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.
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.
Katsu Kaishu House Ruins (Residence of Tamachi Era)
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.
Restaurant street (Nakagawa, Chiyoshin, Kinryu)
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.
Furoko-oka (Akasaka Fudoson, former Hikawa Shrine Site)
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.
Remains of Ooka Echizen Moriyashiki (formerly Akasaka Koseki)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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