One way to think about Kanda is to picture early Brooklyn, before the hipsters completely took over. It’s a place that perfectly embodies old and new Tokyo, a university town that attracts more than students. It’s a great place to live (some even think it’s one of the best kept secrets of Tokyo) with just about everything you need in one place — restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and easy access to just about any other part of the city. While tall gleaming skyscrapers haven’t taken over the landscape like much of Tokyo, there’s a good balance of historical and contemporary architecture to keep things interesting.
Walk around and you’ll find neighborhood pockets that focusing on one thing: an entire street of used bookstores, another with stores and stores hawking vintage and new guitars; a three-story mecca for old-school arcade games; an entire block for ski and snowboarding gear. You can find Michelin-starred restaurants, gyoza specialists, internationally known ramen shops, and even great burger joints around the corner from each other. With friendly and fiercely proud locals who want to share the area’s history, from origami to the Kanda Myojin Shrine, this is a quieter part of Tokyo just waiting to be discovered.
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* May vary and subject to change