The Reason Why Kagurazaka Remains a Hidden Gem for Tourists

The Reason Why Kagurazaka Remains a Hidden Gem for Tourists


The Reason Why Kagurazaka, Located in the Central Part of Tokyo, Remains a Hidden Gem for Tourists

We provide traditional cultural experience tours and walking tours around Kagurazaka in Shinjuku Ward. Despite the rapid recovery of inbound tourism after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign tourists rarely walk around Kagurazaka. Despite being located in central Tokyo (within the Yamanote Line), we explored why foreign tourists are hardly seen in Kagurazaka through data analysis.

Surprising Conclusion

In conclusion, the reason is that it takes a long time to travel to Kagurazaka from many popular tourist destinations and stations with high passenger traffic, whether by public transportation or on foot.

Comparison with Popular Tourist Destinations

For example, in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the top destinations for foreign tourists in Tokyo were Shinjuku-Okubo in the first place, Ginza in the second place, and Shibuya in the third place. The average travel time from the nearest stations to the top 10 popular tourist destinations and Kagurazaka Station was 22.1 minutes by public transportation and 80.3 minutes on foot. Moreover, even with the shortest travel time in a popular tourist destination, it takes 11 minutes by public transportation and 52 minutes on foot to reach Kagurazaka. It can be said that the distance is too far to stumble upon Kagurazaka while taking a leisurely stroll.
Places visited by foreign tourists in Tokyo (2019)
Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tourism Data Catalog "Survey on Behavioral Characteristics of Foreign Tourists by Country/Region"
Minimum Travel Time from Nearest Tourist Place

Source: Google map


Note: The nearest stations to each tourist destination are as follows. Kagurazaka (Kagurazaka Station), Yanesen "Yanaka, Nezu, Sendagi" (Sendagi Station), Asakusa (Asakusa Station), Tokyo Tower (Akabanebashi Station), Tokyo Sky Tree (Tokyo Sky Tree Station)


Comparison with Yanaka, Asakusa, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree

We compared YaNeSen (Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi), which has recently become popular among foreign tourists, and originally popular spots such as Asakusa, Tokyo Tower, and Tokyo Skytree. From YaNeSen (Sendagi Station), it takes 4 minutes by public transportation and 28 minutes on foot from the shortest travel time popular tourist destination (Ueno). As for Asakusa, Tokyo Tower, and Tokyo Skytree, it takes 3 to 6 minutes by public transportation and 17 to 26 minutes on foot from the shortest travel time popular tourist destination.

Thus, it is surprising that Kagurazaka, despite having "Shinjuku-Okubo," the most visited tourist destination in Shinjuku Ward, is still far from there. Kagurazaka is relatively far from popular tourist destinations and off the beaten path.

Furthermore, Kagurazaka Station takes a minimum of 11 minutes by public transportation from the top 10 JR East stations with the highest daily passenger traffic, which is longer than the 8 to 10 minutes for YaNeSen (Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi), Asakusa, Tokyo Tower, and Tokyo Skytree. 
Minimum Travel Time from the Top 10 Stations with the Most Passengers
Source: JR East "Number of passengers at each station in FY2022

Note: The following 10 stations ranked in the top 10 in terms of daily boardings. Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Yokohama, Shibuya, Shinagawa, Omiya, Shinbashi, Akihabara, Kitasenju 

The Reason Why Kagurazaka Remains a Hidden Gem for Tourists

Kagurazaka's Unique Positioning

In this way, it is understood that Kagurazaka is located relatively far from both popular tourist spots and stations that are widely used by Japanese people, despite being in the central part of Tokyo. Therefore, the result of a survey conducted by Jalan Research Center shows that the answer "I don't know what is in this area" is the worst in Shinjuku Ward (55.9%) for Japanese people.

Kagurazaka's Local Appeal

However, according to the "Research on the Charm of Shinjuku Ward" by Shinjuku Autonomous Creation Research Institute, Kagurazaka is ranked first overall as a spot that Shinjuku Ward residents would like to recommend to friends, acquaintances, and foreign tourists who visit Shinjuku Ward. Moreover, Kagurazaka is the only town that has been selected in the top 5 for all six items.

Kagurazaka Has a Rich History

It is said that the town of Kagurazaka began with the appearance of Ohgo Shigeyuki and Katsuyuki. Although the exact period is unknown, it is said that during the Tenbun era (between 1532 and 1555), the Ohgo family built Ushigome Castle (at the present location of Koshoji Temple) in the Kagurazaka area, and Katsuyuki, the son of Shigeyuki, changed his surname to Ushigome in 1555. Thus, the Kagurazaka area's history began before Tokugawa Ieyasu's entry into Edo (in 1590), making it one of the oldest historical streets in Tokyo. 
The Reason Why Kagurazaka Remains a Hidden Gem for Tourists

Kagurazaka has inherited the history of samurai residences from the Edo period, followed by temple towns, flower districts, and commercial areas, and is a town where various charms of the past and present converge. Additionally, thanks to the existence of the Institut français de Tokyo, the town harmonizes Japanese and French cultures exquisitely.


Kagurazaka: A Hidden Gem in Tokyo for Street Walking

Despite being relatively far from popular tourist destinations, Kagurazaka miraculously maintains its "hidden gem" status while being recommended as an attractive town by local residents. It is truly a hidden treasure of Tokyo. Why not explore Kagurazaka, a "hidden gem" untouched by crowds? As a local who has lived in Kagurazaka for 25 years, I consider it the most enjoyable street to walk around in Tokyo.
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