About Azabu Juban in Tokyo
This district of Minato in Tokyo, Japan is the less populated version of Roppongi Hills. It is a large, yet homey community which is a bit of a contrast with the luxurious streets and shops of its neighboring cities and districts. Azabujuban is not as popular as Shinjuku or Harajuku, but it will surely bring about the same amount of awe and enjoyment for its visitors.
What is interesting about the Azabu Juban is that it may be simple in contrast to the luxurious streets of Roppongi but it is one of the most sought after residential areas in Tokyo. It is a quiet neighborhood right behind Roppongi hills tower and is a center for international embassies. There is enough information to say that a number of politicians and famous personalities live in the neighborhood, so it would be safe to say that it is a pretty upscale residential area.
Azabu Juban Location and Map
Azabu Juban is one of the many laid-back residential communities of Tokyo. It is a part of Minato City in Tokyo prefecture which is home to a great number of shops and restaurants. It has a small area compared to its neighboring districts and the population is also much lower. Although it was not intentional at first, the development of the district is based on the idea that it should be a breath of fresh air from the stereotypical image of Tokyo. This could be seen in the architecture of the area where the buildings are smaller and simpler compared to the high-tech designs of Tokyo’s skyscrapers.
What is interesting about this is that nobody really knew that a small village like this is located in the middle of the skyscrapers and subways of busy Tokyo. To make it even more unique and surprising, there are some streets in this district which is covered with cobble-stone paving. This is something that is not common in Tokyo’s concrete jungle.
Access to Azabu Juban in Tokyo
For those who wish to access the district of Azabu Juba, there is a large train station in its district center where both the Tokyo Metro line, Namboku Line, and Toei-Oedo Subway line passes by. Even though the district is smaller than the rest of the wards in Tokyo, the Azabu Juba Station is larger than life where there are an entry and exit of more than 100,000 passengers on a daily basis. It has a total of six basement floors which acts as platforms for a variety of trains going to different locations around the city.
Travel Destinations in Azabu Juban in Tokyo
Azabu Juban Onsen
Despite the fact that Tokyo is a highly populated, industrialized and modernized city, what many people forget is that there are still parts of Tokyo which are less urban. Since it is a place where many people migrate from home, it is in the best interest of business owners to provide all types of experiences for Tokyo residents and migrants.
Because of this, Tokyo has its own version of an onsen and most of these are man-made with heating systems of its own. There are still a few natural hot springs in Tokyo and there is no other place to find it but in Azabujuban. The hot spring in this district is well known for its uniquely colored water which may not look enticing at the plain sight but is sure to give the ultimately relaxing bath. One particular inn has existed for 100 years and has BLACK bubbling water.
The onsen in Tokyo is just like all other onsens in Japan but perhaps less sophisticated. A typical image of an onsen involves mountainsides and beautiful scenery. The ones in Tokyo are located inside concrete buildings with no view at all. However, it still provides the same relaxing experience. For a traditional bathhouse in the city, the onsens in Tokyo are worth a try.
Nissin World Foods
Literally found a few blocks from the Azabu-juban train station, the Nissin World Foods center is the headquarters of the Nissin Corporation of Japan. This company is the leading foreign supermarket in all of Tokyo. It is interesting to visit the building not only because of the food but because of the incredible architecture of the building.
Azabu Juban Station
Train stations are the life and heart of districts and cities in Tokyo. The size of the central train station may be a reflection of how busy the district is. The Azabu Juban station is impressively large and has been recorded to welcome entry and exit of about 100,000 people every day.
It has a total of six basement floors. The first basement floor would be the ticket gates and the Lost and Found office. Train tracks are located on the third and fourth floors which service trains going to Meguro, Hiyoshi, Nagatcho, and Urawa-Misono. The fifth-floor services the Toei line and other subway companies like Toei-Oedo and Namboku lines.
What is impressive about the station is that there are a number of stalls, shops, and vending machines along the train tracks. There are even a free magazine and newspaper stalls. There are food items and drinks that can be bought for long train rides.
Temples, shrines, and other historic sites
Although the neighborhood is located in the middle of skyscrapers and highways, there are still a few historic sites located in the district. Among these would be the Zenpuku-ji Temple which is the grandest temple in the entire area. It is also Tokyo’s second oldest temple which was built in the 8th century. It is also home to Tokyo’s oldest gingko tree.
Azabu Juban is aimed to show what “old Tokyo” looked and felt like. The Moto-Azabu is the best place to see what Tokyo used to look like during the ancient times. it is totally in contrast to the modernized image of Tokyo.
Nishi Azabu the Home of the Embassies
This particular area of the district is home to multiple international embassies in Japan. These include the Swiss embassy, the Ukraine Embassy, Romanian, Greek and Laos embassies. This is one of the reasons why Azabu Juban is pretty popular even for expatriates and foreign workers.
