The town was the residence of a powerful Japanese feudal lord in the Edo period

Araki town, which is in between Yotsuya-sanchome Station of the Marunouchi Line and the Tsunokamizakadori once was the residence of the powerful Japanese feudal lord, Matsudaira Settsu Yoshiyuki from the Takasu clan.

The whole town is unique with its narrow alleys and stairs which surround the town. Streets wide enough for cars to pass by is limited, but this can be explained by its history with the whole area was used as the residence of the feudal lord.

After the Meiji period, the gardens and ponds were accessible by the public. The town flourished with restaurants around the pond which the waterfall, which became an entertainment geisha district.

The street, “車力門通り” (read as sharikimondori, meaning a street which was the gate for workers who delivered goods using a cart) got its name when the feudal lord’s residence was still in presence.

The town was the residence of a powerful Japanese feudal lord in the Edo period, which the “車力門通り” (read as sharikimondori, “車力門“ meaning “gate of cartage”, “通り” meaning “street”) got its street name.

The pond beside the shrine is in the center and low-elevated part of Arakicho, which has been there since the Edo period. The pond known as the “pond of the whip”, which comes back in history when Tokugawa Ieyasu used the pond to wash his horse whip. (Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which lasted for 280 years from 1603; “Matsudaira” is Ieyasu’s maiden name.)

The last lord of the Aizu clan, Matsudaira Katamori, who led the Boshin War but was severely defeated, was born in the residence which is now Arakicho.

A pond which remains from the Edo period is a rare case in the city

Even though the waterfall is gone and the pond is a lot smaller than it used to be in the Edo period, no governmental projects were held to preserve the pond. Yet, the pond still remains there with its long history. This is a rare case in the city unlike the Mori Garden of Roppongi Hills which was revived. The willow trees and cobblestone alleys also adds to the remains of the Edo period is left in Arakicho.

Muchi-no-Ike (the pond of the whip)

After the war, the town became well-known as a restaurant district of high quality. People who worked nearby at the television station, radio station, and the publishing company became regulars of the restaurants.

There are restaurants who kept the essence of the history. You will be surprised that there are restaurants that are hard to find with the narrow alleys, but yet filled with regulars all the time.

When you visit Arakicho, walk around to feel and enjoy the remains of the history. Find your favorite go-to restaurant, and talk to the owner and staffs of the restaurant to learn more about the interesting facts about the restaurant and the town of Arakicho.

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Tadaima Japan Editorial Team

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Tadaima Japan Editorial Team

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Address Araki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access ・Ten-minute walk from Yotsuya Station on the JR Chūō Line (Rapid) or JR Chūō-Sōbu Line (local). ・Five-minute walk from Yotsuya Sanchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.