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Tokyo : Taito
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Taitō (台東) [19] is a northeastern district of Tokyo.

Old house in Nezu


Talk to a Tokyoite about "downtown" (下町 shitamachi), and he will think of the Taito district: the train station of Ueno, where migrants from the deep north first arrived in their search for a better life, and the temples of Asakusa, once a boomtown full of prostitutes and gangsters but now long since past its prime. Stuck in a low-rent post-war time warp, here Tokyo's west side hypermodernity takes a bit of a breather, with such quaint oddities as bustling street markets and even the occasional wooden house.

Get in[edit]

Ueno Station is the major hub, connecting together northbound Shinkansen passengers with the JR Yamanote line, the subway Ginza and Hibiya lines, and the Keisei trains to Narita.

If visiting Tokyo University in Bunkyo, the Hongō Sanchōme Stations of the Marunouchi and Ōedo subway lines are the most convenient.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Asakusa, covered in a separate article, known particularly for Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Kannon).
  • Ueno, covered in a separate article, packed full of museums and Tokyo's best-known cherry blossom viewing spot.
  • Yanaka Cemetery (谷中霊園), 7-5-24 Yanaka (A short walk from Nippori Stn). A large, peaceful cemetery famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms that line its paths in spring. Known as a home for many stray cats, as well as the grave of Tokunaga Yoshinobu, the last shogun.  edit
  • Asakura Sculpture Hall (朝倉彫塑館 ''Asakura-chōsōkan''), 7-18-10 Yanaka, 03-3821-4549 (fax: 03-3821-5225), [1]. 9:30AM-4:30PM, Closed Mon, Thu exc holidays, then the next day. Not a "museum" in any traditional sense of the word, this is the former custom-designed residence of scholar and sculptor Fumio Asakura. Built around a lovely garden and packed with art, this is a wonderful place to stroll and contemplate the meaning of life. ¥500.  edit
  • Shitamachi Museum Annex (下町風俗資料館付設展示場, ''Shitamachi Fūzoku Shiryōkan Fusetsu Tenjijō''), 2-10-6 Ueno-Sakuragi, 03-3823-4408, [2]. 9:30AM-4:30PM, Closed Mon, if holiday the next day. Many buildings scattered around the Yanaka district survived the bombings of World War II, including this former sake store built in 1910. Characteristic of Meiji-era architecture, the building now houses a small museum of sake and beer equipment. Free.  edit
  • SCAI The Bathhouse, Kashiwayu-Ato 6-1-23 Yanaka, 03-3821-1144 (fax: 03-3821-3553), [3]. 12PM-6PM, Closed Sun-Mon, hol. A small gallery showing the work of contemporary artists, the building is a former sento, or bathhouse.  edit
  • Kyu-Iwasakitei Garden (旧岩崎邸庭園, ''Kyu-Iwasakitei teien''), 1-3-45 Ikenohata (On a side street between Ueno Park and Tokyo University Hospital. Look for small blue directional signs), 03-3823-8340, [4]. Not a major tourist attraction, but an interesting bit of history. The house was built in the Meiji era (1868-1912) in the style of an American or British mansion. In WWII the fire raids consumed most of the houses behind the mansion, which was used by GHQ during the occupation. A few attached Japanese-style rooms remain. Sit and sip green tea. Listed as one of many traditional gardens by Tokyo, the garden — mostly a small lawn and trees — is the least interesting of them all. ¥400.  edit
  • Daimyo Clock Museum (大名時計博物館), 2-1-27 Yanaka, Taito-ku, 03-3821-6913. 10AM-4PM, Closed Mon. A private collector's museum of many Japanese clocks built from the 1600s based on imported western clocks. Buy the inexpensive English pamphlet for explanations if you cannot read the Japanese commentary. A rare look at Japanese feudal ingenuity as well as changing "time" to show Japan's seasonal variations. ¥300.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Kaiei-yu (三ノ輪 改栄湯), 2-10-15 Minowa, Taito-ku, 03-6897-2824, [5]. 2–11PM, Closed Fri. A large traditional public bath house and a chance to enjoy a good soak if staying at the many frugal accommodations in the area.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]


Yanaka Ginza

Yanaka (谷中), Nezu (根津) and Sendagi (千駄木) are adjacent low-key commercial and residential neighborhoods full of traditional, quirky little shops, particularly along the very tongue-in-cheek Yanaka Ginza (谷中銀座) shopping street. The area is best reached on the Metro Chiyoda line to Sendagi or the JR Yamanote Line to Nippori.

