[Tokyo] A place to replenish your mind and body Ideas for spending a day off in Kagurazaka
[Tokyo] Kagurazaka, a place you'll be glad you came!
On your days off, you might want to relax your mind, not just your body.
If so, let's head to Kagurazaka and look for some good places to enjoy.
We'll stroll up the sloped street filled with atmoshphere and stop by some shrines and temples.
We can see a movie, do some shopping, and just go with the flow of our mood.
Then when you finish with something good to eat, you should be feeling as good as new again.
[Tokyo] Relaxing stroll in Kagurazaka
You will see a variety of landmarks when you up the hill from Kagurazaka-shita.
Don't forget to sometimes venture off into the side streets.
Paying a visit to "Bishamon-sama" in Kagurazaka
Bishamonten Zenkoku-ji Temple
When you walk up the Kagurazaka slope a little way, you will see the bright cinnabar gate of the Bishamonten Zenkoku-ji Temple. Bishamonten is one of the seven gods of good fortune that was originally worshipped in ancient India. The Bishamonten Zenkoku-ji Temple was founded in 1595, and for 400 years since then, the god was affectionately known locally as Bishamon-sama (Sir Bishamon, perhaps), and people believed that he always listened to their many desires. We encourage you to stop here, too, when you come to Kagurazaka.
At the left and right sides of the Main Hall (Hondo) are two stone tigers that are unusual in Tokyo. Their rounded shapes are very pleasing to look at.
Bishamonten Zenkoku-ji Temple
5-36 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku
Telephone reception: 9:00-18:00
Good to explore Kagurazaka side streets
There are lots of narrow streets in Kagurazaka, all of which have great atmosphere. During the stroll, let's wander into some side streets and see what's back there.
When you go into the narrow street across from Bishamonten Zenkoku-ji Temple, you'll get to Hyogo Yokocho with its stone paving and high fences.
A stylish shrine under a blue sky
Akagi Shrine, home of the local Shinto deity Ushigome Sochinju
When you go through the large Torii gate, you will come to a modern prayer hall that, on a sunny day, will constrast beautifully against the blue sky. At the condominium that was built next to it on the same grounds, residents respectfully make a short bow to Ushigome Sochinju before entering. This unusual scene is the result of a renewal project undertaken by Akagi Shrine that for more than 700 years has been the guardian of the faith for the local Ushigome Sochinju deity, and now, with this stylish new development, Ushigome Sochinju continues to watch over nearby residents and visitors who come to Kagurazaka.
The glass-covered prayer hall was designed and supervised by the architect Kengo Kuma.
Kagura Hall that was rebuilt under the renewal project. Akagi Shrine is also known as the deity of entertainment arts, which attracts many artists and people in the entertainment industry to come here and pray for a big hit.
A cute-looking guardian lion-dog figurine that is used to adorn entryways and household altars.
The Medama Oyaji Omamori (an amulet), that makes it easier for you to see your way forward, and the Chanchanko Omamori (another amulet), that helps you to avoid bad luck, were designed by the late Shigeru Mizuki, a manga artist whose animé bacame a hit after he prayed for success at Akagi Shrine.
1-10 Akagi-motomachi, Shinjuku-ku
Shrine office: 9:00-17:00
A Kagurazaka landmark that appears at the top of the slope
When you reach the top of the Kagurazaka slope and want to catch your breath, you might want to drop in at la kagū, an interior goods shop in a renovated old building that used to be the warehouse of Shinchosha, a publisher. The simple design of the building is tasteful. When you venture inside, however, you'll discover a huge cozy space that might surprise you. On display are wide selections of high-quality fashions, furniture, sundries and books, all selected by specialists they call "curators" in the various departments. The café on the 1st floor was renovated in 2016 and is the first Tokyo shop of La Madrague, a long-established café of Kyoto. Here you can treat yourself to the flavors of a prestigious tradition.
The food includes their famous egg sandwich and Napolitan spaghetti, and you can also enjoy a delicious cup of coffee.
The spacious book area. These books were selected by Book Curator Yoshitaka Haba.
67 Yarai-cho, Shinjuku-ku
Open: Shop 11:00-20:30
Café11:00-20:30 （last orders 20:00）
Real coffee you can enjoy at leisure
Swing by coffee
This coffee shop just opened in December 2016, but it has already established a solid reputation in the area. Their specialty is hand-dripped coffee at affordable prices, and there are more than 10 types of coffee available at any one time. You can be adventurous with the coffee-of-the-day and then follow that up with your own choice for the second cup; there are lots of ways to enjoy coffee here. The breads and pastries displayed on the counter are freshly baked by the wife of the owner Yuta Narita, and these are popular, too.
A selection of around 10 types of specialty coffee at ¥325 per cup. They're intended for take-out, but you can also enjoy your coffee while relaxing on a retro chair in the shop if you like.
A small shop in a side street. Inside is a warm, natural atmosphere.
Bread and baked sweets on display along the counter. Many customers apparently come just to see the display!
Swing by coffee
Onozawa Mansion 1F, 78 Tenjin-cho, Shinjuku-ku
Closed: Tuesdays & Wednesdays