Living in Hakusan, Tokyo: Guide for Foreigners
Hakusan is a quiet neighborhood located in the heart of Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward. Like many of Bunkyo's neighborhoods, it's a center of college life in the city, which allows easy access to the rest of Tokyo via its train station.
Things To See And Do In Hakusan
Hakusan Shrine is the highlight of this neighborhood. First built in 948, the shrine was an important religious site throughout Tokyo's history, and is today best known as the venue for the Hydrangea festival organized every June. Throughout the year, people visit the shrine in hopes to fix issues in their marriage and other relationships. Another belief is that the shrine helps with toothaches—and the superstition went so far that it's now possible to hold a service for your toothbrush!
Another famous attraction in Hakusan is the Koishikawa Botanical Garden, owned by the University of Tokyo. It preserves thousands of plant and tree species and is a popular place for cherry-blossom viewing. In the northern part of the garden, you can also find the University Museum that's located in one of the University's oldest buildings and showcases interesting architectural models from around the world.
What it's Like to Live In Hakusan
Hakusan is popular as a residential area for families, because in addition to housing several University of Tokyo buildings, it's also home to a number of kindergartens, elementary schools, nurseries and playground.
Restaurants, bars, and shops are mainly located in the center of the neighborhood and cater to the local clientele. The restaurants mainly serve traditional Japanese dishes, and the shops focus on local groceries. There are also several Shōwa-style cafés, known for their kitschy design that fuses eastern and western aesthetics.
The traffic hub of the neighborhood is Hakusan Station, operated by the Toei Subway and served by Toei Mita Line, which goes from Shinagawa all the way north to Itabashi City.
If you want to rent an apartment in Hakusan, prices are on par with similar areas of Tokyo. Single bedroom apartments of around 20 square meters start at 80,000 yen per month, while you can expect to pay between 130,000 yen and 200,000 yen per month for a more comfortable 50 square meter apartment.
Hakusan is a quiet area and a popular residential neighborhood for families. It's popular for educational facilities, but also shops and restaurants, all of which make it a pleasant area to reside in. As such, it is especially attractive to expats arriving with their children, or those who want to experience an authentic Tokyo lifestyle, not as influenced by other cultures as other downtown neighborhoods.
Sources: Visit Japan, Old Tokyo, Japan Guide, Tokyo Government, Gaijinpot
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