You’ll also find family plots that show graves of each generation, dating back hundreds of years and up to present. By this you’ll witness the transformation of gravestone craftsmanship. From nothing more than large boulders and a chiseled inscription to present day highly polished and refined granite and basalt.
Spilling over into many city blocks, the graveyard is nearly the size of the enormous and neighboring Ueno Park. Although immense, it is different from western graveyards which are vast expanses over a tree-less field (typically) Yanaka is very intimate and quaint, with and abundance of foliage and winding roads and paths.
Yanaka also contains some of Tokyo’s oldest and treasured temples. Massive outdoor copper Buddha at Tennouji Temple or the twenty foot high golden Buddha statue at the Zensho-en Temple just to name a few. This area in fact has the highest concentration of temples than anywhere else in the city, one could very well spend a couple days just searching them out.
If you grow hungry during your exploration you’ll be pleased to know that just on the west edge of the graveyard lies the famed Yanaka Ginza, an old market where you can purchase traditional Japanese items as well as authentic street food.
Far from creepy, an explorer of Tokyo will do well to visit Yanaka and take in the rich history and experience it has to offer. In a city that is becoming more modern by the day it is hard to find old world authenticity in Tokyo. Yanaka doesn’t disappoint and delivers more than expected.