Yotsuya Area Guide

Yotsuya is a centrally located residential neighborhood in the southeastern corner of Shinjuku Ward. It has a relaxed, suburban vibe despite being a short train ride to major stations like Shinjuku, Tokyo, and Akasaka. The neighborhood is home to a number of iconic institutions, including Sophia University. For residents, one of the biggest perks of living in Yotsuya is being within walking distance to Shinjuku National Garden, one of Japan's top hanami (cherry blossom viewing) destinations.

Details

Highlights
-- Very central location close to both Shinjuku and Tokyo stations.
-- Home to Sophia University, one of Tokyo's highest ranking universities.
-- Quiet, calm residential atmosphere in the middle of the city.
-- Not known as a foodie destination, but you can find some hidden gems in the small streets throughout this neighborhood.

Contents

Location

Yotsuya is located in the southeastern portion of Shinjuku City, where it is bordered by Minato and Chiyoda wards. Shinjuku Avenue (新宿通り) cuts east-west through Yotsuya, with many businesses and restaurants lining this large street, and Sotobori Avenue (外堀通り), one of Tokyo’s main thoroughfares, intersects Shinjuku Avenue near Yotsuya Station.

Yotsuya Station is just four stops east of Shinjuku Station, which means that you are just a few minutes subway ride away from one of Tokyo’s major shopping and entertainment hubs.

The Yotsuya area is considered by locals to be an upper-middle class residential neighborhood because of its central location and proximity to major historic landmarks: the Akasaka Palace (State Guest House) and Shinjuku National Garden, originally a private residence of Lord Naito, a feudal lord of the Edo period, who built a mansion and private garden there. After the second world war, this beautifully landscaped 144-acre garden was re-designated as a national garden and open to the public.

 

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is considered one of Japan’s top three cherry blossom viewing spots, but for nearby residents it is a year-round neighborhood park, with spacious lawns, three formal gardens (a French formal garden, English landscape garden, and traditional Japanese garden) and miles of walking paths. It is an oasis for jogging, walking, and picnicking that is located just a 15-min walk from the bustle of Shinjuku. The park is about a 20-min walk west down Shinjuku Avenue from Yotsuya Station. Image: WIkipedia

Yotsuya is located just south of Ichigaya and Iidbashi, also considered highly desirable, central residential neighborhoods. A short walk north along Sotobori Avenue will take you to the Ichigaya area. Sotobori Avenue is lined with sakura trees, as well as an excellent bike and jogging path, both of which contribute to Yotsuya’s calm, residential feel.

Yotsuya is also home to the prestigious Sophia University, one of Japan’s top universities. And just to the south of the station is a very important government fixture: the Akasaka Palace. But once you move away from this main road you’ll find that Yotsuya has a very quiet residential feel despite being located so centrally in Tokyo.

Key Stats

Average Rent in Yotsuya

Apartment Type Average Rent ($1 = ¥110)
1R 1K ¥122,300/month ($1,110)
1LDK 2K 2DK ¥205,700/month ($1,870)
2LDK 3K 3DK ¥364,100/month ($3,310)

Apartments For Rent in Yotsuya

Train Lines

JR/Subway/Other Line
JR  Chuo Line (Rapid)
JR  Chuo-Sobu Line (Local)
Tokyo Metro  Marunouchi
Tokyo Metro  Namboku

Accessibility

Transportation to…  Line Time
Shinjuku Chuo Line (Rapid), direct 7 min
Shibuya Chuo Line (Rapid) (Shibuya), Yamanote Line 15 min
Tokyo Chuo Line (Rapid), direct 10 min
Shinagawa Chuo Line (Rapid) (Tokyo), Yamanote Line 27 min
Roppongi Marunouchi (Kasumigaseki), Hibiya 14 min
Yokohama, Kanagawa Chuo Line (Rapid) (Tokyo), Tokaido Line 42 min

Looking across Shinjuku-Dori Ave. You can exit from Yotsuya Station on either side of this road. Photo: Scott Kouchi

Orientation Around the Station

Yotsuya Station is serviced by four train lines: JR Chuo (Rapid), JR Chuo-Sobu (Local), Tokyo Metro Marunouchi, and Tokyo Metro Namboku. Its central location and access to both JR and subway lines is one of its main advantages as a residential neighborhoods.

To get to the JR lines, you have an option between the Kojimachi Exit (麹町出口) and the Akasaka Exit (赤坂出口).

  • The Kojimachi Exit is on the same island as the Atre store. This is the exit to take if you want to get to Sophia University.
  • The aptly named Akasaka Exit will guide you south of the station, closer to the Akasaka Imperial Property. When exiting, you’ll be close to a police box.

If you are on Tokyo Metro lines, you have a few options available.

