High Class Residential Areas in Central Tokyo

Poste date: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tokyo is dotted with many high class residential areas which have historical prestige.

Hiroo, Azabu, Shoto, Akasaka, Aoyama, Mejiro, Denenchofu, etc. are such examples of so-called prestigious addresses on hill top locations.

In the old days such areas used to be residential areas for samurais, mostly located on hill tops with nice views; predominately quiet neighborhoods and wider sky lines reserved for the elite within central Tokyo. Now these areas are lined with luxurious low-rise condominiums and single-family homes built within spacious land areas giving the neighborhood a sophisticated impression.


Here we would like to specifically introduce high class residential areas with the old prestigious place names which do not appear on a map (addresses and station names) and can only be seen in the name of the condominiums in the area.


The place names which do not exist anymore after address unifications or changes of town names, but have been passed down locally from old days:The Jonan Gozan (Ikedayama, Gotenyama, Shimazuyama, Hanabusayama, Yatsuyama), Sengokuyama, Akasaka Hikawacho, Azabu Kasumicho, Azabu Kougaicho, Mita Tsunamachi, Chojamaru, Suwayama, etc.


These names have a high branding power and evoke a high class image when you find them in the names of condominiums.

 

The Jonan Gozan

The Jonan Gozan (go= five, zan= mountain) is a term used to define the 5 hill top areas in the Jonan (Jo= castle, nan= south) district of Tokyo - the area from Meguro Station to Shinagawa Station. The 5 mountains are respectively: Ikedayama, Gotenyama, Shimazuyama, Hanabusayama, and Yatsuyama. Each name derives from the name of a venerable Daimyo or celebrity from a Daimyo family whose residence had been located there since the Edo Era. These areas are all currently well-known high class residential areas and as a whole, the Jonan Gozan is regarded very highly within central Tokyo.

Since the Edo Era, high class Samurais had built their residences historically on hill top locations which were easy to protect and hard to be attacked, and Daimyos had resided on hill tops and also had very spacious residences. After the end of the Meiji Era these residences had been diverted into noble family residences and other facilities such as universities, a government offices, and big hospitals. In this way the superior living environment on hill tops and spacious locations have been reserved as venerable high class residential areas today.

 

Ikedayama

The area equivalent to the hill top location in 4 and 5 Chome, Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku.

The name derives from the suburban residence of the Ikeda family of the Bizen Okayama Clan which was located in the area. It is a quiet, low-rise residential area a little away from the busy areas around JR Gotanda Station.

In this area the inner garden of the Ikeda family residence has been reserved as a Japanese-style garden named Ikedayama Park and the birthplace of Empress Michiko has been maintained as the Nemunoki garden.

 

Nemunoki-Garden

Nemunoki-Garden

Ikedayama Residential Area

Ikedayama Residential Area

Ikedayama Park

Ikedayama Park

Gotenyama

The area equivalent to the hill top location in 3-6 Chome, Kita-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku.

In the old days the place was known for its cherry blossom trees and for its hill top location overlooking the Tokyo Bay. The name derives from the Shinagawa Goten which used to be there. It has been told that in the beginning of the Edo Era Shinagawa Goten was built by the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, and ever afterwards, each generation of the Tokugawa Shogun family would visit the goten as a vacation and also to partake in falconry.

In Meiji Era there were many residences of wealthy families in the area, and in Showa period after World War II Sony Corporation moved their headquarters there and ever since then the area has been known as the place of Sony’s business foundation.

After Sony relocated to Minato-Ku in 2007 the vacant land of the head office was sold, and turned into a commercial facility “Garden City Shinagawa Gotenyama” and a luxury condominium complex, the “Prime Maison Gotenyama”.

Gotenyama Garden

Gotenyama Garden

Gotenyama Trust City

Gotenyama Residential Area

Gotenyama Residential Area

Garden City Gotenyama

Luxury Apartments in Gotenyama area

Shimazuyama

The area equivalent to the hill top location in 1 and 3 Chome of Higashi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku.

Back in the Edo Era there was the suburban residence of the Sendai Date Clan with its land of 75,000 square meters. In the Meiji Era the former lord of Kagoshima Clan Duke Shimazu purchased the area of land and built an English-style house there as a private residence, which was later used for many social events among business executives. Due to financial difficulties throughout prewar and postwar period of WWII, the ownership was transferred to Bank of Japan, and finally Seisen University purchased it and has possessed it to the present day. The house of Duke Shimazu which still exists in Seisen University Campus, is a beautiful European-style building of the renaissance style and has been designated as one of the 100 Famous Views of Shinagawa.

