Why is Roppongi called Roppongi

Today, Roppongi is a party town. For years it’s been popular with foreigners due to its proximity to so many foreign embassies. Because of this proximity, the area is relatively English-friendly which makes it a destination for foreigners visiting Japan and the seedy businesses that often cater to (or try to take advantage of) foreigners. But in the Edo Period, this was home to sprawling mansions of the elite ruling class. Many of the street blocks still correspond to the locations of these residences. Continue reading Why is Roppongi called Roppongi

What does Yotsuya mean?

Most people seem to think the name Yotsuya is old. Old as in it pre-dates the Edo Period. But one thing that is consistent in most of the etymologies is the first kanji, 四 yottsu four. Much of the mystery of this place name seems to come from the final character. That said, the “number 4” character is also suspect. So let’s be skeptical, shall we? Continue reading What does Yotsuya mean?

ichigaya station - edo castle moat

What does Ichigaya mean?

OK, so I’ve wanted to write about Ichigaya for a long time, but it is connected to a few other place names which have made it difficult to cover until now. I’m just gonna through this out there now and say my gut instinct tells me none of the etymologies we’ll see today are correct and we’ll never know the true etymology. That said, there’s a little Ota Dokan connection, so heads up to all the Ota Dokan fans out there. Continue reading What does Ichigaya mean?