Despite being a significantly modern and upscale part of the city, Akasaka is littered with a few ancient temples and shrines all steeped in religious history. One of them is Hie Shrine, often frequented by people praying for love, marriage, or fertility. Interestingly, the locals often include a visit to the shrine in their daily morning routine before heading off to work. Flanked by modern office buildings on both sides, the shrine stands out as it’s surrounded by lush greenery. It’s best known for its bright red shrine gates (Torii) leading up to the shrine itself.
You might also want to visit Nogi Shrine, nestled between Akasaka and Roppongi. It is a place for modern-day Shinto worship dedicated to Meiji era army general and educator Nogi Maresuke. Tranquil and serene, the shrine seems completely detached from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding areas. On the fourth Sunday of each month, an antique flea market can be found there where locals sell some of their old furniture, wares, and other trinkets.
How to get there: Hie Shrine is a 5-minute walk from both Tameike-sanno Station (on the Ginza Line and Namboku Line) or Akasaka-mitsuke Station (on the Ginza Line and Marunouchi Line). Nogi Shrine, on the other hand, is less than 5 minutes away from the Nogizaka Station on the Chiyoda Line.
3. Marvel at the majestic Akasaka Palace
The Akasaka Palace, also known as the State Guesthouse, is one of the largest buildings constructed during the Meiji period. The palace, located on the Akasaka Estate, is definitely a sight to behold. Magnificent and grandiose, the palace resembles the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, with an ornate entrance, marble floors, and a grand staircase.
You can visit the palace for varying fees, depending on the type of visit. Visits are categorised into four types and are dependent on the combination of facilities you wish to visit. Ticket prices range from 300 to 2000 yen, depending on your age, and ticket prices may change during special exhibition periods. Tip: the view from the gates is often splendid enough even if you don’t enter the palace grounds!
How to get there: The Akasaka Palace is just 5 minutes away from Yotsuya Station on the Marunouchi and Namboku Subway Lines.
4. Dine with ninjas at the Ninja Akasaka restaurant