last update: January 12, 2015
Akasaka is a high level commercial and residential district in the special ward of Minato. It is near Roppongi
and it is certainly not one of the main areas to visit if you are coming for the first time in Tokyo.
Akasaka is one of the most international neighborhoods of the city, a lot of embassies and foreign institutes are located there. For the rest, there is nothing that is really worth visiting, it is a neighborhood recommended for those who already know the city.
An ancient imperial palace in neo-Baroque
style, since 1974 it is used as an official residence for foreign authorities on a state visit to the country. The first person to be hosted in this location was the former president of the US Gerald Ford
The building was built in 1909 and designed by Katayama Tokuma
, one of the most important architects that introduced Western architecture in Japan at the turn of the nineteenth century and the twentieth century.
It is difficult to be able to visit the building inside (only by guided tour and at certain times of the year), a view and some pictures from outside, if you're in the area, is enough.
This complex consists of three main buildings: the headquarters of TBS
(Tokyo Broadcasting System), a theater (Akasaka ACT Theater
) and a skyscraper called Biz Tower
, in whose lower floors there are many shops and restaurants serving mainly international food.
In order to reach this temple you have to climb a short but steep staircase going under so many orange torii. The old shrine was destroyed during the World War II, the present buildings date back to 1967.
This temple is famous mostly for a traditional festival which is considered one of the most important of Tokyo, the Sanno Matsuri
: a procession of about 500 people that starts from this shrine and parades for about 20 kilometers before going back to the starting point. The festival is held during even numbered years around the middle of June, and during the week of the festival many other small events take place within the temple. A visit is highly recommended if you're in Tokyo during the matsuri, the rest of the year you can simply ignore it.
There can be at least two reasons to visit this unknown shrine: a first reason could be that you are a fan of Sailor Moon
, this shrine is in fact that one which inspired the authoress to draw the temple of Sailor Mars (Rei Hino) in the anime.
A second case is if you are in Tokyo in mid-September, when the matsuri festival organized by the temple takes place. Although it is not certainly one of the most famous festivals, it is worth to drop by.
For the rest, it is a simple Shinto shrine as many others in Japan.
A Shinto shrine dedicated to the deity Inari, full of statuettes of kitsune
Sleeping: where to stay in Akasaka, recommended accommodation
In Akasaka there are some luxury hotels, for example the ANA Intercontinental Hotel
or the Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa
Akasaka is one of the neighborhoods where some legends like "Tokyo, the most expensive city in the world" were born, in fact a house here can cost several millions (in euros).
There isn't any budget accommodation, just a few mid-range hotels, such as the Sunroute Akasaka
, or the MyStays Akasaka
(studios with discounted rates for stays of one week or more).
Pratical guide, how to get to Akasaka
The metro station of Akasaka
(Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line
) is practically located under the complex Akasaka Sacas.
Map of Akasaka, Tokyo