  • Chaho Kanekichi-en (茶舗金吉園), Yanaka 3-11-10, [6]. An old-school tea shop near the entrance to Yanaka Ginza, just follow the smell of roasting tea. They prepare their own blends, which are uniformly excellent: try the slightly bitter Snow Plum (雪の梅 Yuki-no-Ume, ¥600 per 100g) or the unusual Yanaka Midori (谷中みどり, ¥600-1000 per 100g), a mix of roasted tea stems (the cheapest tea) with tea-ceremony grade matcha (the most expensive tea). Ask to see the private garden and if they're in a good mood they just might let you have a peek.  edit

Nippori Fabric Town is a one-kilometer stretch of road down from Nippori station, housing many shops selling fabric and textiles. You can also find accessories and other sewing materials. It is also known for cheaply-priced clothing.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Aoi Marushin, 1-4-4 Asakusa, 03-3841-0110. Tempura, Tempura, Tempura. Aoi Marushin is the largest tempura restaurant in Tokyo.  edit
  • Bentenyama Miyakozushi Souhonten, 2-1-16 Asakusa, 03-3844-0034. This is a very small, very expensive sushi restaurant in Taito. If you are a sushi buff this is that place for you, with fantastic sushi and great ambiance. Menu in english.  edit
  • Zakuro, 3-14-13 Nishi-Nippori (3 min directly west of JR Nippori North Exit), 03-3822-1543, [7]. Located in the heart of the traditional Yanaka neighborhood, this Persian/Turkish restaurant goes all-out on the "dining experience": you sit on the carpeted floor, they make you wear middle-eastern garb, and dessert includes a hookah (water-pipe) to puff on! And all the while, the owner wanders from table to table making wisecracks in Japanese. The set dinner course (¥2000) is guaranteed to leave anyone stuffed.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Yanaka Bossa, 6-1-27 Yanaka, 03-3823-5952 (), [8]. 11:30AM-8PM, closed Tue. Coffees and light meals with a Brazilian theme.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Taito has Tokyo's best range of cheap to midrange accommodation. The listings below cover only more far-flung bits of the district, see Asakusa and Ueno for listings of hotels in the immediate vicinity of the two central stations. There are also many love hotels in around Uguisudani Station. They are mainly used by prostitutes but there is no reason why a couple of tourists can't stay there as well. For less than 10,000 yen you will get some solid accommodation for the night which is much more comfortable than a cheap Japanese hotel.


The area around Minami-Senju (南千住) and Minowa (三ノ輪), near the northern end of the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, has some of Tokyo's cheapest budget accommodations. The area is comparatively speaking more run down and economically depressed than other parts of the city (by Japanese standards), in fact there is a long history of the area housing many day laborers decades ago. It is still quite safe compared to most other countries. The typical room is a three tatami mat sized room of about 5 square meters (53 sq. ft.), with fridge, television and air-conditioning. The bedding is Japanese style (futon set and pillow). All hotels listed here cater regularly to backpackers and have some English ability. Just hop out at Minami-Senju Stn and walk down south towards Meiji-Dori (Main road) on Route 464. The further away from the train station you walk the cheaper it gets. About ¥3500 down to ¥2500 for a single, also ¥1500 for dorms are available all along this street (Route 464). Minami-Senju Stn is actually a pretty convenient place to stay - you are 2 stops on the JR Joban Line to Nippori Station to get to the JR Yamanote Line and Keisei Skyliner to Narita, and 3 stops from Ueno for northbound bullet trains, subways, and other JR lines. Minami-Senju Stn also has a Tokyo Metro subway station (H21).

