Kanda (神田) is a city district (=area) of Tokyo, northeast of the Tokyo Imperial Palace. It’s not a prime (主要な) tourist district. You won’t see many touristy things around here, But that just means it’s full of hidden gems (宝石) you probably don’t know about but should definitely visit.
Now, I am focusing on Tokyo in anticipation (前もって) of 2020 and rediscovering the appeals of Kanda, an erea where there are many students. Kanda has traditionally (伝統的に、慣習的に) been an academic center with many schools and universities, and is therefore frequented (頻繁な) by young people. This time, I will announce the top 5 cool spots there. A satisfactory (満足な、納得の) ranking chosen by foreigners.
There are 30 places with ‘Kanda” in its name. It’s where Zenigata Heiji (銭形平次 : one of the most famous historical person in Japan) used to live. From the bottom of my heart, I hope that you can find new Japanese cools here.
Who has been to Kanda before? Raise your hand if you have. Oh, everyone has.(^-^)/ Is that so. (本当に？そっか) What’s your impression of Kanda?
★ Meiji University Museum 《read》
Very much more quiet…these days, there are many foreigners who visit Japan for their second or third time, so I think there are many people who seek a different aspect (面) of Japan from a place like Kanda, which is not considered a tourist location. It’s near Tokyo station and Akihabara and it’s right in the middle of Tokyo, but it has specialty shop districts and I think it’s a unique place. One of Kanda’s cools chosen by foreigners is…torture.
The most inpressive was the exhivision about the torture items they have. Meiji University Museum. Anyone can enter for free.There are displays of investigations, trials, and punishments related to criminals during the Edo period (1603-1868). That’s a very Japanese way (とても日本的です).
If that wouldn’t make them confess, the next form of torture awaited them (これでも白状しないときは次の拷問が待っています). Tsurizeme (釣り責め) is a form of torture in which people are hung by their arms twisted and tied at the back. There are forms of torture and execution (実行、遂行) equipment from overseas as well. They have been collected by Meiji University’s law department for research. For example…Iron Maiden…
In Japan, the guillotine is only on display here (日本で、ギロチンはここだけで展示されています).It was used in France as a humane tool of execution that ends life immediately until 1981, when capital punishment was abolished (廃止される). Why are these displayed?
It’s on display because… they want people to undesstand that cruel (残酷な) forms of punishment that would be totally unacceptable today – were done during a time that was totally different from ours. Museums are educational institutions (機関) that preserve, research, and exhibit what they want to leave for future generations. So you can learn here about Japanese history for free.
I think we have to leave not just beautiful and moving things for future generations but cruel and sad things as well. They play the role of getting us to think about how to improve society. In that sense, there’s currently a form of tourism called dark tourism.
I think it’s great how, by looking at sad memories and negative aspects of the past such as the Auschwitz concentration camp at museums, – people can easily see what Japan is like beyond what is just superficial (表面的な). I bet few Japanese people know about it (日本人でも知ってる人は少ないと思います).
☆ Curry Restaurants 《read》
Kanda is the leading curry district in Tokyo. There are about 400 restaurants that serve curry in the Kanda area. They compete over flavor in various genres. It’s popular on a review site (口コミサイトで好評です). You might have to wait but it will be worth it (待たなくちゃいけないけど待つ価値あり)！It’s called European curry, because it uses France’s fond de veau. European curry originates here in Kanda (欧風カレーはここ神田生まれ). How’s Kanda’s flavor?
In the Edo period (1603-1868), there were residences of samurai and shogunal vassals in Kanda (武家屋敷とか旗本の屋敷がありました). When the Tokugawa shogunate collapsed (崩壊する、破綻する) and those residences became empty, they were turned into hospitals and universities. That’s how it happened. When many curry shops were established as a result, people began going to Kanda for curry, and because there were many restaurants, many kinds were created. It seems like that history led to the appeals we see today.
