Travelogues

Akasaka Historic Walk

I stay in Akasaka every time I am in Tokyo because of the proximity to my office. But there’s more to this business district close to the Palace.

赤坂史跡めぐり〜大名屋敷と幕臣の町、赤坂-

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赤坂史跡めぐり〜大名屋敷と幕臣の町、赤坂

赤坂が拓けたのは、徳川家康が江戸に入府してからのこと。その頃は、まだ町の形をなしていませんでしたが、寛永12年(1635)の参勤交代の義務化と寛永13年の江戸城の総構えの完成で江戸は急速に人口が増加。赤坂にも大名の中・下屋敷・旗本の屋敷ができ、町としての形を整えていきました。

Akasaka, the town of the daimyo mansion and the Shogunate, was opened only after Ieyasu Tokugawa entered Edo. At that time, it was not yet a town, but the population has rapidly increased in Kanagawa in 1635 as a result of the mandatory replacement of employees and the completion of the Edo Castle’s general structure in Kanei in 2013. In Akasaka, there were also Daimyo’s Naka, Shimo-yashiki, and Hashimoto’s mansions, and the town was shaped.

江戶時代初期,此地周遭為大名屋敷。1856年(安政3年)的繪圖中可見紀伊和歌山藩德川家上屋敷、尾張名古屋藩德川家中屋敷、近江彦根藩井伊家中屋敷。此外,紀尾井坂往南至辨慶橋的低地因有清水湧出而稱「清水谷」。

明治以後此地陸續設立政府用地、北白川宮邸(現赤坂王子大飯店)與伏見宮邸 (現新大谷飯店)、行政裁判所(現城西大學)、尾張德川邸(現上智大學)等。1874年(明治7年),岩倉具視在赤坂喰違附近遭到襲擊。1878年(明治11年),當時的內務卿大久保利通在清水谷前的道路遭到暗殺。事後,現場附近設立大久保利通哀悼碑,後改建為清水谷公園。

過去屬番町和山之手地區的一部分,為一處綠意盎然且優雅的住宅區。自1975年以來,辦公大樓陸續進駐,飯店群、餐廳、上智大學的擴大、企業本社大樓與演唱會場地、議員宿舍等形成今日的樣貌。

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勝海舟邸跡(田町時代の住居跡)

勝海舟邸跡(田町時代の住居跡)

Katsu Kaishu House Ruins (Residence of Tamachi Era)

勝海舟は蘭学勉強のため、深川から赤坂に移転しここに住んだ。蘭学塾を開き、幕府に提出した「開国の意見書」が認められ幕府役人に。

Count Katsu Yasuyoshi, best known by his nickname Katsu Kaishū, was a Japanese statesman and naval engineer during the late Tokugawa shogunate and early Meiji period.

Katsu Kaishu moved from Fukagawa to Akasaka to study Dutch and lived here. Opened a Dutch school and submitted to the Shogunate the opinion of opening the country to foreign influence and cultures.

The original building is gone. In is place is an interesting karaoke called Pasela Resorts. With decor that is a cut above the other yodelling parlours, Pasela offers floors of karaoke rooms (including swanky VIP suites), an extensive selection of Western songs, and wine, champagne and sweets on the menu.

料亭街(中川・千代新・金龍)

Restaurant street (Nakagawa, Chiyoshin, Kinryu)

明治中頃より昭和50年代まで大いに栄えた赤坂の花柳界。第2次世界大戦後、全盛明を誇った料亭も今は金龍などが残るのみ。

Akasaka’s “flower and willow world” (an elegant way to say the red light district) that flourished greatly from the middle of the Meiji era until the 1970s. After World War II, the Ryotei restaurants flourished and it got the nickname of the Restaurant Street during its heyday, Now only Golden Dragon 金龍 remains.

古呂子丘(赤坂不動尊・元氷川神社跡)

Furoko-oka (Akasaka Fudoson, former Hikawa Shrine Site)

溜池を見晴らす台地に江戸時代以前から威徳寺(赤坂不動尊)や氷川神社が創建された。氷川神社は享保年間に現赤坂6丁目に移転。

On a plateau overlooking the reservoir, Eitokuji Temple (Akasaka Fudoson) and Hikawa Shrine were founded before the Edo period. Hikawa Shrine moved to Akasaka 6-chome during the Kyoho period.

The temple has evolved to a modern building that housed a funeral parlour and a columbarium. The site of the Hikawa Shrine is now site of an excellent shabu-shabu restaurant.

