Travel

Shibamata A Quiet, Traditional Side of Japan To Visit

I guess it’s better late than never – uploaded photos taken at Shibamata when I was in Tokyo, Japan a few months ago ^^;

Shibamata is all about Shōwa-era nostalgia. Shōwa was the period between 1926 and 1989, so for this reason Shibamata is a good (& much underrated) tourist attraction if you want to take a look at the traditional side of Japanese culture.

This place is popular with foreign tourists & older Japanese tourists as the small shops and restaurants here have the good old’ Edo feel.

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Shibamata is located outside of Tokyo, to reach there you have to take the Kanamachi line from Asakusa and then get off at Shibamata station:

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As you arrived at Shibamata station you should be seeing this place after crossing the railway.

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I was told that as much as 50 films were made here in between 1968 and 1996.  The first attraction that you see when you exit Shibamata Station is Tora-san’s bronze statue.

Tora-san is a movie character from the Otoko wa Tsurai Yo series of movies and apparently Shibamata is most famous for being the home of Tora-san.

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Here is one of the iconic purchases in Shibamata, ‘Kin no Unko’ – means ‘Golden Poop’ which supposedly is said to bring good luck to its owner ^^;

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One Shibamata attraction that I find interesting is this shop which sells a lot of retro Japanese snacks/toys. You can find this shop just right before entering the main shopping street Taishakuten Sando.

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Vending machine turned into a robot – or is it the other way round? ^^;

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I had lots of fun playing with these retro Japanese pinball machines ^^

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As you continue moving along you’ll reach Taishakuten Sando, the main shopping/food street lined with Shōwa-era buildings.

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Some photos of Tora-san displayed outside at one of the shops. As you can see, he’s really popular in Shibamata ^^

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^Cant exactly remember the name of this traditional Japanese toy ^^;

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In around Shibamata, you’ll find a lot of restaurant and shops selling these local speciality snack food called dango. These are balls of rice flour and either boiled or grilled over charcoal and topped with sweet sauces.

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These are dango with sweet red bean paste. They are chewy and taste really good.

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At the end of the street you will come to the gates to the Buddhist Taishakuten Temple, which is listed as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan and is one of Tokyo’s most beautiful temple.

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You will see this deity statue at the compound of the shrine. Was told that one should use the water on the side to purify one hands and take a pail of water to pour it over the statue. After that, one should take a Tawashi (a scrubbing thing) and scrub the statue the same area that you want your own body to be healed.

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These are Ema (絵馬) – small wooden plaques on which worshippers write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine, where the gods will receive them.

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Like many other shrines, you will see a box in front of the shrine like the one here.

One should stand in front of it, throw in a few coins (a 5 yen coin if possible), clap and then close your eyes and say a prayer. Throwing 5 yen would be more desirable as 5 yen in Japanese is pronounced “Go Yen”, same pronunciation as “ご縁” meaning “Good karma.”

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Although you can just stay in the main temple square (for free), I would recommend folks to pay the 400 yen which allows you to explore further into the temple grounds and take a look at the temple gardens, pond and the amazing wood carvings decorating the walls.

They even have a room at the side of the garden where folks can sit, enjoy the gardens while drinking tea or coffee.

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Heading back to the outside of the temple grounds.

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I remember it was noon when I headed back to the main shopping street, so as you can see there are more shops open in business and more tourists on the streets.

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Went for lunch in a restaurant with traditional decorations. I like the feeling of squatting down on a tatami and enjoy eating those delicious Japanese foods.

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Had a nice bowl of Oyakodon. om Nom Nom.

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Have tried some green tea flavored dango with sweet red bean paste – so much sweetness and chewy goodness! I am surprised that they taste good along with a cup of coffee ^^

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While heading back to the station I noticed that there is this tiny little shrine with a deity in it.

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Spent a very peaceful late morning/afternoon at Shibamata to look and experience the traditional side of Japan – much recommended attraction. More places to visit from my previous Tokyo trip listed up here:

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