By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
Ueno Station is a busy travel hub in Tokyo and the museums in Ueno Park are some of the best in the country. On the opposite side of the park away from the station, the Yanaka district begins. It is offers a sharp contrast to other areas of the capital that are all modern development and big buildings.
Although Yanaka is close to Ueno and Asakusa, it has a very different atmosphere. Yanaka is a relatively small district that feels charming and retro. Between mostly residential buildings and many shrines and temples, you can find little cafés, galleries, restaurants, and craft shops. Explore Yanaka on foot and explore its – by Tokyo standards - narrower and quieter streets. You could also rent a bicycle to explore more.
Here are a few suggestions for visiting Tokyo’s old Yanaka district:
“Where to stay in Tokyo – Yanaka. This old town neighborhood is one of Tokyo’s hidden gems: Yanaka, small streets, craft shops, little cafes, and local restaurants set in a slice of old Tokyo.” https://authentic-tokyo.com/news/detail?news_id=642
“Breakfast & brunch in Tokyo’s old Yanaka district: Start your day at a local Yanaka café” https://authentic-tokyo.com/news/detail?news_id=661
“Seeing Japanese art & design in Tokyo’s Ueno and Yanaka districts - Visit one of Japan’s best museums, the beautiful home of a painter, and the studio of a sculptor” https://authentic-tokyo.com/news/detail?news_id=694
“A walk around Yanaka Cemetery” https://authentic-tokyo.com/news/detail?news_id=486
Yanaka has a great selection of mostly small local shops and cafés. Visiting a few is a great way to spend a lazy day exploring the area.
Patissier Chocolatier Inamura Shozo
This is the place to go if you love chocolate. Cakes and cocolates at Patissier Chocolatier Inamura Shozo are beautifully put together and very tasty. This is a French patisserie with a Japanese twist, located a 2-minute walk from JR Nippori Station’s West Exit. Give yourself a chocoholic treat here.
Address: 7-19-5 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
A few minutes’ walk further towards Yanaka Ginza, you can try Japanese sweets and green tea at Yanaka Kenshindo. This café serves fun versions of traditional Japanese sweets like dango (sweet rice dumplings) or oshiruku (a sweet dessert soup made with beans). It is a great place to try some typically Japanese flavors, such as the playfully decorated chocolate-covered dango set, a non-traditional version of an old favorite.
Address: 3-11-15 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
This short shopping street is very popular destination for foodies. Read more: “Yanaka Ginza - shopping for foodies and cat lovers in this charming old Tokyo district: Try Japanese style “tabe-aruki” and explore the area eating and walking” https://authentic-tokyo.com/news/detail?news_id=643
For lunch or dinner there are also many options here. Take a look around and don’t be afraid to check out even some of the tiny places. Some of Yanaka’s old buildings house cafes and restaurants: “Tokyo travel – Yanaka’s retro restaurants and bars: Enjoy good food in the relaxed atmosphere of old buildings” https://authentic-tokyo.com/news/detail?news_id=677
Please check in advance for business hours and holidays if you want to visit specific shops.