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Discover the Photogenic Charms of Yanaka Ginza: A Guide for Photography Enthusiasts



2023.04.13 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

Despite drastically changing business trends, the Yanaka Ginza Shopping Arcade has made great efforts to preserve the old Japanese culture of the shopping district. As a result, this classic Japanese shopping area is gaining new appreciation as a destination for photography enthusiasts, who are discovering numerous beautifully photogenic spots throughout the district. While the practical or economic benefits of the arcade may have been questioned in the past, its appeal as a picturesque location is becoming increasingly undeniable.

For many, a visit to Yanaka means enjoying a diverse selection of gourmet foods that are almost too pretty to eat. But it's not just the food that's photogenic! Today we will explore some of the more popular photogenic spots.

One of the most charming places here is "Hatsune Koji". When you enter Hatsune Koji, you might feel like you've stepped into another world. The alley is only 30 meters long, but it's full of different restaurants and bars. During the day, it's very dark and quiet, and it still has the same Showa-era atmosphere that it has had since it was founded in 1949.

While you may not see many actual cats in the shopping arcade, the city loves cats, and you'll find plenty of cat merchandise and figurines throughout. Keep your camera ready for the incredibly realistic white cat figurine on the roof!

As you reach the end of the shopping street, you'll come to the famous "Yuyake Dandan" stairs. This staircase is gentle with a 15-degree incline and has 36 steps. In the evening, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery as the setting sun hits all over the stairs. The name "Yuyake Dandan" was chosen in a public contest, and it's a photogenic spot where you can see old people walking their dogs and students in school uniforms coming and going.

Whether it's the cascading staircase, the narrow alleys, the ubiquitous cat motif, or even a shop specializing in Turkish mosaic lamps, Yanaka is full of photo opportunities that you won't want to miss! Yanaka Ginza is only a 5-minute walk from Sendagi Subway Station so grab your camera and come explore!

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