Toranomon is not really an area of the city we often visit. It’s in between the Ginza/Shimbashi area and the government buildings of Kokkaigijido. The name Toranomon actually means “Tigers Gate” and refers to the original southernmost gate of the Edo Castle that once dominated central Edo…it’s gone now though and been replaced by fairly drab office buildings.
But, there are a couple of things to see here that I think make it a worthwhile visit. Firstly there is a really great Samurai sword shop here where you can view original swords as well as purchase newer replicas and have them shipped to wherever you come from. Prices range from around 150,000 yen to millions of yen. Strangely, the manager wouldn’t allow us to link to their site or mention their name…but we can always take you there if you ask us!
Another reason to visit the area is to take a look at the small and mostly unknown Konpiragu shrine which you’ll find tucked away between more of those high rise modern buildings. But this I think really captures modern Tokyo city, a mish-mash of old and new which somehow seem to work really well together. We were there around lunch time and it was interesting to see the business suits come out of the glass doors and then spend a few minutes of quiet reflexion in front of Konpiragu.
Have a look at these timeline photos of Konpiragu – from the Meiji period, through the destruction of the temple by bombing in the war and on to the present day, very interesting!