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Former geisha district turned trendy shopping/dining district, Kaguarazaka is a unique destination that contains elements of both the traditional and the modern. Established as a prominent geisha district during the Edo Period (1603 – 1867), a number of the geisha houses and traditional restaurants have survived to this day providing a cultural experience. In contrast, luxury dining as well as trendy boutiques and shops surround these traditional establishments presenting a distinctive contrast between time periods.
Kagurazaka is home to many of the remaining geisha houses and traditional Japanese restaurants that were built in the area in the past, a majority of which are hidden in the back alleys of the district. Because of the nature of the establishments, you can expect to see hints of traditional Japanese motifs with the architecture and stone-paved roads, taking you back in time. This quieter area will surely provide a relaxing stroll as you enjoy the tranquil environment.
Akagi Shrine, while having a history that spans 700 years, is considered one of Japan’s most stylish shrines thanks to renovations made in 2010 to fit the relatively modern surroundings. While it is extremely unusual to see, Akagi Shrine makes use of glass walls all the while keeping the traditional aesthetic with a mainly wooden structure with the roof and pillars. Although the use of pop culture in shrines is not unheard of, the renovated structures will give visitors a truly unique shrine visit experience. Be sure to visit the Akagi Café, located on the shrine grounds, afterwards for a quick bite or drink.
The shopping experience in Kagurazaka can be described as non-conventional. While visitors can find your typical clothing or souvenir store, the district also contains unique shops not abundant in Tokyo that specialize in specific products or themes. For example, the Cat Post Office offers goods of all types that are all themed after cats while Honoka sells handmade chopsticks that would be a perfect souvenir from Japan. If you are looking for produce or food related shops, consider a visit to Melon and Roman where, as you can guess, melons are the sole focus or to Akome Tokyo to find foods that typically cannot be found on the market or even at department stores.
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