Akasaka is a central city area that is home to the offices of lots of big companies. It was the main post war entertainment district, but has lost a bit of its shine. Overall, it’s considered pretty upmarket, but there are lots of cheapo attractions—parks, shrines, discount stores and cheap eating and drinking locations
What to eat and drink
Akasaka is well known for its variety of food and proves a great little area to eat something different. Mealtimes can get busy in this area of town with business and traveling folk all wanting their foodie fix. The food highlight of this area though is its famous ninja restaurant, Ninja Akasaka. The entrance can be tricky to navigate, but what do you expect from this kind of a hidden ninja fortress? Ninja waiters will serve you while performing illusions and tricks. You’ll have to go over bridges and trap doors to get to your hidden room first though. Pre-set menus (typically 7-10 courses) will cost you around 7,000 yen all the way up to 20,000 yen. It can appear quite pricey, but the food is delicious and the fact that this is a ninja restaurant alone is worth going to.
If you would prefer something a bit cheaper, the Hanamasa supermarket is a great option. Hanamasa is aimed at the restaurant and hospitality sectors, so the package sizes are usually massive. Don’t let that stop you though, you can always stock up and have a cheapo foodie time for your whole stay in Tokyo. Discount importer Yamaya also has a branch in the area.
And if you’re jonesing for some caffeine, Bar Del Popolo is a particularly good place to pick up a reasonably priced espresso
What to do
Akasaka is home to the Hie Shrine—and you can find it atop a small hill at the edge of the neighborhood. The shrine can be reached by a steep flight of stairs that are situated under a passageway of orange torii. The grounds of the shrine are sure to give you that much-craved peace and quiet in the city. This is a popular spot for those lunchtimes picnics when the weather is good. A perfect little hangout spot.
Every year, the shrine offers a small festival called Sanno Matsuri. It features a heap of music, dancing, yatai stalls and that all important Japanese essential—sake.
Where to stay
Popular with tourists and businesspeople, the huge and modern Hotel Mystays Premier Akasaka offers 327 guest rooms and suites. Prices go from 7,500 yen and it offers a wide range of types of rooms. From standard single rooms to custom semi-double rooms, you’re sure to find something that will suit what you are looking for. It is only 5 minutes from Akasaka Station (Chiyoda Line) or Tameikesanno Station (Ginza/Namboku Lines)—making it an convenient location for getting around.