What seems like an ancient wood residence sits incongrously on the main street of Akasaka. I visited this central Tokyo neighborhood twice recently for work. Each time I was amazed by this particular house, directly next door to an up-to-the-last-minute McDonalds, dwarfed by a few street trees, and modern high-rise towers. The owners must have turned down many offers for developing their land.
Here’s another view of this small home next to fast food modernitee.
The street contains a Metro station and a number of buildings from the 1960s to this decade. My favorite is the one in the middle of the next photo. The glass facade looks like shards jutting in and out for 15 stories.
Akasaka has a wonderful mix of the slick newest building styles, the banality that you see everywhere in Tokyo, and bits and pieces of old Tokyo charm.
My work colleagues took me into an ugly mid-rise building where there was a restaurant that looked like a throw-back to the 1960s. We sat on a tatami mat, with no floor cut-outs to make sitting easier, and the stout and friendly proprietress served up delicious bento box of sashimi and tempura for me, aji-don for my new friends. The per person cost, including service, was $11.
On a smaller side street, I saw two fancier restaurants with interesting gardens. The first is incredibly simple and mostly obscured by the wall.
The second is wonderfully fussy, including the bamboo hat that is both decorative and a means to train a pine tree.