  • By using Exit 3, you can exit through Kojimachi Exit, the same as the JR exit listed above.
  • Exit 1 will bring you south of the station to where the Akasaka Exit is.
  • Exit 2 is west of the station, you’ll traverse underground for a bit before getting to exit to ground level. You’ll pop up next to a KFC and the entrance to Shinmichi Street.

Another look down Shinjuku-Dori Ave. Businesses and apartments line this street throughout Yotsuya. Photo: Scott Kouchi

Sophia University

Established in 1913, Sophia University is one of Japan’s most highly respected educational institutions. With a very competitive acceptance process (only approximately 5% of applicants are accepted), it ranks with Keio University and Waseda University as one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan.

Sophia University is also famous for its international exchange programs, which gives the neighborhood an international college-town feel. It has 300 partner institutions worldwide, and each year, 600 foreign exchange students come to study at the Yotsuya campus. Sophia also has numerous foreign visiting professors and faculty members.

Akasaka Imperial Property

South of Yotsuya Station is the Akasaka Imperial Property. On the property you’ll find various government fixtures such as the State Guest House and the Residence of Prince Akishino.

Hotel New Otani

Built in response to worries of a shortage of hotels for visitors during the 1964 olympics, this grandiose building currently holds 1,439 rooms and 39 restaurants. When it was completed, it was the tallest building in Japan at 65 m (215 feet) high. For comparison, the current tallest building (not structure) is the Abeno Harukas building in Osaka at 300 m (984 feet). If you’re a fan of James Bond films you might find parts of this hotel familiar since it was used as a location in the Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

Hotel New Otani is considered one of Japan’s most iconic hotels both for its historic and architectural significance. If you live in Yostuya, you’ll also be able to enjoy the beautifully landscaped Japanese garden at your leisure, as it is open to the public, not just hotel guests. The garden is a 40,000-sqm oasis consisting of a 6-m waterfall, pond with over 300 carp, and red arched bridge. There are also 4 restaurants in the garden and 7 restaurants inside the hotel overlooking the garden.

Residential Vibe

Yotsuya enjoys a reputation as a highly desirable residential area in Shinjuku, with easy access to downtown business districts. For example, from Yotsuya Station, it is a 10-min direct ride to Akasaka Station on the Marunouchi line and about a 10-min cab ride to Roppongi, south on Sotobori Avenue.

Walking and Jogging Paths

It is recommended for people who want a calm but centrally-located residential neighborhood to come home to after work, and especially if you enjoy walking or jogging along tree-lined paths (as opposed to more urban environs). Shinjuku National Garden (mentioned above), the Sotobori Avenue path along the moat, and the path around the Imperial Palace are three of Tokyo’s top walking/jogging areas; all are located within easy walking distance of Yotsuya.

Family friendly

Yotsuya is not located near international schools, but it is a family-friendly neighborhood in many other respects. In addition Shinjuku National Garden (with its many walking paths and wide-open lawns), Sotobori Park is right by Yostsuya Station (Exit 3). This is an excellent neighborhood park with a large play structure, sand boxes, tennis courts, and a baseball field. Sotobori Park is also a great place for cherry blossom viewing.

There are also many attractions nearby for pre-school-aged and school-aged children. One station west of Yotsuya on the Marunouchi line (or about 10-min walk along Shinjuku Avenue) is Yotsuya San-Chome. This neighborhood is home to the Tokyo Fire Museum (which has many fun hands-on exhibits, such as an actual rescue helicopter the kids can climb into and different firefighting uniforms to try on), the Anpanman Store, and Tokyo Toy Museum (which specializes in wooden toys and has many play areas, not just exhibits).

Yotsuya is also just one stop north of Shinanomachi Station on the Chuo line. The Shinanomachi neighborhood is known for being home to  Meiji Jingu Gaien Stadium, which is the home field of the Yakult Swallows, a tennis club, golf driving range, and ice skating rink. Families with young children will also enjoy Niko Niko park, which has excellent play structures, picnic tables and a small wooded nature area. Your kids will not want to leave this place once they discover it, so you can plan an entire afternoon here; it’s well worth the ¥100 admission fee. In the summer part of the park is transformed into a beer garden.

Supermarkets

The two main supermarkets in Yotsuya are the Seijo Ishii (a high-end supermarket chain that specializes in imported foods and wine) and the Marusho. The Seijo Ishii is located in the Atre building and the large Marusho supermarket is located down Shinjuku Avenue, near Yotusya San-Chome station. The Yotusya San-Chome branch is the flagship branch of the Marusho chain in Tokyo, and has a wide selection of meat, produce, and seafood in a large two-story building.

