Walk for Locals: Kamiyacho Station to the Tokyo American Club

Kamiyacho is a small business district in central Tokyo’s Minato Ward. It is filled with governmental institutes and foreign companies. For anyone living or working in the area, here is a list of where to eat, and what to see, on a walk toward the Tokyo American Club (TAC).

Within a minute’s walk of Kamiyacho Station:

The SOWA ICE CREAM SHOP has been open since 1955. They serve delicious handmade ice cream, often in unique flavors like one autumn special, chestnut. Open April-Sept 10am-7pm, Oct-Mar 10am-6pm, closed on Sat, Sun, national holidays.

Harry J. Hoenselaar opened his first Honey Baked Ham store in Detroit, Michigan in 1957. Still owned by the Hoenselaar family, the HONEY BAKED HAM COMPANY has expanded to Japan. Drop into their Kamiyacho shop for a delicious ham sandwich or have one of their hams delivered to your home!

Walking down the left side of Sakurada-dori (Route 1):

Just up a narrow slope, DA OLMO is a lovely Italian restaurant that serves lunch starting at 1500 yen, and dinner courses from 6500 yen. Lunch: Tues-Fri 11:30-14:00. Dinner: Mon-Sat 18:00-23:00. Closed on Sundays and holidays.

CAFE PAPIER is hip little cafe hidden down a side street. They serve coffee, a wide variety of teas (in their own pots), and simple, tasty desserts. Open from Mon-Fri from 11:30-19:00. Closed Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays.

REY is a restaurant that serves tasty Mediterranean fare. They have very reasonable party packages. Open Mon-Fri 11:30-15:00, 17:00-23:00. Closed on Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays.

The NISHIKUBO HACHIMAN SHRINE was founded around the year 1000. It is said that Tokugawa Hidetada (Ieyasu’s 3rd son and successor) prayed here for safety & victory in battle. Other buildings were added to the compound around 1634, although they have since been destroyed and only some rebuilt. Shell mounds dating back to the early Jomon Period were found here. The shrine is a not well taken care of and is mostly used by locals who want to eat outside on their lunch breaks.

ART PLAZA MAGATANI is a tiny shop that sells Japanese antiques and folk art. The staff speak some English, but are not overly friendly unless you visit a few times and they decide that you are a serious shopper. Mon-Fri 10:00-17:00, Sat 10:00-16:00. Closed on Sunday and national holidays.

RAKUMAN KOROKE & PICNIC serves delicious croquettes that are handmade everyday using ingredients from Niseko, Hokkaido – with no chemical seasoning, preservative, etc. 11:30-14:00 / 17:00-20:00. Closed Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays.

REIYUKAI is a Japanese Buddhist new religious movement founded in 1930 by Kakutaro Kubo and Kimi Kotani. They call themselves an International membership-based non-profit organization with approximately 5 million members in 26 countries. It is a lay organization (there are no priests) associated with Nichiren Buddhism, which is devoted to the Lotus Sutra and ancestor veneration. Reiyukai states that its goal is to establish a circle of people who will contribute to the development of world peace. This building, the SHAKADEN, is their headquarters and it serves as a meeting place and social center for Reiyukai members and the local community. It is an impressive structure that was designed in the shape of two hands pressed together in prayer. On the 18th of every month, the main hall is open to members and the general public for a religious ceremony that takes place from 10am to noon.

Will.i.am and Justin Bieber performed on the steps of the Shakaden in their video for the song, ‘That Power’.

On the corner of and Sakurada-dori (Route 1) and Gaien Higashi-dori are:

ENOKIYA is a Japanese confectionary shop containing a mini gallery. Their specialty is karinto manju. 10:30-19:00, closed on Sundays and national holidays.

Founded in 1968 in Toyama, MITSUOKA MOTOR COMPANY uses the chassis of Mazda/Toyota/Nissan to produce uniquely handcrafted cars. Check out their Azabudai showroom to see some of their most popular models.

The NOA BUILDING was designed by architect, Seiichi Shirai, and was completed in 1974. Lower section is red brick, upper section is finished in copper sulfate shaped as an elliptical cylinder.

Continue along Sakurada-dori and turn right into the narrow, steep alley that leads up to TAC:

BLUE BAOBAB AFRICA is a lovely little cafe/bar, gallery, library, and gathering place. The owner is speaks English and is friendly. They have a bilingual menu. Open 14:00-23:00 Tues-Fri, until 22:00 on Sat, Sun, and holidays. Closed Monday.

Enjoy a tasty meal at ESCRIBA, an Italian restaurant hidden on the 7th floor of the same building as Blue Boabab Africa. Travel up the elevator to the 6th floor and then walk one flight of stairs. Customers can dine on Escriba’s fantastic rooftop patio. For lunch they offer a choice of 2 dishes (usually one pasta and one risotto) + salad, a piece of bread, and access to a drink bar (teas, coffee, juice, wine) for only 1000 yen on weekdays, 1800 on weekends. *Photo advertising this article is Escriba’s patio.

Halfway up the slope is another Italian restaurant, OSTERIA TRIPPERIA PITECANTROPO. Their meat dishes are a specialty. For those who like to sit outside, there is a small patio. 11:30-14:30 / 17:30-midnight. Closed Sunday.

On TAC’s dead-end street:

AOYAGI is a 5 star restaurant that specializes in Japanese Kaiseki. The chef, Hirohisa Koyama, took over his family’s restaurant, which was founded by his grandfather in Shikoku almost a century ago. 11:30-14:00, 18:00-22:00. Closed Sunday. Chef’s choice lunch from 20,000 + tax. Dinner from 30,000 + tax.

There are a number of smaller embassies along this walk. The EMBASSY OF AFGANISTAN sits at the end of the street leading to TAC. The ambassador, Dr. Bashir Mohabbat, is fluent in Pashto, Dari, Japanese, and English. Currently, he is also studying Chinese and Spanish. The embassy’s English newsletter, the Heart of Asia Herald, introduces Afghan products, people, travel, etc.

Just beside the embassy is AZABUDAI 2-18-1. This is the Japanese point of origin for longitude and latitude. Longitude: 139° 44′ 28.8869″ (East) Latitude: 35° 39′ 29.1572″ (North).

End your walk at the Tokyo American Club. One of their restaurants, CHOP STEAKHOUSE, is open to the public (with advanced reservations).


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