If you thought it was all a bit kid-orientated in part one of this trip then fear not as the Tokyo Fox journey along the Toden Arakawa line continues on to the other end of the spectrum. Shin-Koshinzuka is a 15 minute walk from Sugamo station on the Yamanote line and is full of old fashioned shops along Sugamojizo-Dori Avenue aimed at the older generation.
The street is lined with some very traditional restaurants and food shops as well as clothing stores and so on. Faito Gyoza has been around for many decades and was a very popular place selling a different style of gyoza to what is usually served up elsewhere in the city. Stopping here was a most welcome addition to a journey that was starting to tire us out a bit.
About halfway down the shopping street is Koganji Temple; home to the Togenuki Jizo statue, which is often incredibly popular with queues of people waiting to wash the statue in hope of relief of their ailments. They use small hand towels which they then place on their own body in hope of relief.
For my girlfriend it was a trip back down memory lane as she used to live just off the street and it was certainly interesting for her to see how the area had changed and more importantly how it had not!
Back on the Arakawa line and Otsuka-Ekimae was the next destination for another opportunity to see the streetcars blend in with the Yamanote line going above-head. Otsuka is often a welcome respite from the never-ending activity that Tokyo is so well known for yet this time it feels like it’s the biggest stop along a line which tends to crawl through so many quiet residential area’s.
Kishibojinmae is an area that I am quite familiar with having lived there in the past and that was the next stop. I used to live right next to Kishimojin temple which was the first stop. Since the Edo-period it has been a place of worship for the health and prosperity of children thanks to the supposed power of one of its gingko trees.
One stop back is Toden-Zoshigaya which meant a bit of a retreat was in order. Zoshigaya Cemetery and the Zoshigaya Missionary Museum are both nearby although the latter is a bit more difficult to locate on the quite backstreets of the area.
From there on its onwards to the final port of call both on foot and via the streetcar itself. By this stage I feel no shame in whipping my camera out to snap away at the trams like a true trainspotter!
Waseda brings about the end to the line and a brief trip to the University is taken. Whilst most British students do nothing more than throw on some jeans and an old t-shirt (as its not really allowed for one to go in their pyjamas!) it’s a different story over here where, for the girls especially, appearances are everything and everyday is a catwalk! God knows how long some of them spend in front of the mirror each morning before heading off to classes each day!
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