Akasaka is a residential and commercial district of Minato-Tokyo, located west of the government center in Nagatachō and north of the Roppongi nightlife district.
Akasaka is appealing more for the high concentration of luxury hotels than for any tourist attractions that are worthy of note.
But if it happens to go here, you will certainly find some place of some interest that are worth visiting.
Akasaka (including the neighboring area of Aoyama) was a ward of Tokyo City from 1878 to 1947, and maintains a branch office of the Minato City government.
An attractive place to see in Akasaka is the Hie Shrine, located a the top a little hill at the edge of the area.
This famous Tokyo shrine dates back to 1478 and was originally built inside the Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace) as protection from its enemies. It was moved to its present site in 1659, its role as guardian of the Palace unchanged.
Although the outside facade is an insignificant concrete, the torii gate has images of monkeys : the messenger of the shrine’s god. A fine collection of Tokugawa swords and deity figures once paraded in the Sanno Festival are also on display in the shrine museum.
Reached by a steep flight of stairs under a veritable tunnel of orange torii, the shrine grounds are an oasis of tranquillity in the middle of Tokyo and, in good weather, a popular place for a lunchtime picnic. Once a year, the shrine holds the rather modest Sanno Matsuri festival, featuring the usual panoply of music, dancing, yatai stalls and sake.
A famous building in this district is Akasaka Palace : a former imperial residence that functions today as the “State Guesthouse”.
It is a facility in which the government of Japan accommodates visiting state dignitaries : the building took on its present function in 1974, having previously been an imperial detached palace. In 2009 the palace has been designated as National Treasure of Japan.
Below are some companies that have based their headquarters in Akasaka :
- EMI Music Japan;
- Epic Records Japan;
- Fuji Xerox;
- Hudson Soft;
- JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization);
- Tokyo Broadcasting System;
- Universal Music Japan LLC;
- Geneon Universal Entertainment.