Earlier this year saw the start of an interesting commercial preservation project in Tokyo’s Yanaka/Ueno area. Three traditional houses built in 1938 were renovated and turned into a joint restaurant/shop project, with a cafe, a tiny beer hall and a clothing shop (amongst others). The three buildings surround a tiny courtyard/garden and gives a great insight into how life looked in the old Ueno area 70-80 years ago. When I visited it had been open for a few months but were still quite crowded with a steady stream of foreign tourists and locals visiting the shops. The idea, to preserve old buildings and make them commercially viable is fantastic, and instead of turning this little corner of Tokyo into a parking lot (as was the original plan) it is now a bustling tourists attraction employing a dozen people or more. Ueno Sakuragi Atari is well worth a visit! You can find much more information, photos and access information on their official website. The renovation aspect of the project has its own Facebook page as well. Very interesting if you are into architecture!
More photos of the wonderful back streets of Kagurazaka. The area is not only home of the last genuine geisha house in Tokyo, it is also traditionally nicknamed Little Paris, Petit Paris or even Furansuzaka (French Hill) for the historic connections with France here. Although the place has become more Japanese over the last decade or so there are still a huge number of French restaurants and lots of French people living in the area (well, comparatively of course!). The backstreets are often paved in the manner of Paris and it reminds me a lot of Gion in Ginza. Welcome to one of the hippest areas in Tokyo right now!
Kagurazaka is the name of one of Tokyo’s hippest towns. The little town inside the metropolis has been a favorite drinking and dining spot for as long as Edo was a capital and all through its rebirth as Tokyo. Still today the backstreets of Kagurazaka is an interesting maze of little bars, big restaurants, tiny eateries and even Tokyo’s last properly functioning geisha house. I took a stroll in the area a few weeks ago and got these photos. More to come!
I finally had time to visit the Cafe 1894 with my camera the other day. It might not be the most modern or finest dining in Tokyo but I am in love with the classic interiors of this place. The restaurant is on the corner of the Mitsubishi Ichigokan in Marunouchi’s classic “Little London” district, named so after the first English style brick buildings being put up here at the end of the 19th century. The present building is near perfect replica of the original building that was torn down in the 1960s and only rebuilt a few years ago. Originally a bank, the high ceiling and pillars make for one luxurious lunch or dining experience! Oh I almost forgot – the food was great too.