When you put together Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi, you get Yanesen, a Tokyo area whose name comes from the first letters of the neighborhoods that comprise it. Do you remember the name of this area? Yanesen was visited by many people around the world. There are many famous tourist attractions such as Nezu-jinja Shrine.
But you also get so much more. Yanesen is still one of the most fascinating parts of Japan’s capital, which is evident as soon as you step outside the West Exit of Nippori Station and look up to see the station name written in a fun and quirky way, with cat ears, paws, and a tail incorporated into the sign design.
Yanesen is known for its street cats, but more so for its historical buildings. If you’re in a hurry, you can soak up a lot of the local history at Ueno Sakuragi Atari. Built over 80 years ago, this complex of three traditional buildings today houses a bakery, a beer hall, and specialty shops. But if you want to take your time to get to know Yanesen better, consider spending the night there by booking a room at the YANAKA SOW, a hotel that describes itself as "a place between living and staying" where you can feel at home even if it’s for just one night. YANAKA SOW takes pride in various artists and how their works, which are in line with said concept, adorn the lounge and the guest rooms.
If you’re serious about art, you’ll want to hit the University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts. The Tokyo University of the Arts was established in 1949 and is the only national art university in Japan. Today, it houses over 30,000 pieces of art: a number of which include works prior to the establishment of its predecessor, the Tokyo Fine Arts School, in 1887. If you prefer the art of the common man, also worth checking out is the Shokichi Hand Puppet Theatre where you can catch a performance of handcrafted traditional puppets. The show features no dialogue so you can enjoy it even if you can’t speak Japanese. You can even enjoy it on YouTube now! All that and more awaits you in Yanesen.
Ueno Sakuragi Atari
The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts
Shokichi Hand Puppet Theatre