(See page 2 for the German version)
Somewhere between Nippori and Ueno, some of Tokyo’s main tourist hotspots, you can also find Yanaka (谷中), a local neighborhood with narrow streets, old houses and small temples. Yanaka is often seen as part of the ‘original’ and local Tokyo. This is – luckily – not an area with high-rising skyscrapers and ultra-modern entertainment centers, instead it offers a very neighborly atmosphere and cats – Yanaka is indeed famous for its many domestic felines, which can be also seen in the various cat motifs in stores and at street corners.
You could start your stroll at Nishi-Nippori Station, cross the big Yanaka cemetery, which dates back to the Edo period and on which there can be found more than 7,000 graves, and then head to the Yanaka Ginza, Yanaka’s famous shopping street. Here there are many small shops selling handmade decorative items, tea, traditional Japanese sweets or other things. Each store is an original and a little bit unique, so it’s fun to have a look around there; I btw. especially liked this store that was selling delicious Taiyaki, a Japanese pastry, in the shape of a cat! Afterwards you could also go to Nezu Shrine , or even just walk back towards the cemetery, to a little Buddhist temple area, where there supposedly are about 100 temples that were built really close by.
I really like Yanaka’s local charm and of course the many cats and cat motives there, – finally a Tokyo district that has character! I’ve even seriously considered moving there, but well, moving is expensive, and so for now I am satisfied with just visiting the area from time to time to take photos…