Uguisudani

Taito-ku

Uguisudani - The culture behind the brightly lit entertainment district-

When you ask people about the image of Uguisudani, most of them would answer “a glittering neon nightlife district”. Since it is near to Yoshiwara, a traditional pleasure district from the Edo period, hotels and elegant shops stand side by side around Uguisudani station. It is located in Tokyo’s Taito-ward, and the station serves the JR Keihin-Tohoku and JR Yamanote lines. The name Uguisudani literally means “Valley of the Nightingales”. It is comes from an episode in the history Edo period, where the imperial family from Kyoto did not like the songs of local birds, and so ordered nightingales to be brought in from Kyoto.

If you walk about five minutes from the station, there is “Shiki-an”,the house of Masaoka Shiki, a prominent literary figure representative of the Meiji period. “Shiki-an” had been a cultural hub for spreading Japanese haiku, and was rebuilt after the war. Shiki’s belongings and plants which were subjects of his haiku are preserved even now, and it is an important place in terms of retaining the legacy and atmosphere of the Meiji period.

Alternatively, there are some interesting spots that have a kinship with its pleasure district, such as a live music club which used to be a cabaret. The longer you live there, the stronger you'll find yourself attracted by its deep culture. If you know Uguisudani, then in many ways you already know Japan deeply.

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