Just one train stop from Tokyo station, with plenty of hole-in-the-wall shops and restaurants
Kanda is located within a few minutes’ walking distance from the Tokyo Imperial Palace and Tokyo station. It’s filled with high-rise office buildings that become more prominent as you make your way toward Shin-Nihonbashi, Otemachi and Tokyo station 10-minutes away in either direction. Kanda station sits right in the middle of the largest financial district in Japan, however, this is a pretty interesting contrast to the area itself; which resembles a less crowded Ueno station.
Tokyo Imperial Palace
You’ll find plenty of things to do around here, mostly in the form of fun night-time hangouts and entertainment. The station is surrounded by many local clothing shops, izakaya, international food restaurants, karaoke bars, girls clubs, snacks, liquor stores and pachinko parlors. There’s also a small video game arcade and darts bar in addition to a number of pubs, pizzerias and other eateries built directly into the underside of railways entering and exiting the station.
A small shopping street runs from the west exit of the station heading towards the Uchikanda residential and shopping area with discount clothing stores, household goods shops and ramen joints.
Venturing further through this area towards Hongo Dori, you’ll find a few shops that sell real, live (and expensive) Japanese samurai swords, armor and kimonos. Kanda is also home to a number of technical engineering colleges, the most prestigious of which is Tokyo Denki University.
Shrines and festivals
A major cultural site for the Kanda area is the beautiful Kanda Myojin Shrine. This shrine is popular with the insanely large crowds of people that it attracts during the Edo San Dai (Edo Three Shrines) matsuri, or festivals, which include the Kanda, Fukagawa and Sanno ones held every two-to-three years in the area. During this time, the streets overflow with Japanese and foreign visitors dressed in happi (a traditional Japanese straight-sleeved coat) complete with tabi (Japanese spit-toe socks) and headbands, dancing to reverberating taiko drums and ready to get doused with water while hauling an 800-to-1,400-pound mikoshi (mobile Shinto shrine) through the city streets in reverence to the deities.
Food and beer stands — as well as traditional games for children — line the streets of these festivals, making them a great party place for families with or without small children to cut loose and party into sunset hours.