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Posts Tagged ‘shinjuku ward’

What does Kagurazaka mean?

In Japanese History on February 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

神楽坂
Kagurazaka (Entertainment of the Gods Hill)

Don’t you just love these names?

Why is Kagurazaka called Kagurazaka?

Kagurazaka at night.

This one doesn’t have much of a story, but it’s definitely a cool spot in Tokyo. Kagura is a kind of Shinto ritual dance. It’s ancient and stylized and… I’ll be honest, I don’t know very much about it besides the name. If you want to learn more about it, read here: Kagura.

Anyways, the name was most likely given around the 1820’s (Edo Period) because music coming from the shrines echoed through the streets.

Why is Kagurazaka called Kagurazaka?

Kagurazaka by day.

In the Edo Period this area fell outside the very outermost boundary of Edo Castle (the present day, much diminished Imperial Palace).  As you can imagine, rich samurai and the feudal lords are the only types who could live or enjoy recreation in the areas surrounding the castle. “Kagura Hills” was just such an area. It wasn’t a “pleasure quarters” in the sense that Yoshiwara was, but it was the site of several high end shops for enjoying entertainment by Edo’s top geishas. If I’m not mistaken, the only 2 places in Tokyo where you can still see geisha are Kagurazaka and Ginza – the shops are extremely expensive. There might be some other places, but Kagurazaka is the most famous.

Why is Kagurazaka called Kagurazaka?

Feels like Edo!

The area retains some of the Edo flavor, so it’s a nice area to visit if you want to get a feel for the traditional look of Edo/Tokyo. There is a huge French ex-pat community in Kagurazaka, so if you want to get a feel for Paris, you can do that here, too…. lol

Why is Shinjuku called Shinjuku?

In Japanese History on February 16, 2013 at 6:09 am

新宿
Shinjuku (New Shuku → New Post Town)

The word 宿 shuku (宿場 shuku-ba “rest town”) was used in the Edo Period to refer to post towns on the highway system connecting various feudal domains. When a certain daimyō built his lower residence in the area, a new post town was created on the Kōshū Kaidō post road and named “new post town.”

koshu kaido

Map of the shukuba on the Koshukaido.
The road stretched from Edo to present day Nagano.

The daimyō family who lived here was called 内藤 (Naitō), so the name of the town became NaitōShinjuku (New Shuku Naito). The name Naito-Shinjuku persisted until the 1920’s.

As a post town, there would have been many places to drink and get laid. Modern Shinjuku isn’t much different… except that the Tokyo Municipal Government is also based there. Awwwww yeah.

Shinjuku or Sinjuku?

Shinjuku at night

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