★ Kanda Myojin Shrine 《read》
Visit Kanda Myojin Shrine, especially in May during the Kanda Festival, one of Tokyo’s three greatest Shinto festivals. Yushima Seido and Yushima Tenjin Shrine are two other visit-worthy shrines that remind you of the area’s reputation (評判,名声,世評) for learning.
Kanda Myojin Shrine has 1,300 years of history and is gathering attention for its collaborations with anime and games. Anime fans now visit Kanda Myojin Shrine from all around the world. The reason is its collaboration with the TV anime “Love Live!” It’s a story about high school girls aiming to become school idols . Some scenes were set in Kanda Myojin Shrine. (2013)
There’s a place that fans of “Love Live” always go to. Otokozaka, which frequently appears in the anime. A moving scene was created here. The promise of fans is that they will do the same. There are more secrets to its popularity (人気の秘密は他にも). They opened a maid cafe for one day. In March, a local professional wrestling group dedicated (捧げる) their wrestling in the precincts (境内). Originally, shrines were tourist locations (神社はそもそも観光地なんです).
There actually used to be amusement centers. For example, there were shooting galleries with beautiful women called yatorime next to them. Accepting anime and games and inviting foreigners by building new places for cultural exchange are things that our shrine highly values (文化交流も、現代の神社が大事にしているところでもあります). Yes! Kanda Myojin Shrine actively collaborates with new cultures.
What do you think about shrines collaborating with anime?Why do you think the shrine was connected with entertainment? There are various festivals in Japan, and many are connected with shrines. When you consider that shrines were celebratory spaces, it seems like collaborations with anime in modern times can be seen as an extension (拡張) of them. I think it’s a place that’s deeply connected with human activity.
☆ Used Bookshops 《read》
The neighborhood of Jimbocho (神保町) offers a large concentration of bookstores selling the latest titles as well as old or second hand books. The bookstores lend a scholarly atmosphere to Jimbocho, where a laid-back afternoon may also be spent at one of the several cafes in the area.
Kanda has been a used book area since the Meiji period (1868-1912). There are currently over 150 used book shops. Classics, Manga, Ukiyoe, Old maps… They have everything. An appeal is how books are lined up in front of shops so that people can easily pick them up and read them.
The used books district, which is about 500m long, has become a walking course for foreigners. Foreigners also like it because it has the complete works of European and American writers. There are many treasures that satisfy the needs of selective customers.
Kanda seems like a great place. Unlike Shibuya and Shinjuku, I thought Kanda was a place that people don’t go to unless they have something specific that they want to do there, – whether it’s used books or music, But foreigners just walk around and happen to find all kinds of things such as books. I realized that that’s one way of enjoying it.
★ Ochanomizu musical instrument area 《read》
The Ochanomizu Music Instrument Avenue is located just south of Ochanomizu Station. For approximately (約) 500 meters it is lined by stores selling musical instruments and music-related items. There are about 50 musical instrument shops.
Their selling points are good quality and the wide variety. It’s a musical instrument heaven. Why do you think people come to Japan to buy musical instruments? Please go to Ochanomizu to know it. I think few Japanese people know about it.
Kanda is located within a few minutes’ walking distance from the Tokyo Imperial Palace and Tokyo station. Kanda station sits right in the middle of the largest financial district in Japan, however, this is a pretty interesting contrast to the area itself; which resembles a less crowded Ueno station.
You’ll find plenty of things to do around here, mostly in the form of fun night-time hangouts and entertainment. The station is surrounded by many local clothing shops, izakaya, international food restaurants, karaoke bars, girls clubs, snacks, liquor stores and pachinko parlors. There’s also a small video game arcade and darts bar in addition to a number of pubs, pizzerias and other eateries built directly into the underside of railways entering and exiting the station.
Kanda was once an upscale living area for Japanese samurai, noblemen, scholars and business moguls during the Edo period. Although most of that landscape was changed due to violent U.S. bombing raids during WWII and nonstop renovation of the area ever since, Kanda has still managed to hold on to some of it’s original charm despite becoming a modernized center of urban business development.