Seisen University

Seisen University

Shimazuyama Slope

Shimazuyama Residential Area

Shimazuyama Residential Area

Kiji Shrine

Luxury Apartments in Shimazuyama area

Hanabusayama

The area equivalent to the hill top location in 3 Chome of Kami-Osaki, Shinagawa-ku.

In the Edo Era there were many residences of Daimyo and during Meiji and Taisho Era there was a villa of the Viscount Hanabusa who was a famous diplomat and successively the president of the Japanese Red Cross Society. Presently the area is known as a quiet discreet residential area with luxurious condominiums and residences. Meguro Station of the JR Yamanote Line is nearby and the Embassy of Thailand and Colombia reside in the area.

Hanabusayama

Hanabusayama Hilltop

Hanabusayama Residential Area

Hanabusayama Residential Area

Hanabusayama Residential Area

Meguro Station

Luxury Apartments in Hanabusayama area

Yatsuyama

The area equivalent to the hill top location in 3-4 Chome of Takanawa, Minato-ku.

There are various opinions to the origin of the name; one of them is that there were mansions of eight (yatsu= eight) feudal lords in the area, and the other is that there were eight capes in the area. After the soil of Yatsuyama was used for flood restoration and landfill of the Meguro River in the Edo era, the hill was levelled, and the area is mostly flat ground now. A landmark of Yatsuyama is Kaitokaku, which used to be the villa of Iwasaki family and is currently a monumental facility owned by the Mitsubishi group. The name Yatsuyama can be seen only in the name of streets, crossings, parks, and stores in the area such as Yatsuyama Dori (known as Sony Dori), Shin-Yatsuyamabashi, Yatsuyamabashi, and Higashi-Yatsuyama Koen. While the other area names of the Jonan Gozan are used positively for the naming of condominiums for branding purposes, in the Yatsuyama area the present address name “Takanawa” is generally used for naming instead.

Kaito-kaku Gate

Kaito-kaku Gate

Kaito-kaku Surroundings

Yatsuyama-Bashi

Yatsuyama-Bashi

New Yatsuyama-Bashi Crossing

 

Other Areas

 

Sengokuyama

The area equivalent to the hill top location in 1 Chome of Roppongi and 5 Chome of Toranomon, Minato-ku.

In the Edo Era there was the residence of the Sengoku family from Tajimanokuni (Hyogo Prefecture) Izushi clan and after Meiji Era there were the residences of the nobility Sengoku family and the Higashikuninomiya family. The area is a hill top with firm ground and also spacious with a lot of green, and consequently there are many old temples, embassies, and hotels. A skyscraper complex ARK Hills Sengokuyama Mori Tower has been built in 2012 by Mori Building Co., Ltd, which has become a new landmark, and provides upscale modernity also with large green spaces.

Sengokuyama

Ark Hills Sengokuyama Mori Tower

Ark Hills Sengokuyama Mori Tower

Luxury Apartments in Sengokuyama area

Shiroyama

The area equivalent to the current location 4 Chome of Toranomon, Minato-ku.

It is told that in the old days a powerful family built a castle on a hill top area around 4 Chome of Toranomon, and then it had come to be called Shiroyama. In Edo Era the area around Kamiyacho Station was called “Nishikubo” and there were many samurai residences such as a residence of Toki family. In the Meiji Era the area had been named “Nishikubo Shiroyama”. Presently the area is occupied by the Shiroyama Garden, Shiroyama Trust Tower, and the Swedish Embassy.

Shiroyama Garden

Shiroyama Trust Tower

Shiroyama Garden Walk Path

Luxury Apartments in Shiroyama area

Akasaka Hikawacho

The area equivalent to the hill top location in 6 Chome of Akasaka, Minato-ku.

The place name has existed since 1966 and derives from Akasaka Hikawa Shrine near the area. Akasaka Hikawa Shrine is a venerable Shinto shrine which was built in 951 to enshrine Susano no Mikoto. In early Edo Era there was a residence of ASANO Takumi no Kami, who was famous for Chushingura, near Hikawa Park. In early Meiji Era there was the residence which Kaishu Katsu spent his later years in the place where "Akasaka Kids Teens Hall" is now. The venerable name of the place where many Daimyos set up their residences in the Edo Era - Many apartments built in the area have been succeeding the name of Akasaka Hikawacho.

