Japan has many districts that are known for different things. Some are known for the unique food found there, others are known for the nightlife enjoyed there. There is a district in Tokyo near the Yushima and Kanda section of Chiyoda-ku that is known for the love of music and great instruments. This district’s name is Ochanomizu and despite the recognition, it gets for the music and the instruments made here, it has more to offer to its visitors than just that.
Ochanomizu Japan: Information about the District and the Famous Fenders
As stated earlier, Ochanomizu is part of the Kanda and Yushima area and contrary to what other people might think, this place is actually a great tourist spot because there are a lot of things to do without having to muscle through the usual tourist crowds.
The origins of the name of this district have an interesting story behind it. As cool as Ochanomizu sounds, the word “Ochanomizu” literally translates to “tea water”. It was given that name because, during the Edo period, the shogun’s tea was made from the water taken from the nearby river known as the Kanda River.
It is a home to several schools and university campuses but they are known more for their many musical instrument stores as well as their snowboard and ski shops. Usually, stores that get that much attention have steep prices for their wares. Luckily, Ochanomizu isn’t like that at all as the stores here are also favored because they are sold at great bargain prices.
These snowboarding and ski shops are usually sought out by travelers who are visiting Japan to enjoy the snow and the fun activities you can do on it. If you are one of the tourists visiting for that reason, you might want to check out a street near the Ogawamachi and Jimbocho. You can search for a guide to find a street called Yasukuni Dori. This is where you will find the department store looking buildings that sell the snowboarding and skiing wares you are looking for and more.
The music instrument stores, on the other hand, are sought out because of the price and quality you will be getting the instruments for in these shops. For example, if you are interested in buying a new guitar and you happen to be coming from the JR Ochanomizu Station for the Sobu and Chuo Lines, take the exit called “Ochanomizubashi Exit” that brings you to Meidai Dori and you will find the famous street that they call the “Guitar Street”.
As its deemed name suggests, it is a street that sells all brands of guitars. An example of a great store there is a store called the Shimokura. This store has rows and rows of Fenders, Gibsons, Martins, and any other company brand that you might have in mind. If you are a collector of this type of work of art, you might consider this place to be somewhat of a guitar paradise because some of the models of guitars you can find here are vintage and uniquely special. Add the very cheap price you can get it at and that should sum up to a great shopping session in Ochanomizu.
The Ochanomizu District of Tokyo Japan: A Guide to the Attractions via Ochanomizu Station and Other Modes
Aside from the musical instruments and the sports gears, Ochanomizu is a district with all kinds of attractions. There are several churches and shrines that are located here and each of them has different stories to tell. Before getting into the places you can go to, you should know more about how to get to those places and that would require you to get some information on the Ochanomizu Station.
Since the railway system practically connects to you everything, it would be wise to get a hotel near the Ochanomizu Station. There is no need for a map to navigate through this station because it is quite a small one compared to the others in Tokyo. This station is found on the JR Chuo-Sobu Line which is in the east portion of central Tokyo. There are actually 4 lines that provide access to this station despite being found only on the Chuo-Sobu Line. This third line is the Marunouchi Line and the fourth is the Metro Chiyoda Line.
This is so because there are two operators for the Ochanomizu Station. The first is the JR East while the other operator is Tokyo Metro. The Chuo-Sobu Line is under the operation of the JR East while the Marunouchi Line is operated by the Tokyo Metro. The 4th line (Chiyoda) comes into play as passengers transfer to the nearby station called Shin-Ochanomizu Station. This station is found across the Hijiribashi Exit of the JR Ochanomizu Station. It should also be noted that the Shinjuku Line is accessible via the Shin-Ochanomizu Station because of an underground walkway that connects the Shin-Ochanomizu to the Ogawamachi Station.
In lieu of all this information, accessing the different parts of Ochanomizu, as well as the other parts of Japan, is very doable if you utilize the connections from the railway network found in Ochanomizu. It is all the more doable if you also utilize Ochanomizu Station’s connection to the Tokyo bus network, which is accessible via Ochanomizubashi Exit with a #43 bus that goes to places like the Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi North Exit, Tabata Station, Kohoku Station, and Hong 3-chome Station. On the other hand, the buses that pass the Hijiribashi Exit of the Ochanomizu Station can lead you to the Tokyo University.
