagi
- Marunouchi: Myogadani, Korakuen, Hongo Sanchome, Ochanomizu
- Yurakucho: Gokokuji, Edogawabashi
- Namboku: Korakuen, Todaimae, Honkomagome
- Oedo: Iidabashi, Kasuga, Hongo Sanchome
- Mita: Suidobashi, Kasuga, Hakusan, Sengoku
Of the dozen or so beautiful tradition Japanese gardens in Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku has been blessed with two of them. In fact, many aficianados would place them in the Top 3 of the city — the other one being Kiyosumi Garden in Koto-ku.
- Koishikawa Kōrakuen (小石川後楽園), 1-6-6 Kōraku, Bunkyō-ku (Located near Tokyo Dome, a few minutes from Iidabashi Stn on the Toei Ōedo Line), ☎ 03-3811-3015, . 9AM-5PM (last entry 4:30PM), closed Dec 29-Jan 1. Laid out in the 17th century, this splendid traditional garden boasts a large collection of trees and flowering plants that provide touches of beauty all year round, and is one of the finest gardens in the whole country. Winding paths, wooded hills, ponds teeming with ducks and fish. The place can be a little crowded at certain times of year (such as during the cherry blossom season in late March-early April), but there's plenty of room for everyone. ¥300. edit
- Rikugien (六義園), Hon-Komagome 6-16-3 (3 min from Komagome Stn, Yamanote/Namboku line), ☎ 03-3941-2222, . A classical Japanese traditional garden with ponds, hills and tea houses, originally built in 1695 by Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, a Tokugawa daimyo. It's a popular cherry blossom spot in spring and is lit up at night at the time. A top notch place. ¥300. edit
- Koishikawa Botanical Garden (小石川植物園), 3-7-1 Hakusan (A bit of a walk from Hakusan subway station; Follow the signs), ☎ 03-3814-0138, . 9AM-4:30PM, Closed Mon exc. holidays, then the next day. Not one of the great gardens of Japan and sometimes a bit shabby, but a pleasant stroll with interesting trees, an medicinal herb garden and several ponds. Not to be confused with Koishikawa Korakuen above. ¥500. edit
Temples & Shrines
- Nezu Shrine (根津神社), 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku (A 5 min walk from Nezu, Sendagi, or Todaimae Stn), ☎ 03-3822-0753, . One of Japan's oldest and best shrines in April. Visit during the well-known Bunkyo Azalea Festival (つつじまつり) to see over 3000 azealas in bloom. Also has a nice 'torii' tunnel and pond garden. Free exc. for festival: ¥200. edit
- Gokokuji (護国寺), 5-40-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, ☎ 03-3941-0764, . 24/7. With a history going back to 1681, this temple has had numerous addition structures added into modern times, and its wooden architecture is impressive. edit
- Hakusan Shrine (白山神社), 5-31-26 Hakusan, Bunkyo-ku, ☎ 03-3948-1096, . 10AM–4PM, Closed Tue. This shrine is one of the best places in Tokyo to see the beautiful hydrangea blooming every June - huge crowds of shutterbugs go to cover it. Every fall there is an ancient festival where Japanese carry a big portable shrine through the city. The shrine is also famous for two zelkova trees over 800 years old. Free. edit
- Denzuin (傳通院), 3-14-6 Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku, ☎ 03-3814-3701, . This temple has a history going back to 1415, but became more important and strongly connected to the Tokugawa family after the first shogun, Ieyasu, had his mother buried there. You can see numerous important graves there. edit
- Sekiguchi Catholic Church, St. Mary's Cathedral Tokyo (東京カテドラル聖マリア大聖堂), 3-16-15 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, ☎ 03-3941-3029, . 9AM–12PM, 1PM–5PM. Seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo. Designed by the famous architect Tange Kenzō, this ultramodern church was built in the 1960s to replace an older structure that was destroyed during the war. edit
- Bunkyo-ku Civic Center (文京区役所), 1-16-21 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku (Korakuen Stn of the Marunouchi line), . 8:30AM–5PM Closed Sat-Sun. The lavish government building for the Bunkyo ward of Tokyo, once described in the Japan Times as "a colossal Pez candy dispenser." A free observation deck on the 25th floor, jutting out of the top like the Starship Enterprise, commands a fine view of much of Tokyo. Free. edit
Going for a spin in Tokyo Dome City
Bunkyo ward is a nice place to walk, but it can be a tough stroll as this area is famous for a number of slopes. There being 433 slopes in Tokyo, as many as 173 of them are located in this ward. Some are named, and some are not. There stands a plate written its history on each slope. Even if you didn’t know anything about this area, it is fun to know its names. There are many unique names, such as Kaiun-zaka (Good luck slope), Yūrei-zaka (Ghost slope), or Ijin-zaka (Barbarian slope). You can look at these unique names on books, some of which only focus on the slopes.