Dining

The Yotsuya area isn’t really a hotspot for dining or shopping, but it is just a few minutes ride from here to Shinjuku on the Marunouchi or Chuo line. Depending on your preference, this could be a major pro (tends to be quiet and calm) or somewhat of a con (lack of nightlife at your doorstep).

You will find many hidden but excellent izakaya and small-plate restaurants along San-Ei Avenue (三栄通り), which is a small road parallel to Shinjuku Avenue.

Yotsuya also has a branch of Pizza Salvatore Cuomo, which serves authentic wood-oven pizza and pasta. The wait here can be long but is worth it.

Livability

Being in the center of the city doesn’t mean everything has to be grey and concrete! Yotsuya has a great balance of natural greenery in addition to being quite close to large parks like Shinjuku Gyoen Park. Photo: Scott Kouchi

Yotsuya is centrally located, with easy access  west to Shinjuku, east to Tokyo or south to Akasaka and Roppongi. Since it has a residential feel and is quieter compared to neighborhoods like Daikanyama and Omotesando. With that said, those who are single but enjoy a calmer neighborhood might also find this area to be a perfect match.

Once you move away from the large main road, you’ll find a wide array of small, local restaurants, hair salons, and cafes. Photo: Scott Kouchi

This could also be a good compromise for couples who work in opposite ends of Tokyo.

The steps of Suga Shrine. Pop-culture and anime lovers will recognize this from the 2017 blockbuster anime film Your Name. Photo: Scott Kouchi

Short History of Yotsuya

The name “Yotsuya” (四ツ谷) literally translates to “four valleys” and is said to have come from the fact that way back in time, when the area was just farm land, there were no distinguishing features of the area save for four teahouses. Prior to 1943, when Tokyo was just a city, Yotsuya was one of the wards of Tokyo. Today, Yotsuya is considered to be a part of Shinjuku City.

Yotsuya is also home to Sainen-Ji (Temple), the final resting place of Hattori Hanzo, considered the greatest ninja to have ever lived and who was instrumental to the rise of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the late 16th century.

Useful Info at a Glance

Supermarkets

Nearby Supermarkets Hours Address
SEIJO ISHII Atre Yotsuya Mon. – Sat.: 7:30 AM – 10:00 PM

Sun.: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM

〒160-0004 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Yotsuya, 1 Chome−5−25 アトレ四谷
Marushō Wakaba shop Mon. – Fri.: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Sat.: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Sun.: 8:30 AM – 9:00 PM

2-chōme-2-12 Wakaba, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0011
My Basket Yotsuya 2-chome Shop 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM 〒160-0004 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Yotsuya, 2 Chome−8 新一ビル

*This is just a selection of supermarkets in the area.

Gyms

Nearby Gyms Hours Address
Gold’s Gym Yotsuya Tokyo Mon. – Fri.: 7:30 AM – 11:00 PM

Sat.: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Sun.: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

〒102-0085 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Rokubanchō, 六番町13番地2 桃園学園ビル
Jexer Fitness club Mon. – Fri.: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Sat.: 8:00 AM – 9:30 PM

Sun.: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

〒160-0004 Tokyo, 新宿区Yotsuya, 1 Chome, 外濠公園内

*These are just examples of gyms available in the area.

Universities

Nearby Universities Information
Sophia University Sophia University Home Page

Ward Office, Police, Library

Nearby Community Center/City Hall/Police Station Hours Address
Shinjuku Ward Yotsuya special branch office Mon., Wed., Thu., Fri.: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Tue.: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM

Sat. – Sun.: Closed

87 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014
Shinjuku-ward Yotsuya Library Mon., Wed., Thur., Fri., Sat.: 9:00 AM – 9:45 PM

Sun.: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tue.: Closed

87 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014
Metropolitan Police Department Yotsuya Police Station Temporary Government Building Mon. – Fri.: 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM

Sat. – Sun.: Closed

Holidays: Closed

1 Chome-26-12 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022

Clinics

Nearby Clinics Address
Keio University Hospital 〒160-8582 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinanomachi, 35
Akasaka-Mitsuke Maeda Hospital 1 Chome-1-5 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051

*These are examples of clinics in the area.

Parks

Family-Friendly Features

Nearby Family Friendly Features Address
Ichibanchō Children Hall Ichibancho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-0082

Yotsuya Apartments

Apartments for rent near Yotsuya Station:

Yotsuya can be an ideal location for those who spend their time equally between Shinjuku (western area of downtown Tokyo) and Tokyo (eastern area of downtown Tokyo), as it’s located practically in the middle of both areas. Unlike other centrally located areas such as Akasaka and Roppongi, the area is mostly a residential area rather than a commercial/residential blend.

Apartments For Rent in Yotsuya

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