A walking tour of literary spots in Yanesen – visiting Nezu town and Soseki Natsume’s former residence trace.

Soseki Natsume, Japan’s great literary figure, once lived in Nezu.  Nezu is one location of the area of “Yanesen” which was made up of the first syllable of three locations, “Yanaka,” “Nezu,” and “Sendagi.”  If you visit Nezu, you will catch a precious glimpse of how ordinary people lived in old Tokyo, and will see a lot of sites related to Soseki’s life and works.  The article will introduce you to these spots including Soseki’s former residence trace.

About other 7 great writers who lived and worked in Yanesen, we introduce them in the article titled “A Walking Tour of literary spots in Yanesen – visiting places associated with 7 great Japanese writers.”

About Soseki Natsume


source: Wikipedia

Soseki Natsume is counted among Japan’s greatest literary figures.  He was very active in the Meiji era, and had a strong connection with Nezu.  Nezu is part of the Yanasen area and is called a downtown Tokyo.  He established his house there and engaged himself writing a lot of literary works.  His famous novel “I am a Cat” and other masterpieces were written when he lived here.  The Yanesen neighborhood fortunately escaped destruction in the war, and is now known as a place where you can enjoy the mood of downtown old Tokyo.

There are a lot of places in Nezu that shaped Soseki’s life and works.

In Nezu, there remain a lot of places that shaped the life of Soseki Natsume.  In this article, we will explore spots connected with this great novelist – a “stone monument on the former site of Soseki’s home,” “Nezu Shrine,” and “Uramon zaka” that appears in his works.   All these places play an important role in his writing activities.  If you visit these spots with the atmosphere of old days, you may be able to appreciate more deeply what he thought living in Nezu.

Soseki Natsume former residence trace


source: Yahoo!ロコ

This is the house where Soseki lived for three years, and wrote a novel titled “I Am a Cat.  So the house is called “the Cat House.”  While living here, he produced numerous works.  Most of the house building was relocated to the facility in Aichi prefecture, and there now remain a guidance board and a statue of a cat.  We no longer can see the house as it was.  But, you will find it quite inspiring when you look back to the days when he lived and wrote here.

・Spot name : Soseki Natsume former residence trace

・Address: Nippon Medical School Alumni Association Building, 2-20-7, Mukogaoka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Japan 113-0023

・The Routes (Subway route, Bus route)

8-minute walk from Hon-Komagome Station (Tokyo Metro)

10-minute walk from Sendagi Station (Tokyo Metro)

・The time required from Haneda Airport, Narita Airport and Tokyo Station

About 60 minutes from Haneda Airport/ about 70 minutes from Narita Airport/ about 20 minutes from Tokyo Station

Nezu Shrine (the Bungo Ikoi no ishi – “Stone of the Literary Greats”)


source: Flickr

The historical shrine called Nezu Shrine was erected about 1900 years ago.  Nezu Shrine’s main sanctuary called “Shaden” is now designated as a national important cultural property.  In the precincts of a Shrine there is a stone called “the Bungo ikoi no ishi (“Stone of the Literary Greats”) on which Soseki is said to have sat and thought up new ideas for his literary works on every visit to a Shrine.  When you go through Romon (two-story gate), soon you will find a large stone on your left.  Everyone can sit down on it, and see the same scenes as Soseki saw a long time ago.  Why don’t you visit Shrine and appreciate the history in a fantastic atmosphere that is drifting around the Shrine precinct.

・Spot name: Nezu Shrine

・Address: 1-28-9, Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0031

・Phone: 03-3822-0753

・The Routes (Subway route, Bus route)

5-minute walk from Nezu Station / Sendagi Station on Chiyoda Line and

Todai Mae Station on Nanboku Line
10-minute walk from Hakusan Station on Mita Line

・The time required from Haneda Airport, Narita Airport and Tokyo Station

About 40 minutes from Haneda Airport/about 60 minutes from Narita Airport/ about 25 minutes from Tokyo Station

・Official Site link:http://www.nedujinja.or.jp/index.html

・Opening Hours

March to September: Closed at 18:00PM

February & October: Closed at 17:30PM

January to November: Closed at 17:00PM

Uramon Zaka

![](https://res.cloudinary.com/magicaltrip/image/upload/q_auto,f_auto/v1522806955/9d079c507daab0450ef8d4ea0a4e4088_kumssx.jpg)
source: [東京さまよい記](http://blog.goo.ne.jp/asaichibei/e/5a7c8cd5452ee168c3cb2ff654fd56e6)
 

The hill road “Uramon zaka” starts from the area called “the Valley of Nezu,” passes through the back gate of Nezu Shrine, and stretches up to Hongo.  On either side of the road there is a continuous row of comfortable-looking houses, rather than gaudy and showy ones.  We can imagine Soseki must have walked along the road when he lived in Nezu.  He also wrote about this road in his book, “Michikusa- Loitering on the way”  The area around this road is considered to retain the atmosphere of old Tokyo.  So, it may be a good idea for you to stroll down the road on a tour of locations where Soseki Natsume lived, worked and enjoyed life.

・Spot Name: Uramon zaka

・Address: 2-2-17, Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0022

・The Routes (Subway route, Bus route)

5-minute walk from Nezu Station / Sendagi Station on Chiyoda Line and Todai Mae Station on Nanboku Line

・The time required from Haneda Airport, Narita Airport and Tokyo Station

About 40 minutes from Haneda Airport/ about 60 minutes from Narita Airport/ about 25 minutes from Tokyo Station

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About Shoto Hachiya

Hello, my name is Shoto! I’ve lived in and traveled many countries. Through the experiences, I saw a lot of different cultures and customs, and that made me realize how unique Japanese culture is.