Eifukucho 永福町

On this late afternoon and early evening we’ve stopped in Eifukuchō (永福町), a residential neighborhood anchored on Eifukuchō Station and shopping arcades along Eifuku-dōri both to the north and south. Keiō Inokashira Line local and express trains stop at Eifukuchō, with about a 12 minute trip into Shibuya. On this visit, we’re looking specifically at the Eifukuchō-eki Kitaguchi Shōwakai (永福町駅北口商和会), which as per its name, is the shopping street on the north side.

Eifukucho 永福町

The track has always been at grade level, but construction that was completed in 2010 replaced the underground station with an over-track building.

Eifukucho 永福町

The new station interior is bright and airy.

Eifukucho 永福町

In 2011, the connected Retnade (京王リトナード) shopping center was completed. This is one of the Keiō Group’s branded, transit-integrated retail developments. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the building features a rooftop garden with views of the trains and neighborhood.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

To the south is the Eifukuchō Shōtengai (永福町商店街).

Eifukucho 永福町

Inokashira-dōri

Eifukucho 永福町

Shoyu ramen institution Taishōken (大勝軒) anchors the southern end of the Eifukuchō-eki Kitaguchi Shōwakai and can probably claim the greatest amount of celebrity among its neighbors. We’ll step inside to partake of one of Taishōken’s famously punch bowl-sized servings in the subsequent post.

Eifukucho 永福町

Don’t look now, but it’s another Matsumoto Kiyoshi. I think the chain pharmacy has appeared in every neighborhood I’ve visited so far in this volume.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukuchō was the first unknown quantity of this trip to Tokyo. I had already planned to come for Taishōken, but was aware of the shōtengai from its appearance in the background art of the Spring 2013 anime Hataraku Maō-sama! In the show, the character Emi is occasionally shown walking from the station north along the street to her apartment, stopping to pickup groceries or dinner along the way. While I could confirm that the shōtengai existed from Street View, I still didn’t know what kind of activity level or street health I’d find when I actually got here.

Eifukucho 永福町

Though with time and patience I was able to get a handful of shots with people, when I arrived in the late afternoon it was quiet. Most of the neighborhood looked like this—shops open for business but with few or no people stopping by.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Daien-ji (大圓寺)

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Need rice? This shop has you covered.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

I’ve made it to the north end of the shōtengai and, while I’ve seen a few more people either out walking or on bicycles, I begin to wonder if this is my first dud. A shopping street with no shoppers.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

As I headed back south, I began to notice changes. The street lamps appear to be triggered by light sensors, though not of very precise calibration. Now that it was getting darker, more of the lamps began to flicker on.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

More people were stopping for chats with merchants, bags in tow.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Back lit signs and shop windows poured light onto the street.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

As I neared the station I realized what was going on. The clock had just ticked over 5:00pm and the first batch of commuters was arriving. This is definitely an evening shōtengai.

Eifukucho 永福町

Now this is more like it. This is what Eli would have come home to.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Taishōken’s back lit white and green sign is iconic, casting a warm glow over the corner.

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

Eifukucho 永福町

More arrivals via the Inokashira Line every few minutes

Eifukucho 永福町

Goodnight, Eifukuchō.

Eifukucho 永福町

This post is part of The Tokyo Project, Volume 2. Click here to go to the introduction and table of contents.

Additional volumes: Volume 1, Volume 3