Tokyo Travel Guide: Yotsuya

Yotsuya is known for its vast array of cultural and historical attractions. Although it’s close to the bustling Shinjuku districts, Yotsuya has a relaxed suburban vibe.

The neighborhood of Yotsuya is known for its vast array of cultural and historical attractions. Although it’s a short train-ride away from the bustling Asakusa and Shinjuku districts, Yotsuya has a more relaxed suburban vibe. Yotsuya is home to some of Japan’s most iconic institutions, such as the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, one of the most popular Cherry Blossom Viewing destinations during the Sakura season, and Sophia University.

Autumn in the Shinjuku Park, Tokyo, Japan

What To See and Do

If you want to learn more about Japanese culture and history, Yotsuya is a great place to explore. First, there’s Sophia University, one of the leading private universities in Japan. This private research university was founded in 1913 and was established based on the principles of the Spanish Jesuit way of teaching.

Main Buildings of Sophie University, Yotsuya

Next is the Akasaka State Guest House. This European style building was inspired by France’s Palace of Versailles. It was built in 1909 and has served as the accommodation of European royals and leaders while on diplomatic visits to the country. Although the building is closed to the public, it’s worth exploring the scenic views around the building.

Akasaka State Guest House

If you’ve seen Kill Bill, then you’re surely familiar with Hattori Hanzo. This is a real character and you can visit his grave in Yotsuya. Legend has it that Hattori Hanzo was the most talented ninja during the Edo Period and was working for the Tokugawa (a powerful daimyo) family.

Hattori Hanzo’s grave

When visiting the neighborhood during the Sakura season, make sure you drop by at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. This is one of the best places to marvel at the picturesque blooms of the Cherry Blossom.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Image from

The streets of Teramachi in Yotsuya are lined with little shops selling all sorts of products. So join the crowd of shoppers and check out the souvenirs, local handicrafts, clothing, bags, and more! This is also where you’ll find street food stalls selling Japanese delights, such as the taiyaki. These are freshly baked sweets shaped like a fish with red bean paste filling and are truly worth a try especially for lovers of sweets.

Making Taiyaki

If you’re brave enough, take time to discover the ghost story of Yotsuya when nighttime comes. Yotsuya is the location of Japan’s most popular ghost story, the Yotsuya Kaidan or the “Ghost Story of Yotsuya”. Here, you’ll find a small temple dedicated to the character and her ghost.

Getting Around

When exploring Yotsuya, it is best to start at Sophia University, which is just a few minutes walk from the JR Yotsuya Station. Continue your walk and after about 5 minutes, you’ll find the Akasaka State Guest House. The magnificent European style building is definitely hard to miss.

Akasaka State Guest House

After spending some time exploring the surrounding areas of the Akasaka State Guest House, walk further down until you reach Seinenji Temple where you’ll find Hattori Hanzo’s grave. Simply follow the small path that will take you to the tomb that stands apart from the rest.

Seinenji Temple, Yotsuya

From the grave, head to the Teramachi streets to check out the interesting products on display at the little shops that line the streets. Before heading back to the train station, make a stop at the small temple that’s dedicated to the character of the Ghost Story of Yotsuya.

How to Reach Yotsuya

The best way to reach Yotsuya is by taking a train and then getting off at the Yotsuya Station. Four train lines would pass by this station, the JR Chuo-Sobu (Local), JR Chuo (Rapid), Tokyo Metro Namboku, and Tokyo Metro Marunouchi.

From the station, everything in the neighborhood is within easy reach. In fact, the station’s central location to both the subway and JR lines is one of the biggest reasons why the area has become one of the most in-demand residential neighborhoods in Tokyo.

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