Tokyo - Akasaka
Akasaka (赤坂) is one of Tokyo's central business districts, full of corporate headquarters and expensive hotels. The area is directly adjacent to Nagatacho, one of Tokyo's prime concentrations of bureaucracy, and only a stone's throw from the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda.
Akasaka-Mitsuke station on the Metro Ginza and Marunouchi subway lines is at the northeastern edge of Akasaka. The station is connected by a handy, if rather long, tunnel to Nagatacho station on the Namboku, Hanzomon and Yurakucho lines. Tameike-Sanno (Namboku/Ginza) is also in the area and a good access point for Itsunoki-dori.
Travelers from Narita Airport can take the Keisei Skyliner to Ueno, then transfer to the Ginza subway line (¥2,110, 90 min.), or add 15 minutes but lower the cost to ¥1,190 by taking the limited express instead of the Skyliner. The Narita Express isn't cost-effective unless you hold a rail pass, in which case you can travel to Tokyo Station and change for the Marunouchi line (85 min. total), paying only the subway fare of ¥160. Haneda Airport passengers can take the Keikyu line to Shimbashi, changing there for the Ginza line (¥720, 40 min.).
The Airport Limousine Bus makes convenient hourly runs (sometimes twice an hour) between Narita and major hotels in Akasaka (¥3,000, approx. 80-120 minutes).
Probably the only actual sight in Akasaka is the Hie Shrine (日枝神社), located atop a little hill at the edge of the area. Reached by a steep flight of stairs under a veritable tunnel of orange torii, the shrine grounds are an oasis of tranquility in the middle of Tokyo and, in good weather, a popular place for a lunchtime picnic.
Once a year, the shrine holds the rather modest Sanno Matsuri (山王祭) festival, featuring the usual panoply of music, dancing, yatai stalls and sake.
Eat & Drink
At night corporate Akasaka loosens its tie and comes to life: the blocks bounded by Sotobori-dori (外堀通り) and Itsunoki-dori (一ッ木通り) are packed full of expensive restaurants and nightclubs, second only to the Ginza in swankiness. Both Japanese and international cuisine are very well represented, with places like Tenichi for tempura and Shabuzen for shabu-shabu, and others representing Indonesian, French, Mexican, Russian, Indian, Italian cuisines... you name it, you'll probably find it.
Dinners cater mostly to the expense account set and are correspondingly expensive (¥10000 and up is not uncommon). The best deals in Akasaka are thus at lunch, since no matter how high their prices go in the evening, all these restaurants offer excellent lunch menus for ¥1000 or so.
Akasaka's hotels are all in the business/luxury category and charge a bit of a premium for their location.
- The Hotel New Otani is the flagship of the New Otani chain, worth a visit just for the gorgeous gardens alone. It's a bit of a hike to the nearest subway station though. Rack rates for singles at ¥26,500 and up.
- The Akasaka Prince Hotel (right next to Hie Shrine) is a Tokyo institution, but getting a bit old. Singles start at ¥19,000.
- The ANA Hotel Tokyo, located between the Tameike-Sanno subway station and the Roppongi Ichome station, is an international hotel and all staff can speak English. The rooms are a decent size compared to most American hotels. There is also a limousine bus connecting the ANA Hotel to Narita Airport - it takes approximately two hours and is available to both guests of the hotel and people with other accommodations. Prices start from approximately ¥20,000 per night.
This page was last edited at 05:41, on 8 December 2008 by D. Guillaime. Based on work by Jose Ramos and Jani Patokallio and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.