Yanesen, an overview

Slow living in the world's fastest city

Yanesen, an overview

The Yanaka Crime Force hard at work

When the frantic pace of Tokyo starts to wear you down, come to 'Yanesen', a picturesque spot that has somehow survived many of the upheavals of the past century. While the name isn't official (it's a nickname based on an amalgamation of area names: YAnaka, NEzu, SENdagi), it has become synonymous with the Slow Life Movement in Japan, attracting young inhabitants and small businesses that are keen to return to a more community-based way of life.

Although a geographical neighbour, low-key, low-rise Yanesen is a world away from the grand museums and huge, brash street market of Ueno. It survives as an endearing place where life seems to potter along more or less just as it did a century ago. The Yanaka area is also home to Tokyo’s highest concentration of temples, ranging from the grand to the humble. The temples were moved here from elsewhere in Tokyo following the 1657 Long Sleeves Fire, which destroyed much of the city. Yanaka has led something of a charmed life ever since, escaping destruction in both the Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the air raids in World War II.

The best way to explore the area is by bicycle or on foot. We recommend waiting for a pleasant day and hitting the area mid-morning. Plan to spend the majority of the day mooching around. This is an area for lovers of home-cooked food, art galleries and craft shops, to be enjoyed at the most leisurely pace manageable.

By Time Out writers
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.



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