Those who have been following my ‘Cycling to all Inari Shrines in Tokyo’s 23 wards‘ adventures this year will know that these trips are usually solely focused on the shrines but the location of the following “sights” fit in nicely with my route to and from Edogawa Ward.
Shrines and foxes were not on my mind for the start of this cycling trip but the latter is exactly what I first encountered by way of ‘Tails Ale House’ (3-16-5 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku) and it’s fox-themed signage. I will have to return one day at a more suitable time when it’s actually open!
Cycling in Japan is something I’ve moaned about on this site a fair bit in the past (‘Room 101: Japanese Cyclists Special‘ details most of my gripes!) but it has improved in recent years with some designated cycle lanes but sadly they’re often disrespected by drivers who park their vehicles in them.
Despite never having been inside or up Tokyo Skytree (I have no interest in doing so) it is always good to see it in the distance of wherever I am cycling. It wouldn’t be the only tower on this cycling adventure! Now there’s a tease for something coming up later in this post!
The Honjo Life Safety Learning Center (4-6-6 Yokokawa, Sumida-ku) that featured in the recent ‘Tokyo Modern Architecture #7‘ actually came to my attention after I saw it a few months ago on the NHK World show ‘Cool Japan‘. I was fascinated by it’s exterior appearance and wanted to capture some shots for the aforementioned architectural series.
I didn’t go inside as I actually visited a similar place in Ikebukuro many, many years ago where I learned about fire safety and experienced the full force of a powerful earthquake via a simulator.
The main focus of my ride to Edogawa was to see Kyu Komatsugawa Kōmon (1-1 Komatsugawa) which is located in the middle of a park and was completed in 1952. On first sight, it looks a bit castle-like but it is actually the former lock gate of the area which has been preserved.
In the distant past, the Arakawa River was frequently used as a path for ships to carry sufficient amounts of food supplies (rice, salt, soy sauce etc) before such water traffic declined as road vehicles became more widespread.
Only the upper third of the lock is above ground level which may explain it’s castle-like appearance but if it was all visible then it may look more like something resembling the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
There is a huge human-face fish statue nearby but I’ve got no idea why!
300 metres south of there is Arakawa lock gate; an impressive sight and one that I was unaware of when I compiled this mini-list of watergates within day trips from Tokyo back in March. Subsequent research on this place has shown you can even climb up to the top of the gate which I didn’t know about at the time. I’m sure it wasn’t possible when I was there though!
There’s a sign saying ‘No Jet Skis’ which I thought a little bizarre at the time but I have since discovered that kayak tours of Tokyo include this place on their itinerary.
The Inari Shrines of Edogawa followed after that (look out for that post in September 2021) but there was one vaguely interesting building amongst them which took me by surprise a bit as I couldn’t remember even adding Tower hall Funabori (4-1-1 Funabori) to the places I want(ed) to go on Google Maps. The 115 metre-high tower (below) is said to be a symbol of Edogawa ward and was completed in 1999. It has an observation deck which I thought might have been nice for shots of the lock gate but I decided against it due to time.
Just 1.6 kilometres south of that was the cosy admission-free Edogawa Natural Zoo (below) which I found by chance so that was something of a bonus.
The Inari Shrines came thick and fast after that as I cycled around the area. Meiwa Bridge (below) traverses the Shinnakagawa River and was a nice little bridge.
On my way back to the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre I stopped off for some lunch at a burger vending machine restaurant which I first heard about over a decade ago. Having forgotten all about it during the intervening years it popped into my mind a few months ago and I finally paid the place a visit.
Shortly after that I noticed this octopus slide (below) on the other side of the train tracks so turned back to investigate it. Usually whenever I go to playgrounds, it is pre-planned and a quiet time of the day is chosen as a middle-aged foreign guy taking photos in such a place doesn’t look too good! This time there were kids just hanging out on the structure and I actually had to ask them to move for a minute whilst I took some quick shots. Good kids!
Alcohol vending machines are actually quite rare these days but I came across one not too far away from the aforementioned playground in Senju Higashimachi Park. What’s a little bizarre is that it’s located across the road from a school. Something for the parents to use after they’ve got rid of their kids for the day? Or maybe it’s for the teachers after school!
Click here to read ‘This Place In Tokyo Is Very ZOOtable For Families With Young Kids, Animal Lovers & Budget Travellers!’
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: The 100 Yen Burger Vending Machine Restaurant’
Click here to read ‘Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #30’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 5……Watergates Within Day Trips From Tokyo!’