 

Hikawa Shrine

Hikawa Shrine

Hikawa Shrine

Akasaka Kids Nandemo

Akasaka Hikawacho Residential Area

 

Azabu Kasumicho

The area equivalent to the area east of Nishi-Azabu Crossing, neighboring current 1 Chome Nishi-Azabu, and a part of 3 Chome Nishi-Azabu and 6-7 Chome Roppongi, Minato-ku.

The place name was used from 1872 to 1967. Sakurada Shrine in 3 Chome Nishi-Azabu was once called Kasumiyama Shrine and the name of Kasumicho derives from this. In the Edo Era there was the large suburban residence of Abe Harima no kami in the area. After the Meiji Era there was an extensive area owned by the Mitsui family and a dormitory for their children’s education existed in the place where "Azabu Kasumicho Park Mansion," famous as a hundred million yen condominium is built now. In Taisho Era a streetcar ran in Kasumicho. Presently many restaurants and facilities use the name of Kasumicho such as Azabu Kasumicho Church, and the area has been reserved as a quiet high class residential area away from the nearest major streets.

 

Roppongi Dori

Nisiazabu Crossing Gonpachi

Kasumicho Residential Area

Azabu Kasumicho Park Mansion

Kasumicho Residential Area – Ushizaka

Azabu Kasumicho Residential Area

Luxury Apartments in Azabu Kasumicho Area

Azabu Kougaicho

The area equivalent to the current location of 6-7 Chome Minami-Aoyama and a part of 2-4 Chome Nishi-Azabui, Minato-ku.

The place name was used from the Edo Era to 1967. It derives from the bridge named Kougaibashi over the Kougai River flowing through this area. (Kougai River is presently flowing underground in the area and slightly comes up to the ground near Tengenbashi area.) In Edo Era many Samurai residences were built here. Presently the area is a trendy and fashionable place near Gaien Nishi Dori Street and there are many high class residences built around away from the street.

The name Kougaicho can be seen in the name of Kougai Park, Kougai Elementary School, and some of the condominiums in the area.

 

Kougai Park

Kougai Elementary School

Gaien-Nishi Dori

Nishiazabu Crossing

Kougaicho Residential Area

Kougaicho Residential Area

Mita Tsunamachi

The area equivalent to the hill top location in 2 Chome of Mita, Minato-ku.

The name Mita Tsunamachi was used from 1872 to 1967. In Edo Era there were many Samurai residences with large gardens built here. In Taisho Era the head of the Mitsui family built “Tsunamachi Mitsui Club” as a guest house for Mitsui Zaibatsu, in the vacant land with about 6000 tsubo where the residence of Hyuga Sadowara clan of Shimazu family and that of Aizu clan once existed.

Tsunamachi Mitsui Club is still used as a guest house for Mitsui Group. The place where the Italian Embassy is built now was the location of the second residence of Iyo Matsuyama clan, and is famous as the ground where Ako lordless samurais committed hara-kiri. The Japanese traditional garden style from the Edo era has been preserved in the Italian embassy with scenic beauty. The neighborhood is quiet and full of greenery, and high-quality condominiums are built around in spacious grounds.

Tsunamachi Mitsui Club

Australian Embassy

Embassy of Italy

Mita Tsunamachi Residential Area

Mita Tsunamachi Residential Area

Tsuna Saka

 

Chojamaru

The area equivalent to current 2 Chome, Kami-Osaki and a part of 1 Chome, Mita, Meguro-ku.

The name derives from the powerful family which moved to this area in the Muromachi Era and was called Shirokane Choja. Later the area became the place of Samurai residences, and in the early Showa Era the area was developed as an early modern residential area by Yaichiro Yoshida who made success as a kimono merchant. In the pre-war (WWII) time many high-ranking officials and politicians, and prominent firm's presidents set up residences in the area. Presently low-rise high class residences are spread out from the area between Ebisu Garden Place and Institute of Nature Study through to the area neighboring the Meguro Station. It is convenient area along JR Yamanote line and is adjacent to Ebisu Garden Place. The name Chojamaru can be seen in the name of many of the luxurious condominiums in the area.

 

Chojamaru Residential Area

Chojamaru Residential Area

Chojamaru Residential Area

Ebisu Garden Place

Ebisu Garden Place

Meguro Station Surroundings