Tokyo Dome City
Tokyo Dome City is an attractions complex featuring a large indoor stadium, an amusement park, bowling alley, off-track betting center, and shopping mall. Tokyo Dome is one of several Tokyo stadiums. It is home to the Yomiuri Giants baseball team and also hosts concerts, trade show events, and professional sports.
- Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (野球殿堂博物館), 1-3-61 Kōraku, Bunkyō-ku (Entrance to the right of Tokyo Dome's Gate 21), ☎ 03-3811-3600, . Mar-Sep 10AM-6PM, Oct-Feb 10AM-5PM, closed Mon, Dec 29-Jan 1. Adults ¥500, seniors ¥300, children ¥200. edit
Bunkyo is known as a seat of learning, with 15 institutions of higher education.
University of Tokyo
University of Tokyo campus
University of Tokyo) (東京大学 Tōkyō Daigaku), formerly the Imperial University and still Japan's supremely well-funded Harvard, Yale, and MIT all rolled into one, has its main Hongō campus in Bunkyo. Around 2000 foreign students study at the university, but competition for places can be fierce. The University of Tokyo also attracts many travelers as a place to look around and to have some food.
The Red Gate (赤門 Akamon) on the Hongo street was built in 1827, when a daughter of the then Shogun, Ienari Tokugawa, married the Daimyo who lived in the premises. Inside the gate are the General Library and the Graduate Schools of Economics, Literature, and Education. To the left side of the gate is the Communication Center which is actually a souvenir shop, and to the right side, there is the university museum. The grounds are sprinkled liberally with large, stately gingko trees, whose leaf can be found on the seal of the university.
At the center of the campus is the Japanese garden of Ikutoku-en (育徳園) — the Virtue-Teaching Garden — built around 1630 as the garden of
Maeda Toshitsune, one of the wealthiest daimyo in the Tokugawa era. At its center is Sanshiro Pond (三四郎池 Sanshiro-ike), in the shape of the Japanese character kokoro (心), meaning "heart" or "spirit". Both garden and pond are, regrettably, rather poorly kept.
To the north of the pond there is the auditorium, Yasuda Kodo which became a symbol of the student activism in 1968-69, when the building was occupied by students as a base facility for activities to change the University registration. In the basement floor there is a large-scale student canteen called Chuo Shokudo (central canteen), offering cheap if rather mediocre food, and a University Co-op where you can buy T-shirts and ball-point pens with the university logo.
To the east of the auditorium is the main building of the Graduate School of Science, where one of the largest photomultiplier tubes, which contributed to the Kamioka neutrino experiments, is exhibited.
The campus has around 20 places to eat, including Starbucks, Subway and several student canteens.
Capo Pellicano is at the 13rd floor of the main (tallest) building of the Graduate School of Medicine. Lunch menus are for around ¥900. The view of buildings in Shinjuku and Roppongi from the western side of the floor should not be missed.
The university also has the Koishikawa Botanical Garden in Hakusan.
