#1. Kanda Shrine
Photo Credit: Manish Prabhune@Flickr.com
It is believed that the Kanda Shrine (神田明神) has more than 1,300 years of history. When Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate of the Edo period moved Japan’s capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. This shrine was moved to its current place in 1616 as a guardian for the city. To create Japan’s new capital in Tokyo, he carefully planned on how to protect Japan’s new capital by using ancient religious methods like “Feng Shui”.
He found the area could become a place where evil spirits would enter into the city. So he moved the Kanda Shrine which was considered one of the most important shrines for the Edo government to protect the city. This beautiful multi-colored shrine is located between a quiet and quaint neighborhood will take you back to Japan’s ancient times.
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Address: 2-16-2, Sotokanda, Chiyoda ward, Tokyo
Access: 5 minute walk from Ochamomizu Station
Website: Kanda Shrine
#2. Yushima Sacred Hall
Photo Credit: taken_spc@flickr
Yushima Sacred Hall (湯島聖堂) was built in 1690, it is a center of educational institution for the government elite and officials of the Edo period during the Tokugawa shogunate. At that time, the Japanese government wanted citizens to learn about ethics and philosophy from Confucius. He was one of the greatest scholar and philosophers of mainland China.
The students bound to be the next leaders of the Edo government studied his philosophy at this building. The teachings contribute attitudes and morals of the Japanese people today. Just by walking in the building, you will feel the serenity and tranquility even though you are near the busy streets of Tokyo.
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Yushima Sacred Hall
Address: 1-4-25 Yushima, Bunkyo ward, Tokyo
Access: 2 minute walk from Ochamomizu Station
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM (Normal Season)
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM (Winter)
Website: Yushima Sacred Hall (Japanese)
#3. Yushima Tenman-gu Shrine
Photo Credit: Marufish@Flickr
This shrine enshrines one of the great scholar, Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真) dating back to the 1st Century. People come and visit this “Yushima Tenman-gu (湯島天満宮)” to pray to achieve good scores or to be able to succeed in entering good schools or universities. The shrine is known to possess beautiful Japanese plum trees that bloom in February. Every year in February, a festival of Japanese plum flowers takes place in the shrine to enjoy the sign of spring with magnificent flowers.
This temple is a Shinto shrine devoted to Tenjin, the God of Learning. The University of Tokyo is close by and many students come here to pray for good exam scores and good grades. In 1355 the shrine was expanded to include Tenjinas as well. The shrine was rebuilt in 1455 by order of the warlord Ota Dokan. Since Tenjin is associated with plums, there is a plum festival in February or March depending on when the trees bloom.
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Yushima Tenman-gu Shrine
Address: 1-4-25 Yushima, Bunkyo ward, Tokyo
Access: 2 minute walk from Yushima Station
Website: Yushima Tenman-gu Shrine (Japanese)
#4. Authentic Public Bath, “Tsubame-Yu”
Photo Credit: yamauchi@Flickr
One way to experience an aspect of Japanese culture, you should try Tsubame-Yu (燕湯) in Yushima. It is a traditional sento (銭湯) style public bath, local people come to enjoy themselves and relax.
Photo Credit: Yuya Tamai@Flickr
Public baths are not for everyone, so just going to see the historic building could be interesting. There are rules at public baths and everyone must follow them.
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Address: 3-14-15 Ueno, Taito ward, Tokyo
Access: 5 minute walk from Yushima Station
Hours: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
*Closed on Mondays
Website: Tsubame-Yu (Japanese)
#5. University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo was the first university established in Japan in 1877 after the modernization. This is one of the most prestigious universities and leading research institutions attracting students from all around the world. The main Hongo Campus is located close to Yushima.
It is a national university, so anyone can walk around the huge campus located in the heart of Tokyo. On campus, there are reasonable price cafeterias, modern cafes, and elegant restaurants that anyone can visit for meals.
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University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus
Address: 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo ward, Tokyo
Access: 8 minute walk to the Main Gate from Yushima Station
Website: Tokyo University
The famous Ueno district has museums, parks, and busy market streets that are popular among tourists, it is only a walking distance from the Yushima area.
Ueno Park is a great place to view cherry blossoms and there are many national art museums.