During our last visit in Tokyo, we lived in a part of town that even though not far from our old hunting grounds, was new to us: Yushima (湯島). Just across the border from our old Taito-ku, it is located in Bunkyo-ku, not far from the main Hongo campus of the University of Tokyo.
The main attraction of Yushima itself is the Yushima Tenjin (湯島天神), a large shrine compound with several buildings and a garden.
A great advantage is its close proximity to Ueno Park with the Zoo and Shinobazu Pond.
Another interesting sight nearby is the Old Iwasaki Residence and Garden (旧岩崎邸庭園). It is the former seat of the Iwasaki family, founders of Mitsubishi, who had a Western-style mansion built for them during the Meiji Period. Two of the Western style buildings are still standing, the main residence and the “Swiss style” Billiards house. A large lawn and also a more Japanese style garden are attached.
It is odd to see an old Western building in the middle of modern Tokyo. The interior furnishings are quite impressive. And it’s the first time I have seen a heating system with good old radiators in Japan. Even though only part of the large old open grounds are still in existence, it is a welcome breath of fresh air. While Yushima is more quiet and residential, right next to it is bustling Okachimachi (御徒町), full of small eateries and Izakaya-style restaurants and so-called “girl’s clubs”, trying to attract the weary salarymen after a hard day’s work.
Even though the area can’t quite match up to our beloved Asakusa, it is varied and interesting and we enjoyed our month-long stay there thoroughly.