Yanaka Cemetery is a large cemetery located north of Ueno in Yanaka 7-chome, Taito, Tokyo, Japan. The Yanaka sector of Taito is one of the few Tokyo neighborhoods in which the old Shitamachi atmosphere can still be felt. The cemetery is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms that in April completely cover its paths, and for that reason that its central street is often called Cherry-blossom Avenue.
Although renamed over 72 years ago, the cemetery is still often called with its old official name, Yanaka Bochi , and not Yanaka Reien. It has a surface of over 100 thousand square meters and hosts about 7 thousand graves. The cemetery has its own police station and a section dedicated to the Tokugawa clan, family of the 15 Tokugawa shoguns of Japan, which however is closed to the public and must be peeked at from above the surrounding walls. The last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, also known as Keiki, rests here.
The cemetery used to be part of a Buddhist temple called Tenno-ji , and its central street used to be the road (sando) approaching it. At about the middle point of the central street are the ruins of the five-storied pagoda that became the model for Koda Rohan's novel The Five-Storied Pagoda. The pagoda had been a donation made in 1908 by Tenno-ji itself. The five-storied pagoda was burned one summer night in 1957 in the so-called Yanaka Five-Storied Pagoda Double-Suicide Arson Case and was later declared a historical landmark by the city authorities.