During the Tokugawa shogunate, the Kanda district used to lie at the heart of Edo and constituted the "uptown" (as opposed to "shitamachi" areas like Asakusa), where nobles and rich businessmen lived, close to the Imperial palace.
It is now a mixed of business district, universities, shrines, pachinko parlours and adult shops. The area around Kanda station itself is of little interest to short-term visitors. Most of the sights are located around Ochanomizu station, in northern Kanda.
Kanda Myōjin Shrine 神田明神
The Kanda Matsuri, Tokyo's second biggest traditional festival (after the Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa) takes place early May at the Kanda Myōjin. During the Edo era, it was one of the few "matsuri" allowed to enter the grounds of Edo Castle.
The shrine itself isn't particularly big, but its architecture and red and gold colour makes it quite attractive and slightly reminiscent of a Chinese temple. Don't miss the grand entrance gate and the hundreds of lanterns in the main building.
Kanda Myōjin was first established 1200 years ago in what is now Ōtemachi. It was moved to Kanda in 1616 and its deity was revered as the protector of Edo.
Kanda Myōjin Shrine is located in Soto-Kanda (across the river), between Ochanomizu and Akihabara JR Stations (see map below).
Ochanomizu (literally "tea water") is the name of a station in the northern part of the Kanda neighbourhood. Ochanomizu is not in itself an official district nor a postal address. The area covers the districts of Kanda-Surugadai (神田駿河台) and Soto-Kanda (外神田).
The place was named after the river from which water was extracted to make the shōgun's tea during the Edo period.
Three attractions in Kanda can be conveniently accessed from Ochanomizu Station (either JR Yamanote line and Tokyo Metro Marunouchi line): the Kanda Myōjin Shrine, the Yushima Confucian Shrine, and the Nikorai-dō.
Holy Resurrection Cathedral 復活大聖堂
100 metres south of Ochanomizu station is the main cathedral of the Japanese Orthodox Church, commonly referred to as Nikorai-dō. It was founded by Petrovich Rezanov Nikolai (1838-1912), later St. Nicholas of Japan. The Cathedral was completed on March 8, 1891, after 7 years of construction. Badly damaged during the 1923 Kantō Earthquake, the cathedral was rebuilt in 1929.
Jimbochō is Tokyo's bookshop district. Like Ochanomizu it is only a station name, serving western Kanda. It is an academic neighbourhood with lots of schools and two universities (Meiji Daigaku and Nihon Daigaku) reaching as far as Ochanomizu station. The area therefore abounds with students. Jimbochō's bookshops offer everything from rare, antique books to hentai manga. Most of the shops are concentrated along the Yasukuni-dōri Avenue and are small and privately owned.
Sanseidō is the only big bookshop spreading a several floors. It is located at crossing of Yasukuni-dōri and Meiji-dōri Avenues. You will find plenty of English books (and some French and German ones too) at the 5th floor.
Other attractions around Kanda and Ochanomizu
The (in)famous Yasukuni Shrine is one of the largest in Tokyo, and is better known for being dedicated to 2.4 million soldiers and civilians who died fighting for the Emperor of Japan since the...Read more
Immediately north of Ochanomizu Station is the Yushima Seidō, a haven of peace in the heart of Tokyo. Its precincts are covered with lush vegetation resembling more a jungle than a park...Read more
Yushima Tenjin Shrine|
The Yushima Tenjin is the place where high-school and university students in Tokyo come to pray for their exams. The shrine was established in the 17th century...Read more
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