Akasaka (赤坂) is a well-known nightspot located north of Roppongi and, like its neighbour, it has a very cosmopolitan and international feel. The area between Akasaka Station and Akasaka-Mitsuke Station (which lie but a few hundred meters from each other) is an excellent place to explore at night—you will be spoilt for choice with the number of restaurants and bars. Hie Shrine is also a 5-minute walk from Akasaka-Mitsuke Station.

The History of Akasaka

During the Edo period feudal lords were placed around the area to protect the western side of Edo Castle from attack, Akasaka’s high ground making it a natural vantage point (Akasaka-Mitsuke means “Red Hill Lookout”). The presence of these feudal lords and their entourage attracted merchants, and the area of Akasaka-Mitsuke and nearby Tameike-Sanno became a bustling commercial district.

With the Meiji Restoration and the return of power to the emperor, these feudal lords and their retainers were replaced with politicians, public servants, and members of the military. This, in turn, attracted geisha houses and ryotei (fancy Japanese-style restaurants), and the area became known as one of Tokyo’s pleasure quarters along with Kagurazaka.

An oyster bar in Akasaka

Much of Akasaka was destroyed in the air raids of World War II but its historical importance to Tokyo, as well as its proximity to the political world (the National Diet Building is just a stone’s throw away in Chiyoda Ward), meant that a rapid recovery was more or less assured. Having got over the glitz bestowed upon it by the bubble of the 1980s, Akasaka today has a sophisticated and refined image, and is one of the most expensive places to live in the capital.

Akasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0052
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Key Attractions

Akasaka Antique Market

Although marketing itself as a flea market, the Akasaka Antique Market isn’t your normal items-spread-out-on-a-mat affair; like its…
11:00-16:00 on the 4th Sunday of each month

Nogi Shrine

Small shrine established in 1923 made famous by the suicide of General Nogi Maresuke and his wife Nogi Shizuko in 1912.
The gates to the shrine are open from 6am to 5pm

Hie Shrine

Hie Shrine was established in 1478 by the regional lord, Ota Dokan—best known as the architect of Edo…

Akasaka Palace

Usually the best view you get of Akasaka Palace is from peering through the pristine white gates of…
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