Shibamata, One of Tokyo’s Most Underrated Tourist Attractions

A shitamachi is a traditional downtown Japanese neighborhood. The word conjures up images of bustling merchant areas with a strong sense of community, narrow streets, and traditional wooden buildings.  One of the best places to get a sense of what a shitamachi must have been like is the neighborhood of Shibamata in Tokyo. It’s a little on the touristy side, but the friendly vendors, interesting old buildings, traditional foods, and odd little temples make it an excellent place to spend an afternoon.
Shibamata is most famous for being the home of Tora-san, a popular movie character in the Otoko wa Tsurai Yo series of movies. The main attractions are the atmospheric shopping street and its temples dedicated to the Shichifukujin (The Seven Gods of Good Fortune). Coming out of the station, you’ll see a statue of Tora-san.

You might want to look for a little tourist information office that’s on your right if your back is to the station, just past the Tora-san statue. They have some useful English pamphlets and maps that will help you get to the Shichifuku-jin temples. Follow the crowds and you’ll find yourself on the main shopping street.

At the end of the shopping street is Taishakuten temple, the most famous of the Shichifukujin temples in the area. It’s known for it’s exquisite woodwork. If you’d like to see more of the woodwork, check out Philbert Ono’s great site. There’s an interesting explanation of the woodcarvings on the Japan Navigator blog.

Another interesting temple in the neighborhood is Ryokan-ji. To get there, turn right when you exit Taishakuten and walk to the big road. Turn left and you’ll see another temple called Shinsho-in on the right side. Turn right at the next big intersection. You’ll go past a big water or garbage treatment plant, and then you’ll come to Ryokan-ji on the left side.

Ryokan-ji is dedicated to the god Hotei.

There are also lots of jizo statues there. There are a bunch more temples in the area, but you’ll need the map to find them as they’re pretty spread out. There is also a Tora-san museum.

Getting there: From Keisei Ueno Station, take the Keisei line to Takasago, and change to the Kanamachi Line. Get off at Shibamata. The fare is 380 yen and it takes a little over 20 minutes.web analytics

0 replies
  1. Gideon
    Gideon says:

    Great write-up. I just went there today, fortunately (unbeknownst to me) on the day of a festival and the place is magic. You are right, it is underrated- I think it is Torasan who keeps the place going!

  2. Jhun TJL
    Jhun TJL says:

    Your post reminds me of the time when we last visited Japan.
    We’ve been there for a week and everything about it is just awesome.
    We’re planning to visit there soon when our schedule will allow us.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for some other wonderful post. Where else could
    anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal means of writing?
    I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone
    else encountering problems with your site.
    It appears as if some of the written text on your
    posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide
    feedback and let me know if this is happening to them
    as well? This may be a issue with my internet browser because
    I’ve had this happen before. Kudos

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] further reading, see Shibamata, One of Tokyo’s Most Underrated Tourist Attractions, Tokyo’s Traditional Areas (Shitamachi), and Moving pictures of […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply