Sunday, June 10, 2018

05/05/2018 a stroll through the suburbs to Oizumi Gakuen and the Makino Memorial Garden.

We took a stroll from Shakuji-koen to Oizumi Gakuen both of which are residential suburbs of Tokyo with their own distinct town centres. They are quieter than the more well known parts of Tokyo but still have a number of interesting places to check out. The main reason for this stroll was to visit the Makino Memorial Garden situated at the former home of Tomitaro Makino who is known as "The Father of Japanese Botany". He collected and named many of Japan's plants and published the first important national illustrated flora.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

30/04/2018 Kyu Asakura house and garden, Daikanyama, Tokyo.

Daikanyama is an area of Tokyo known for high end or trendy shopping with a selection of vintage clothing stores and modern fashion outlets mixing with restaurants and cafes. We had traveled there because I wanted to visit the Tsutaya book store with it's huge photobook selection. Walking from Daikanyama station the streets had a modern feel seeming wider, quieter and less high rise compared to other more famous parts of Tokyo. Before visiting the book store we called at one interesting relic from a bygone era.
The Kyu Asakura House was built in 1919 as a private residence and has miraculously survived both the great Kanto earthquake in 1923 and the firebombings of the second world war. It's now a rare example of a classic Tokyo wooden residence with Japanese style garden from the Taisho Era.
It is well worth a visit to this peaceful historic oasis in the heart of Tokyo.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

08/05/2018 A day out on the last remaining street car line in Tokyo. Part 6, Minowabashi terminal and "Joyful Minowa"

Returning to Arakawa-shakomae station after a brief rest by the tram depot we decided to continue our ride to the far end of the line and the Minowa-bashi terminal station.
Again the tracks are often lined with colourful roses and a different older side of Tokyo could be observed from the windows as we trundled along.
The area around Minowa station really was like stepping back in time with very narrow streets and alleyways. The sky was looking greyer and much more like rain but luckily we stumbled upon the local covered shopping street named " Joyful Minowa", wow what an atmospheric place, it really looked like a scene from a sixties Japanese film with shops selling old style pickles , meat , flowers and all manner of other goods. It was late afternoon and the light began to fade so after exploring the old shopping street and picking up a jar of homemade Korean style pickles we made our way back to the station and took the tram all the way back up the line to where we began at Higashi-Ikebukuro watching a mix of local people getting on and off going about their business. There did not seem to be any other tourists on the line today but it's a great day out , we didn't have time to stop off at several other interesting stations so I would happily spend another day on the historic Toden Arakawa line in the future. These few miles are all that remain of a century old street car system that was mostly closed by the 1970s yet customer protests managed to save this small section of the network.
A fantastic way to see some really interesting parts of Tokyo not frequented by tourists.