- Toyobunko Museum (東洋文庫ミュージアム), 2-28-21 Honkomagome (10 min from JR Komagome Stn), . 10AM–5PM, Closed Tue. The Toyo Bunko is a special library and a research institute of Oriental studies. The research focuses on Asian history and cultures. The Toyo Bunko collects and saves historical records of Asia. The collection of books exceeds 950,000 items. People can read the books free of charge. Library materials cannot leave the building. Photocopiers are available for use at a minimal charge. edit
- La Qua (ラクーア), Connected to Korakuen Stn (Marunouchi Line), ☎ 03-5800-9999, . 10AM–9PM. La Qua is a shopping mall with some attractions attached. It opened in 2003, replacing a section of the amusement park at Tokyo Dome City. There are boutiques, a grocery store, restaurants, a hairdresser, massage salon, and gym. In addition a roller coaster runs along the roof, and there are other amusement attractions including a water slide and a concert stage. Among all these, the main accommodation is the LaQua spa. Here you can take a spa bath, sit on a comfortable chair and do whatever you like. Note that it is cheaper to spend a night in here than in any hotel, however, people with tattoos are not allowed to enter. edit
- Seijo Ishii (成城石井 東京ドームラクーア店), 1−1−1 Kasuga 1F, Bunkyo-ku, ☎ 03-5805-0032, . 9:30AM–11PM, Sun 9AM~. A large grocery store in La Qua, with many imported foods and wines. Many frozen products are sold in restaurant packs. edit
- Fire House, 4-5-10 Hongo (From Hongo Sanchome Stn, Oedo or Marunouchi line, go to main intersection and look for roller coaster in distance. Go that direction, on right side of street; restaurant is before next traffic light), ☎ 03-3815-6044, . A popular hamburger restaurant decorated with American memorabilia. edit
- Japanese Restaurant-Brewery Tavern Goemon (酒蔵ゴエモン 江戸川橋店), 1 Chome-13-18 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku (Near Edogawabashi Stn), ☎ 03-5579-8603, . 5:30–11PM Fri 5:30PM–1AM Sat-Sun 5PM–11PM. Serves numerous grilled meats and deep fried seafood. With all you can drink specials. edit
- Hantei, Nezu 2-12-15 (From Nezu Stn, exit 2, cross main street (Rte 437), and turn left. Restaurant is halfway down the block), ☎ 03-3828-1440, . 11:30AM–2PM, 5PM–9:30PM. Serves kushiage (deep fried skewered food) in a rare old wooden building. edit
- Hotel Kizankan (ホテル機山館), 4-37-20 Hongo (from Hongo-Sanchome subway stn, go down the small st between the koban--police box--and McDonalds), ☎ 03-3812-1211, . This basic business hotel is convenient for those visiting Tokyo University. Minutes from the Hongo-Sanchome stations of the Oedo and Marunouchi subway lines, and close to the many small restaurants in front of the university. Little English is spoken, but foreigners are welcome. Singles ¥7980~, twins ¥8925~. edit
- Forest Hongo Hotel (フォーレスト本郷), 6-16-4 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, ☎ 03-3813-4408 (fax: 03-3813-4409), . checkin: 15; checkout: 11. A bit nicer (and more expensive) than the standard business hotel, this is a good choice for visitors to Tokyo University, but not convenient otherwise. Some English is spoken and the hotel hosts many foreign guests. Singles from ¥10,164, twins from ¥18,480. edit
- Toyoko Inn Korakuen Bunkyo City Office (東横Inn後楽園文京区役所前, ''Korakuen Bunkyo Kuyakusho-mae''), 2-2-11 Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku (Nearest stations: Korakuen on the Namboku and Marunouchi Lines; Kasuga on the Oedo and Mita Lines), . checkin: 16; checkout: 10. Japan's largest business hotel chain, with a good range of amenities. With free breakfast and wi-fi. This one is not near any tourist destinations but convenient to major subway lines. ¥7200~. edit
- Tokyo Dome Hotel (東京ドームホテル), 1-3-61 Koraku (Nearest stns: Suidobashi on the JR and Mita Lines; Korakuen on the Marunouchi Line), ☎ 03-5805-2111, . This is an international hotel at competitive prices. Several restaurants, ranging from reasonable to very expensive. Doubles from ¥24,000. edit
- Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo (ホテル椿山荘東京), 2-10-8 Sekiguchi (Near Edogawabashi Stn), ☎ 03-3943-1111 ([email protected]""), . A high class luxury hotel with prices to match. Location is a bit out of the way; expect to take taxis. Doubles from ¥55,000; the Imperial Suite is ten times as much. edit
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