Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kanda Region

Ok, it's time to pull all of this together. First, the map. This is a small section of Tokyo, and we're starting on the JR Yamanote line just north of Tokyo station. Ride the Yamanote line to Akihabara and get off here. Follow the signs to the Electric Town exit.

3 - You're here, in the station.
Head out of the station to the north. Cross the taxi plaza and the first street.

2 - You're now at the UDX building.

On the fourth floor is the Tokyo Anime Center. On the ground floor around to the back, in front of Tully's Coffee is the Plaza, where occasional music events are held. On the second floor is an open rest area that is often used for events and trade shows. The Enta Matsuri was held here. Return to the front of the UDX building and head east under the bridge. Continue east one block past the FujiSoft building and turn north. Walk about 2 blocks.

1 - Heidi Club

A theme cafe and goods shop dedicated to the "Heidi, girl of the Alps" anime, on the second floor. They have good pastries here. Buy one and a cup of coffee. After you're rested, return to the front of the UDX building and walk west 2 blocks. You're now on Chuu-Ou Dori, and in the heart of the electronics stores, anime shops, and maid cafes. This is what most people talk about when they mention Akihabara, and Electric Town.

4 - Yushima Shrine

Pick a road heading west and walk about 6 blocks (1/2 mile) (or return to the Akihabara station and take the Sobu line 1 stop to Ochanomizu. Yushima will be to the north, then east.) When you see a long, low, white-gray plaster wall, you'll know that you're at Yushima. The entrance is at the far southeastern corner of the compound, facing Ochanomizu station. To get to Kanda Myojin, just follow the compound wall around to get to the north side, and head northwest about 1 block.

5 - Kanda Myojin

This is one of the 3 primary shrines in Tokyo, and is the home point for 2 big matsuri (festivals) held in alternating years. It's not a big shrine, but still impressive. When you're done offering your prayers for health and prosperity, walk along the wall across the street to get to the southeastern corner to enter Yushima Shrine.

8 - Nicholai Do

The Russian Orthodox Church, first built in 1890. To get here is a little tricky. From the entrance to Yushima, cross the street and try to follow Hongo Dori, from the east side of Ochanomizu station. Go about 1 block southeast, and when you get to the dogleg, turn west and go about 20 yards. There aren't that many signs here, so you're looking for the dark green dome sticking up above the walls. Afterwards, take a side street west 2 short blocks to get to Meidai Dori.

9 - Music Instrument Street

This is where to go to get a guitar or violin. It's also the heart of the Meiji University campus. The little kitsune shrine is also on this street. When you're done drooling over the stratocasters, take Meidai Dori south to Yasukuni Dori.

7 - Outdoor Sports Street

If you head east, you'll go through the sports stores. Keep going east and you can reach Chuu-ou Dori and return to Akihabara to complete the loop. But, you really want to head west.

6 - Jimbocho

You're now in the Used Books District. Buy a book or video disk, and read the book at one of the many ramen shops here. Or, return to Akihabara and read your book at Heidi Club.

It takes less than an hour to just walk the entire route. Of course, you can spread it out over a full week if you want, depending on how much shopping and sightseeing you want to do in the middle.

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