Almost all of my Tokyo explorations target specific neighborhoods or locations, but without a direct train route between my morning visits in Sumida Ward and the afternoon set in Taitō Ward, I figured I would make the most of it with a 30-40 minute walk between the two.
Leaving Hikifune, I crossed through Higashimukojima, following along this shōtengai for most of it.
Someone is about to enjoy some hot and crispy kushi-katsu or menchi-katsu.
As long as it’s within the shoulder, just about anywhere makes a good bicycle parking space.
Upturned crates and a tablecloth make an effective sidewalk display.
Street-facing display table
No frills, neighborhood ramen shop
The shōtengai is the spine, with ribs leading out to residential and tool-house neighborhoods of Higashimukojima.
A shrine so small it’s not even on the map
Headed up Bokutei-dōri, you can stop in for a lesson on the history of time-keeping instruments in Japan at The Seiko Museum.
It must have rained a bit in the middle, as I didn’t have any images of crossing the Sumida River on the main camera, though I did manage to get a snapshot of the striking arch-truss Shirahige Bridge with my phone. We pickup again on the Taitō side in the Asahi Shōtengai (アサヒ商店街).
It appeared there was a coordinated effort to add life to the sidewalks with densely-filled planters. The shōtengai was tunnel of lush green in an otherwise grey part of town.
This spot in particular was really done well, creating a shade canopy in front of this restaurant. Tactical urbanism at its best.
At the end of the shōtengai, we turn north and head up along Metropolitan Route 464. This particular stretch of the road is known colloquially as Kotsu-dōri (Bone Street), a reference to the Edo period practice of displaying the severed heads of criminals that had met their grisly end at the nearby execution grounds. This is the heart of Sanya, the notorious neighborhood with a past and present as interesting as they are tortured. Next stop, Sanya’s Irohakai Shōtengai.
This post is part of The Tokyo Project, Volume 2. Click here to go to the introduction and table of contents.