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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.

The neighborhood

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.

Akasaka Palace

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.

Akasaka Sacas

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.

Hie-jinja Shrine

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.

Hikawa Shrine

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.

Toyokawa-Inari-jinja Shrine

A Shinto shrine dedicated to the deity Inari, full of statuettes of kitsune (holy foxes).

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

View Akasaka in a larger map

Guided tours, activities and other things to do

If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Govoyagin.

How to use Govoyagin

Govoyagin is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Govoyagin you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Govoyagin you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

Take a look at Govoyagin

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