  • Juyoh Hotel (ホテル寿陽), 2-15-3 Kiyokawa (10 min walk south from Minami-senju Stn), 03-3875-5362 (fax: 03-5603-5775), [9]. checkin: 16; checkout: 10. Very nice cheap hotel with both western and Japanese rooms; spartan and cramped but clean. All rooms have AC and fridge. Free green tea and kitchen available by the lobby, two PC's available; free wi-fi in rooms. Rooms with TV ¥250 extra. Each floor has a microwave, restrooms, showers and hair dryer; the restrooms are immaculate. Western rooms face the street and get much more morning traffic noise. Longer stay discounts available. ¥3000~.  edit
  • Family & Bakpak Tokyo Hostel (東京ホステル), 3-12-5 Ryusen (take Hibiya subway line to Minowa Stn (H19), exit 1B), 03-3875-3264, [10]. Dorms from ¥2100/night, private from ¥3500/night.  edit
  • Kangaroo Hotel, 1-21-11 Nihonzutsumi, Taito-ku (10 min walk from Minamisenju Stn), 03-3872-8573 (), [11]. checkin: 16; checkout: 10. Spartan but efficient and recently renovated. Private room, shared bathrooms. Private rooms ¥3300/night, ¥5000 for two together..  edit
  • Hotel New Azuma (ホテルニューあづま), 2-38-3 Kiyokawa, 03-6802-0716. Singles ¥2500-¥3100 depending on the season.  edit
  • Hotel New Koyo (ホテルニュー紅陽), 2-26-13 Nihonzutsumi, 03-3873-0343, [12]. With ground floor kitchen, communal bath, free wi-fi, and fridge on each floor. One of the cheapest option, though rooms are quite cramped. Singles ¥2500-2700 depending on size.  edit
  • Hotel Palace Japan (パレスジャパン), 2-31-6 Kiyokawa, Taito-ku, 03-6458-1540, [13]. checkin: 15; checkout: 10. A somwhat more expensive option among cheap hotels but larger rooms, equipped with TV, AC, fridge and closet. ¥4000~.  edit
  • Hotel Hikari (ホテルヒカリ), 2-39-3 Kiyokawa, Taito-ku, 03-3874-8651 (fax: 03-3874-8652). Offers 3-mat sized Japanese rooms equipped with AC, fridge, and TV. Large communal wash area. Longer stay discounts available. ¥4000~.  edit
  • Hotel Accela (ホテル アクセラ), 1−40−12 Nihonzutsumi, Taito-ku, 03-3871-5568, [14]. checkin: 13; checkout: 10. Offer 3-mat size private rooms, with AC, fridge, TV. Hotel has large communal bath. ¥3800~.  edit
  • Tokyo Backpacker's Hostel, 2-26-13 Nihonzutsumi, 03-3873-0343, [15]. checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. Surprising clean and modern considering the low price. No lockers in the rooms, and only very small ones available in the hallway. Other valuables can be left with reception. Free wifi and a TV in the lobby, as well as a shower room, kitchen and coin laundry. Dorms only ¥2100/night.  edit


  • Andon Ryokan, 2-34-10 Nihonzutsumi (5 min walk from Minowa subway station), 03-3873-8611 (fax: 03-3873-8612), [16]. Run by the same family as New Koyo, this is a well-kept ryokan north of Ueno. ¥8190 for double/twin.  edit
  • Annex Katsutaro Ryokan (アネックス勝太郎旅館), 3-8-4 Yanaka (near Yanaka Ginza shopping district), 03-3828-2500 (fax: 03-3821-5400). Japanese-style rooms, internet available. Built in 2001. 1 person ¥6300, 2 people ¥10,500.  edit
  • Sawanoya Ryokan, 2-3-11 Yanaka (7 min walk from Nezu Stn, 10 min taxi from Ueno Stn), 03-3822-2251 (, fax: 03-3822-2252), [17]. Well-known ryokan, all bedrooms with tatami floors. 2 rooms with bath, the 10 others share two Japanese-style baths and showers. Good neighborhood to simply wander and look at the houses and gardens. Free internet and LAN points in all rooms. Friendly helpful staff. Closed 29 Dec-3 Jan. Single ¥4935-5250 without bathroom, double ¥9240/9870 without/with bath, triple ¥12600/14175 without/with bath.  edit
  • Weekly Nippori Center (ウィークリーセンター日暮里), 3-2-12 Yanaka (8 min. walk from JR Nippori Stn and 3 mins from Sendagi Stn on the Chiyoda Line), 03-5834-015, [18]. From ¥3700 for single to ¥7800 for triple.  edit

Routes through Tokyo/Taito
Tokyo/ShibuyaTokyo/Chiyoda  W noframe E  Tokyo/SumidaChiba

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