Jan 1, 2018
Monzen Nakacho – my lovely neighborhood
Monzen Nakacho is an old part of the Koto district in eastern Tokyo. Kōtō is located between the Sumidagawa (Sumida River) in the west and the Arakawa (Ara River) in the east. The two rivers form the border with the districts of Chūō in the west and Edogawa in the east. To the north is Sumida, to the south the bay of Tokyo. Most areas of the district were only created since the Meiji restoration by land reclamation. Monzen Nakacho is one of the most important areas of that district.
Monzen Nakacho is part of the old Fukagawa area which is one of the oldest parts of Tokyo. It is known for its relations to the famous Japanese poet, Matsuo Bashō, who wrote one of his most famous poems in that area.
The area has a very typical Shitamachi charm with many old and new buildings. You can reach Monzen Nakacho by the Tozai or Oedo Subway line trains. Also, many buses from Tokyo station, Skytree or Odaiba run through that area.
Monzen Nakacho is even very close to Tokyo Station and the financial district of Otemachi/Nihonbashi, the area is not very busy and is a good place for living.
The area offers many interesting activities for familis. Let me introduce some of my favorite spots:
Just 10 minutes away from the station is the Etai Bridge, which connects the Koto and Chuo districts. From the bridge you will have a great view over the Sumida River, the island Tsukishima and the river bank. Especially in the evening it is such a magical place, when all the small lights in the apartments are shining like little stars. Many professional photographer take photos of that beautiful spot. You can often see it in Japanese movies and TV dramas. The whole Monzen Nakacho area is often used for filming.
By the river side is a small park which is perfect for jogging or a picnic. Especially in summer and during the cherry blossom season, many families enjoy the view to the river and have picnics here. Also, some nearby share houses use the river park area for their international share house parties.
If you have little kids, who need to practice riding their bicycles, you can use the free little bicycle course for kids. It has small traffic lights, zebra crossings and stop signs like on the real streets, but is all made for kids! In summer kids can also enjoy the small water park next to the bicycle course for free.
If you are lucky, you can listen in the evening to some live music. Many musicians are practicing at the riverside. I have already listened to a violin player, saxophone player and a whole jazz combo. Mostly during the summer season, you can listen to many different kinds of music there.
Art at the canalside
There are also many small canals running through the area. The city created many nice but small parks and playgrounds around those canals. As part of the Furuishibagawa Water Park you can enjoy a small art gallery. There are many beautiful and really great drawings from the 90s on the walls of the park. It's the perfect area for art lovers to enjoy a small Sunday walk.
Tomioka Hachiman shrine & Fukagawa geisha district
Many people associate with the famous Tomioka Hachiman Shrine just a few meters away from the station. The shrine was founded in 1627 and has a small Japanese garden including a pond next to the main building. The shrine is also known as the birthplace of Kanjin-zumō the origin of the current professional sumo. Every three years the huge Tomioka summer festival is held round the shrine, with a great mikoshi parade and many cultural performances (shamisen, noh-theatre or taiko). Especially during new year it is very crowded around the shrine, but also very lively.
The area around the shrine is part of the old Fukagawa area, which had a huge redlight district during the Edo period. Also, many geisha houses were in that area. If you are lucky, you can still see geisha walking around the area.
Just next to the station, Exit 6, is a small old walking path where you can find many tiny izakaya restaurants. Those restaurants mostly have space for 3-5 customers, which gives them a very family atmosphere experience to have a drink there. At night, when all will be lit up, it looks so beautiful.
Cherry blossom canal
During the cherry blossom season the canal area just next to the station is a very popular spot for hanami parties or just for taking a walk under the beautiful cherry blossom trees. Many people in kimono use the chance to take some photos by the canal side. For a few bucks it is possible to go on a small boat tour under the cherry blossom trees or even bring your own canoe.
Monzen Nakacho has many great places that can be enjoyed for free, by the whole family. Playgrounds and parks are alomst everywhere, even though Monzen Nakacho is in the center of Tokyo city.
If you are near my town please have a look around and enjoy the old part of Edo!
I´m a german girl living in the center of Tokyo. I love traveling (especially hiking), taking photos and handcraft.