The Tokyo Project
Yanaka Ginza Shotengai

Yanaka Ginza Shotengai

Yanaka Ginza Shōtengai (谷中銀座商店街) attempts a balancing act. The 170 meter shopping street in Yanaka, to the north of Ueno Park and a few minutes west of Nippori Station, honors its roots as a local neighborhood market place and public space, while capitalizing on its popularity among domestic and foreign tourists as a place to...
Joyful Minowa Shotengai in Minowabashi, Session 2

Joyful Minowa Shotengai in Minowabashi, Session 2

When I made my first visit to Joyful Minowa (ジョイフル三の輪) in 2012 October, I had the benefit of a guided tour from an expert in urban design globally and of Tokyo neighborhoods specifically. While it’s difficult to top that, in this second visit from 2013 October I’ve changed up a few things. I went earlier...
Tokyo Koenji Awa Odori 2014

Tokyo Koenji Awa Odori 2014

When I wrote up the earlier entry about my initial walk around Kōenji (高円寺), I got the feeling that I had done the neighborhood a disservice, with my late morning visit managing to capture it at its least flattering time during the day. I described the evening atmosphere based on others’ accounts and noted my...
Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi 2014

Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi 2014

An unexpected trip to Tokyo in late August gave me the opportunity to introduce my young daughter to many of the great neighborhoods I love to photograph and write about, and scout out a few for future projects. But there were two special events I wanted to include in Volume 2 while they are fresh,...
Irohakai Shotengai in Sanya

Irohakai Shotengai in Sanya

Irohakai Shōtengai (いろは会商店街) is a covered shopping arcade that fills most of a 370 meter street at the center of the neighborhood formerly known as Sanya (山谷), though its official postal address is now Nihonzutsumi 1-chome in Taitō Ward. A business association was created in 1919 and businesses had been setting up on the street even...
Walk from Hikifune to Sanya

Walk from Hikifune to Sanya

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...
Hikifune

Hikifune

Hikifune (曳舟), a mostly residential area in the upper half of Sumida Ward, was my easternmost stop in this volume of The Tokyo Project. In my research after visiting, I would learn that its location within the ward had significant implications for the nature of the neighborhood. While the lower half was rebuilt in a...
Kinshicho

Kinshicho

Kinshichō (錦糸町) is a large commercial node centered around Kinshichō Station in Sumida Ward, deep into the Shitamachi area on the east side of Tokyo. Largely absent are the bright neon, super high density and narrow, winding streets found in the central and western, more affluent parts of town. This is middle class and blue...
Taishoken in Eifukucho

Taishoken in Eifukucho

A visit to Eifukuchō Taishōken (永福町大勝軒) is a little like a step back in time, to 1955 when the shop first opened, or thereabouts. Though the ramen has gone from around 35 yen to 1050 and higher, everything else about Taishōken’s look and feel has more or less held constant as it watched over the...
Eifukucho

Eifukucho

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...
Kichijoji

Kichijoji

Our westernmost stop for this volume of The Tokyo Project brings us to Kichijōji (吉祥寺), a substantial mixed use neighborhood anchored on a cluster of covered pedestrian shopping arcades adjacent to Kichijōji Station. Kichijōji is part of the city of Musashino, which is still in Tokyo Metropolis but outside the 23 special wards that make...
Futaba in Ogikubo

Futaba in Ogikubo

A small mountain of niboshi. Vats of tare and steaming soup stock. A deshi prepares a batch of orders under the watchful eye and guidance of the tenchō. We’re in Ogikubo, the birthplace of fish and shoyu-based Tokyo style ramen. Though Harukiya is generally regarded as the exemplar for old school Tokyo ramen, on this...