Yanaka Cemetery

Though perhaps not an A-list attraction, the Yanaka Cemetery is certainly worth a visit, especially if you are a resident of Tokyo or have an interest in the city’s history. Located north of the Ueno district, it stretches between Uguisudani Station and Nippori, two stops away on the Yamanote Line. It’s home to many famous Japanese luminaries, including the last Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, a painter called Yokoyama Taikan, and the famous writer Ichiyo Higuchi. (She’s the lady on the 5000 yen note.)

An incredibly cheerful and friendly grave cleaner with her wonderful utility bike. The cleaning staff pedals all over the monstrous graveyard on them.

The cemetery is over 100,000 square meters, and there are more than 7000 graves to clean, so the groundskeepers use these bikes to get around.

There’s a little playground as well.

It’s also got its own police box!

Paying respects on Shubun no Hi (The Autumnal Equinox)

If you’re interested in a walking tour, you might want to start at Nishi-Nippori Station. It’s not officially part of the graveyard, but there are a lot of small temples, and a pleasant walk along an old-fashioned neighborhood.
The best time to visit is in cherry blossom season, as there are thousands of cherry blossom trees in the cemetery. Going during the Obon holidays (Aug. 13-15), around the first day of spring, and around the first day of fall are also interesting because there are a lot of people there cleaning graves.

This site has some good walking tours:
http://www.digi-promotion.com/tokyo-neighborhoods/yanaka/
There’s also a useful pamphlet you can pick up called the “Arakawa City Nippori Walking Map” at tourist information centers.
Here’s a list of famous people buried in the cemetery: http://www.findagrave.com/php/famous.php?FScemeteryid=1059268&page=cem
Another post about “grave cleaning day”: http://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/grave-cleaning-day/

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3 Responses to “Yanaka Cemetery”

  1. Jomyo-in, the Jizo Temple « Quirky Japan Blog Says:

    [...] The temple is right next to the entrance of the Yanaka Cemetery. [...]

  2. cimetière de yanaka | tokyo fever Says:

    […] Autres photos de Yanaka. […]


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