Azabu Juban Restaurants
There are a number of restaurants and hole-in-the-walls that are frequented by tourists and visitors in Azabujuban. Mostly, these are edgy and themed restaurants similar to those in the neighboring district of Roppongi. However, the difference is that the food may slightly cost cheaper.
Among the interesting restaurants in Azabujuban would be Allie which is a twist between French and Japanese cuisine. The chef of the restaurant uses local Japanese ingredients to add flavor to traditional French delicacies.
Another popular restaurant would be Sushi Yoshii which is a small restaurant that serves only six people at a time. The chef serves the guests like it is his home kitchen. For those looking for a traditional Japanese meal, they can try Kappo Kisaku where there are only literally seven seats. They offer the finest traditional Japanese food in tatami mats and short tables.
Among the popular eats in the area would be the traditional Japanese sweet known as Taiyaki. These are fish shaped cakes with sweet bean paste filling. Soba and ramen are also quite popular in the neighborhood as there are a number of gourmet restaurants that sell and serve these traditional Japanese comfort food.
Azabu Juban Hotels
There are accommodation available around Azabu Juban that can cater to the needs of travelers and tourists. There are luxury hotels like the Prince Park Tower in Tokyo and Remm Roppongi. There are also affordable places to stay like the Book Tea Bed and Guest House Tokyo Azabu – both may be cheap but the facilities and the service are well-reviewed. Zabuton hotel is also an affordable place to stay but provides the utmost comfort to its guests.
It is easy to find the exact address of quaint hotels in the neighborhood via online maps, magazines, and blogs. There are also online guides that explain how individuals can have hotel and restaurant bookings easily considering that most cafes have less than ten seating capacity. Travel magazines and blogs are guaranteed to be good reads as well.
Azabu Juban Shopping
Azabu Juban is a popular destination for shoppers as it is hailed as the more affordable version of Roppongi Hills. There are different kinds of shops, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques lining the streets of Azabu Juban.
Among the shoppers’ favorites would be the 100 Yen shop that sells almost everything for less than or slightly more than 100 yen. There are snacks, souvenirs, jewelry, accessories, and more. It is a fun and enjoyable place to be.
Another popular shop in the area would be ‘With Everyone for the Earth’. This is a place that sells different kinds of organic goods. They also sell organic skin care products and even wine. It literally sells products that will be good for the Earth.
For fashion lovers, there is a multitude of shops that sell almost everything in Azabu Juban. There are tops, jackets, shoes, accessories, and more. There are branded items and locally made items as well. The back streets also provide fun locations for shopping as there are hidden gems just lurking around the neighborhood.
Getting to know Azabu Juban’s Sailor Moon
For those who are wondering what the connection is between Sailor Moon and Azabujuban is – it is the home or residence of the main fictional characters of the series. Almost every 90s kid knows a thing or two about Sailor Moon. The show, about a young high school heroine and her friends fighting crime through magic, has had its influence internationally. The neighborhood in the fictional series is actually based on a real place – Azabu Juban.
The common setting in the series would show the young characters walking around the neighborhood and riding buses to school. In the show, this is known to be the cursed 6:00 PM bus and that particular setting is the Sendai-zaka-ue bus stop.
In the show, one character known as Sailor Mars works as a shrine maiden. That particular shrine is known as the Hikaw shrine which is a popular tourist destination in the area. The main hall of this shrine has seen a huge amount of exposure in the show, complete with its traditional roofs and loud red exteriors. The architecture, the gates, and the entire landscape had been perfectly remade in the series.
For those who are really interested, there are guided tours available where a real-life Sailor Moon (or other Sailor Soldier) would take tourists around the neighborhood. There are also some shops around town that sell different kinds of Sailor Moon memorabilia.
Festivals and Celebrations in Azabu Juban
Azabu Juban Matsuri
Even a small district like Azabu Juban can have impressive festivals of their own. The Azabu-Juban Noryo Matsuri is all about food. It is a celebration of good eats where local delicacies from all over the country are brought to stalls in Azabu Juban. This is usually held on the last weekend of August and is known to be a millennial or trendy festival.
On top of the food, there is music and performances. There are parades of different popular anime characters and enjoyable children’s activities. Some people wear summer yukatas as a means of celebrating along with the supposed traditional atmosphere.
Most of the visitors to this festival are the younger people. They use the festival as a means to show the latest trends in fashion. The festival is pretty much straight to the point and does not require a costume or a theme. This is why it becomes a popular event for highly urbanized twenty-somethings.
This event has been held annually for the last half century and the demographics joining the festival have been changing through time. Although it is supposed to be a traditional event, where people from all over the country bring their traditional delicacies to Tokyo, it actually becomes more of a party.
The event expects thousands of visitors in this two-day event and the streets of Azabu Juban are filled to the brim. There are stalls in almost every community center and roads are closed for the exclusive use of pedestrians. Fighting traffic is hard enough, but finding parking spaces makes it ridiculously difficult. So, it is advised that people take the public transportation when joining the festival.