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Contrary to expectation, there is a cliff in Surugadai in the heart of Tokyo.


Surugadai area centering on Jr Ochanomizu Station originally was a hill called Kanda-yama with an uneven hill top. At the end of the 16th century, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun in Edo, ordered to build Kanda-gawa canal running through the center of Kanda-yama as a means of flood control. At the same time, the uneven hilltop was improved into a flat area suitable to live. As a result of this civil engineering works, Kanda-yama was divided into two elevated grounds, Suruga-dai and Yushima-dai. Suruga-dai developed in this way unexpectedly has a cliff in its southwestern part. No roads ran over this cliff though, a couple of stone staircases were built here as a part of the reconstruction work after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The first photo shows a steep and straight staircase called Otokozaka meaning a manlike staircase. The second one is a comparatively gentle and curved staircase with three landings called Onnazaka meaning womanlike staircase. The distance between these two staircases is only 100 meters. They are quite steep, but the number of the users is constant. This area is known as the Latin Quarter of Japan because there are many universities and young students here.


Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,

Masahisa Takaki.

全国通訳案内士 高木聖久。





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