Walking from the station can also get you places and the nearest place worth seeing from the JR Ochanomizu or the Shin-Ochanomizu is the cathedral called the Nikolai Cathedral. This place is just south of the Hijiribashi Bridge and is a Russian Orthodox Church. It was named after Archbishop Nikolai who was the first administrator of the establishment. You might not be Russian Orthodox but as a foreigner, you might enjoy the architecture and designs of this lovely church. If this doesn’t interest you, worry not because there is more in store.
If you are interested in historic objects and artifacts, the Meiji University Museum should be something for you to visit. This place has a wide selection of exhibits that showcase items like archaeological remains and instruments of torture from the Edo period. It might be weird things to see for some tourists but if you think about it, there isn’t any other museum in Japan that you will find such items in so it would be a unique experience to go through.
There are a lot of reason why people go out for adventures. If you are a tourist looking for spiritual sites to see, the Ochanomizu Station would also be a great place to start because of how near it is to locations like the Yushima Seido and the Kanda Myojin Shrine.
The Yushima Seido, or the Yushima Sacred Hall, is an important Confucian temple that has been there since the Edo period. It is accessible from the Ochanomizu Station because this location is found just across the Hijiri Bridge. It used to be a very active place of contemplation for Confucianism because of the relaxing landscapes and open spaces but now it stands as more of a reminder of the contribution of Chinese history to the culture and traditions of the modern Japanese.
A major part to see in this hall are the Confucian figures found in the Taiseiden, which is the main building of the area. This place honors 5 figures and they are Confucius, Mencius, Yan Hui, Zengzi, and Zisi. Confucius was the great philosopher who created Confucianism. Mencius was a Confucian scholar who comes only second to Confucius himself. Yan Hui was a disciple of Confucius and is considered to be part of the Four Sages of Confucianism. Zengzi is another member of the Four Sages who began the traditional Confucius teachers. Lastly, Zisi, who was the grandson of Confucius himself. Zisi was the one who passed Confucianism to Mencius when Confucius passed.
This place is open every day except for dates December 29, 30, and 31. Aside from those days, the Yushima Seido is open from 9 AM to 5 PM. This hall also hosts 6 events every year which are also great opportunities for tourists to visit. If your time in Japan is in the month of September then you are out of luck because there are no festivals celebrated on this month. They celebrate events like the New Year Ceremony (done January 1 to 4 from 10 AM to sundown), Confucius Festival (done on the 4th Sunday of April), Acupuncture and Moxibustion Festival (done on the 3rd Sunday of May), Early Confucianists’ Festival (done on the last Sunday of October), and the Shennong Festival (done on November 23).
The Kanda Myojin Shrine, on the other hand, is another historic attraction because of the history of the Shinto that is embedded in the walls of this shrine. It was formerly known as the Kanda Jinja and it pays tribute to a total of 108 deities from the Tokyo neighborhoods like Akihabara. The people that go here usually pray for success in business, good health, as well as a happy marriage.
Like Yushima Seido, the Kanda Myojin also celebrates certain dates for certain occasions. One of the biggest festivals celebrated here is the Kanda Matsuri. This is celebrated once every two years and the celebration is done via parade. They parade portable shrines and imperial palanquins in this festivity and compliment all the walking with delicious street foods sold alongside the parade.
Ochanomizu University: A Women’s University in Japan
It has been said that there are a lot of school and university campuses located in the Ochanomizu district. Despite all these establishments of education, there is none like the Ochanomizu University. This is so because this is the only women’s university in this area and it also happens to be one of the oldest universities in Ochanomizu.
This university is not only a pioneer establishment but also a symbol of progression. Considering the prejudice women got in the past, having an establishment like the Ochanomizu University that has been in business since 1875 and solely tends to women’s education is an astounding feat. It wasn’t always the university it is now way back in 1875. It used to simply be the first institute of higher education for women but it progressed and developed to what now is a top all women's university.
It isn’t the biggest of universities yet but the growth is constant. This growth is a great sign of support from the Ochanomizu administration because it shows that they are allowing and helping this women’s cause. Even if you are not female, visiting this historic establishment would be worth your time because of all the details you would know about the hardships of their past.
There are many other attractions to be found in Ochanomizu that has not been tackled here but don’t worry because all you need is to search for the locations while incorporating your interest to help you find the destinations you are into. From what was discussed though, it is obvious that this place is just for buying new sports gears and musical instruments. It is also a great place to learn about the many aspects of history and the landmarks left in honor of its histories. This area is fairly easy to navigate around because a majority of its attractions is just walking distance away from each other. Remember to plan your trip and destinations early so that you can accommodate going to and joining the different festivities celebrated in this lovely district.