大岡越前守屋敷跡(旧赤坂小跡)

Remains of Ooka Echizen Moriyashiki (formerly Akasaka Koseki)

将軍吉宗の時代、南町奉行として町火消し、小石川療養所、目安箱の設置など「享保の改革」を支えた大岡越前守の下屋敷。

In the era of Shogun Yoshimune, Ooka Echizen Mamoru Shimojiki supported the “Kyoho Reform”, such as extinguishing the town as a Minamimachi magistrate, setting up a Koishikawa sanatorium, and setting a guide box.

Slight detour

Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin 豊川稲荷東京別院

Toyokawa Inari Temple in Tokyo, Akasaka district is a Buddhist temple that worships a Shinto deity, the fox god, or Inari. Toyokawa Inari Temple (豊川稲荷) is a temple of the main Toyokawa Inari Temple, a Soto Zen temple located in Toyokawa City, Aichi Prefecture about 32mi away south-east from Nagoya. The temple’s true name is 妙厳寺 (Myōgon-ji), or full name is Enpukuzan Toyokawa-kaku, Myōgon-ji (円福山 豊川閣 妙厳寺).

Despite the torii gate at the entrance, and the popular identification of its main image of veneration (a Senju Kannon) with Inari Okami, the Shinto kami of fertility, rice, agriculture, industry and worldly success, the institution is a Buddhist temple and has no overt association with the Shinto religion.

Even it is located in the busiest district in Tokyo, once you get into the temple, it feels like being in a quiet sanctuary. Toyokawa Inari Temple in Akasaka is one of the most unusual and outstanding temples in Japan with thousands of foxes statues which guard the great temple from evils.

Juntoku who was the third son of the 13th century Emperor is said to have had a religiously inspired image of the god Dakini-Shinten riding a white fox. Toyokawa Inari as a Buddhist temple was under threat of obliteration by way of the forceful switch to a Shinto shrine in the early Meiji era of Japanese history when the state promoted original Shinto at the expense of imported Buddhism as part of the new government’s modernizing, nationalistic drive to define what was Japanese.

The present site of Toyokawa Inari Akasaka was built in Moto-Akasaka in 1828. In 1887, Significantly, the statue of Dakini-Shinten was enshrined here at the peak of the Meiji government’s persecution of Buddhism, to reaffirm the temple’s Buddhist credentials.

The temple is also unique inside for two things in particular. One is the thousand red flags that flutter here for the health, safety, and wealth of petitioners. The other is the hundreds of fox statues and even a few frog statues, mostly in stone, and in different shapes, sizes, postures, expressions, and degrees of wear and tear, that decorate the grounds.

Nearby Akasaka-Mitsuke, just a couple of hundred feet down Aoyama-Dori Avenue. It was a leading red-light district since the Edo era, and this might be why Toyokawa Inari is now the temple visited by Japanese in the music and entertainment industry. That is most evident on New Year’s Eve, December 31, when actors, singers, TV personalities, designers, artists, writers, and anyone in the creative arts pray to the Benzaiten enshrined here for good fortune in the year to come.

Now back to the tour

丹後坂

Tangozaka

元禄元年(1688)に開かれたと推定され、赤坂の中でも古い坂。米倉丹後守(西尾丹後守ともいう)邸があったのでこう呼ばれた。

It is presumed to have been opened in the first year of Genroku (1688), and is the oldest slope in Akasaka. Yonekura Tango Mamoru (also called Nishio Tango Mamoru) had a residence, so the slope was called Tangozaka.

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黒級谷

江戸城内の庭仕事や土木作業などに従事した黒蹴者の組屋敷があったのでこう呼ばれた。1軒、70坪ほどの屋敷が与えられた。

It was called because there was a group of black kickers who were engaged in garden work and civil engineering work in Edo Castle in Kurokaya. One house, about 70 tsubo, was provided.

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末広神社

末広神社

将軍綱吉の側室お伝の方がこの地(黒鍬者)の出身であったため、ここに稲荷を勧請した。今は氷川神社に合配されている。

Since the side room legend of Suehiro Shrine General Tsunayoshi was from this area (Kurohosha), he recommended Inari here. Now it is distributed to Hikawa Shrine.

円通寺

Entsuji

寛永2年(1625)三分坂上で創建。元禄8年(1695)火事で焼失し、現在地に。江戸時代には時の鐘一つとして、町の人びとに時を告げていた。

Kanei 2nd year (1625) It is founded in Sanbun-Sakagami. It was destroyed by fire in Genroku 8 (1695) and returned to its current location. In the Edo period, it was a time bell that told the people of the town.

The rest of the walk back to Akasaka Mitsune, you will go past a nice, quiet neighbourhood.

Walking back to modernity

The walk back, you will go pass the TBC building, the main office for Tokyo Broadcasting Corporation.

It is a nice walk around the neighbourhood. A slow walk and stopover in Inari will take 2 hours, but a brisk walk up and down the hill for a nice workout will only take 45 min.

Date Visited : Sep 2019

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