Comfort Hotel Tokyo Kiyosumi Shirakawa
1-6-12 Shirakawa, Koto-ku
Phone: (81) 3 5639 9311
Fax: (81) 3 5639 9160
This is the place to learn about Tokyo's 19th century common folk. In those days, the city was known as "Edo," and native Tokyoites (Edo-ko) pride themselves on their connections to this plebian past. Everyday life is reproduced in a rather constricted display area, but the replicas of row houses which were integral to living in shitamachi (the "lower" town) are nevertheless noteworthy. The fire water tower is also impressive. Take a good look at the maps to see how Tokyo has grown. The museum remains closed on the second and fourth Mondays of every month.
Though most pathways of gardens in Japan are strewn with countless number of small pebbles and rocks of varying sizes, none can match the size and variety of the 55 rocks of Kiyosumi Garden. These huge rocks were brought here from all over Japan by Yataro Iwasaki, who is credited with rebuilding this beautiful garden in 1878. Scattered around this 12-acre greenbelt, visitors will also find other stones and bridges which lead to landscaped islands protected by beautifully shaped pine trees and a variety of indigenous flowers.
The victim of several fires, Tomioka Shrine, has been rebuilt over and over since it was established in 1627. This is Tokyo's major "Hachiman" (associated with martial arts and strength) shrine. Sumo buffs visit here to see Japan's champion wrestlers honored, the wrestler's names are etched on a historical monument named the "Yokozuna Stone." Sumo bouts were held here regularly during the Edo Period (pre-1868 Tokyo). After strolling on the approach road, the visitor is rewarded by a distinctive five-layered stone lantern and the massive torii gate.
Reconstructed in 1967, the shrine is famous for visits by pregnant women who pray for safe deliveries. It is also reputed to guard against sea disasters. Legend tells us that in 1185 while the Minamoto and Taira were fighting, the child-emperor Antoku together with his mother saved themselves by taking refuge in the sea.
This temple was built as a memorial to unknown victims of the great fire of 1657. It is associated with sumo, as bouts were held on the grounds here during the Edo period. Over the years the temple has become known for its memorial to missing pets and also for people who have died in various calamities. The nickname of Ekoin is "Rat Boy's Shrine," a reference to a legendary Japanese hero who helped the unfortunate and needy.
Ryogoku Kokugikan is the largest indoor area in Tokyo; it can hold over 100,000 spectators comfortably at a time. The arena is designed keeping international standards in mind, as a lot of overseas tourists who associate Japanese with Sumo wrestlers, flock here during matches which are held every January, May and September. Refreshment stands serving alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, and easy parking facilities are available. Do not forget to try out the legendary Yakitori which is Japanese style barbecue chicken, served during matches. A visit here is not merely a visit to an arena; it is a taste of a slice of the Tokyo life.
A unique shrine among the hundreds that lay across the city, the Koami Jinja Shrine is a Shinto Shrine made out of cypress, locally known as bishu-hinoki, and is celebrated for its uniqueness by the community. Visited by devotees and tourists throughout the year, this shrine is quite a popular attraction in the area. Besides, it is also the venue for the annual Doburoku Festival, where Sake brewed at home is brought and enjoyed by all. Call to know more.
This small but pretty garden with paths and bridges around a lake is famous because the original lake was tidal and fed by the Sumida River. Walking along the pathways, stone lanterns and a small shrine are half hidden by bushes and trees that thin out to reveal views of the lake. In the early 19th Century, the garden became part of the estate of Yasuda Zenjiro, founder of the Yasuda financial group. The house and garden were given to the city of Tokyo in 1922, but most of the original garden was destroyed the following year in the Great Kanto Earthquake. Sumida Ward has restored the garden and it has been open to the public since 1971. On the first weekend of August the garden hosts a summer evening of traditional Japanese events such as tea ceremonies, musical performances and haiku readings. The garden has a wheelchair route and is closed over the New Year. -AH
The Tokyo Memorial Hall, also called Tokyo Metropolitan Hall of Repose, was built as the Earthquake Disaster Memorial Hall in 1930 to hold the ashes of the 58,000 people who died in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. It was then used to provide a final resting place for those who died in the Tokyo air raids during World War II, and its name was changed to the Tokyo Memorial Hall. Today, it holds the ashes of some 163,000 people. The architect, Chuta Ito, built it with a steel frame on reinforced concrete to resemble a Buddhist temple. There is a 40-meter (131-foot) high, three-story pagoda at the rear. -AH
In 1922, the Tokyo government was building a park on land it had acquired from the army, but before it could be completed, the Great Kanto Earthquake struck. Local residents fled to the site of the park for safety, but fire spread through the furniture and belongings they brought with them and many people were burned to death. Part of the reason for the deaths was because there was no greenery in the unfinished park. When the park was rebuilt, a Japanese Garden was included providing woods and water to help with fire protection. Yokoamicho Park has become a memorial to these victims of the earthquake and there are now important monuments here including Tokyo Memorial Hall, the Statue of Spirit, Peace Monument to victims of the Great Tokyo Air Raid, and Great Kanto Earthquake Museum. There is also a children's playground, benches and the Japanese garden. Ginkgo and cherry trees are planted in the park. A memorial service is held here every March 10 and September 1. -AH
The Peace Monument is semi-circular, flower-covered memorial to the victims of the Great Tokyo air raids during World War II. It was designed by the sculptor Kimio Tsuchiya and opened in Yokoami-cho Park in March 2001. There is a small room inside containing the names of 100,000 victims of the bombing raids. The flowers covering the sculpture symbolize life. -AH
.The city of Tokyo is home to several Shinto shrines, but each offers a unique spiritual experience. The Takarada Ebisu Shrine is one such shrine which definitely is worth a visit, if only for the stunning Shinto architecture of its structure. As with other shrines, this shrine has its own fair that is organized on its premises, and surrounding area, that is held each year, the Nihonbashi Ebisu-ko Bettara-ichi.