Discover Old Downtown Tokyo

Information of Old Downtown Tokyo which is retains the character of the Edo Era today. Sumida Ward, where our head office is located, is an area, which was prosperous in the Edo period as a common people's town. We introduce Old Downtown Tokyo, mainly Sumida ward which still has it's Edo flavor.

5 Must See Places in Old Downtown Tokyo
No.2 Ryogoku

December 26th, 2013

It has been about a month since the last article was updated. In November, we visited at the Edo Tokyo Museum and had a great time there. (First article is here.)

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Today we will introduce you one of the most cultural Shitamachi towns called “Ryogoku”. Needless to point out, Ryogoku is very famous for its sumo related attractions, such as the Ryogoku Kokugikan, many sumo stables and chanko (sumo wrestler stew) restaurants. (More information is here.)
In a cold winter day, one of our staffs went to Ryogoku to find more about the town. There are not only sumo related places, but also hotter places which you must see in Ryogoku.

Ryogoku Fire Works Museum

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First, we recommend you “the Ryogoku Fire Works Museum”. It takes just 5 minutes’ walk from the south side of Ryogoku station. In the museum, Mr. Suzuki who has HANABI KANSHOSHI (a professional observer for fireworks) tells about a historical relationship between the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival and Ryogoku. (More about the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is here.)

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The Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival can be tracked back to 1733. The reason for its origin was that Tokugawa Yoshimune decided to mourn observances for the dead who suffered from the economic crisis in 1732. He used gunpowder which was used for killing people as fireworks for the peaceful entertainment performance. At first, the fireworks were just a piece of observances, but it was continued each year and became the Ryogoku Kawabiraki Fireworks Festival.

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(In 1978, the name of festival changed to Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival.)

Also, Mr. Suzuki told that one of the most highlights is those launching site. Because of fireworks are launched on a small boat, the launching site is very narrow, so they can’t help launching small balls repeatedly. You can enjoy the varieties of directions. We thank Mr. Suzuki for telling us a very interesting story.

Sumo Museum

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(Entrance to Ryogoku Kokugikan.)

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Second, the Sumo Museum is as rare and small as the Ryogoku Fire Works Museum. It is in Ryogoku Kokugikan and located in the north side of Ryogoku station. The Sumo museum was based on the materials gathered by Sakai Tadamasa and created to protect historical heritage of Sumo which is the Japanese national sports.

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(The museum has a wide range of materials of Sumo. )

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(Keshomawashi.)

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(Harumafuji is performing his 1st yokozuna ring-entering ceremony in September 28, 2012.)

For example, 3700 sumo Nishiki-e (multi-colored woodlock prints), 500 sumo dolls, Banzuke (official ranking list), and Keshomawashi (a silk belt with a heavily embroidered large apron with thick tassels worn by upper ranked wrestlers).

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Some are made in the past, and others are created lately. These items are displayed in different themes of exhibitions divided in six times a year. The hottest materials are successive Yokozuna’s pictures (highest rank in sumo) on the wall. An English pamphlet called “GRAND SUMO RYOGOKU KOKUGIKAN HANDBOOK” is also available in the museum.

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In the left side of the Ryogoku Kokugikan, you can buy some original sumo gifts in Sumo Shop.

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A shop assistant said Sumo wrestler figurines were most popular. Wearing Hakuho mask and you will be Yokozuna Hakuho!

Old Yasuda Garden

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If you feel tired, we will recommend you a Meiji Period-style garden called Old Yasuda Garden. Usually, you may listen to birds singing and feel the warms of the sun.

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But, the day of this interview, it was too cold and rainy to take a walk in the garden. We are convinced that you will enjoy the garden when weather is good.

All of those three places are within ten minutes walking distance. Surprisingly, they are all free. After the interview, I had a question why Ryogoku has such interesting places. The answer is that Ryogoku was once a city like present Shinjyuku in the Edo era. People enjoyed eating foods, seeing sumo and fireworks as daily entertainments.

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Taking the Tokyo Mizube Line, you can go to the opposite side of Sumida River where is near Asakusa. Next article will be started from the Tokyo Mizube Line Ryogoku station.
Thank you for reading our blog. We will continue to introduce three more hot places in Downtown Tokyo. Next upload will be in January 2014. Please keep checking this blog!

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References

・”Ryogoku Area.” Ryogoku Area. Japan National Tourism Organization, n.d. Web. 25 Dec. 2013.
<http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/ryogoku.html>.

・”Sumida River Fireworks Festival.” Sumida River Fireworks Festival. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Dec. 2013.
<http://sumidagawa-hanabi.com/index_eg.html>.

5 Must See Places in Old Downtown Tokyo
No.1 The Edo Tokyo Museum

November 28th, 2013

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     Today, we will introduce you to the Edo-Tokyo Museum that is one of the best city-history museums in Tokyo. It is located in Ryogoku district, and three minutes’ walk from the West Exit of Ryogoku station.

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( Use the signboard as your guide when you visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum.)

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As you enter the museum, you will be surprised at the replica of the “Nihonbashi”. ( Nihonbashi means “Japan Bridge” in English. ) It is the mile zero marker for Japanese national highway network. Not only Nihonbashi, but also varieties of replicas are exhibited in the museum, such as “Nakamura-Za” (Kabuki theater).

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The museum is famous for its enjoyable ways to show visitors the time from Edo period to present-day Tokyo. Almost 400 year’s history is separately exhibited and you can compare the Edo zone with the Tokyo zone (starting at the conversion from the Edo Era) at the same time. In this article, we will focus on the Edo zone. There are three keys to spend the greatest time through the Edo zone.

Experiencing: the Lifestyle of the People

You can enjoy experiencing the life style of the people.

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You have chance to become Edo fireman called hikeshi. Each group of hikeshi uses his own matoi to notify the fire near. Matoi is like a team flag with the symbol of each group of hikeshi. You can feel weights of matoi. Be careful for your back as the matoi is too heavy to lift up!

 

Seeing: the Figurines and Life-Sized Figures

You can enjoy seeing the figurines and life-sized figures.

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Crossing the Nihonbashi, many visitors will be surprised to see the figurines and life-sized figures of an Edo town. 

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You can use binoculars to zoom the figurines. It is sure that you will get excited for seeing details of the figurines and surprised at traditional Japanese techniques to make those figurines.

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Shopping: the Omiyage Gift Shop

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The Edo-Tokyo Museum has its own gift shop called “MUSEUM SHOP”. Some gifts are only available in the museum. For foreign visitors, we will recommend you “tenugui” (Japanese hand towel), a thin Japanese handmade towel made of cotton and many kinds of Sumo wrestling goods.

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Varieties of tenugui with interesting Japanese phrase.

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Because of the museum is located in Ryogoku where is very famous for Ryogoku Kokugikan (Ryogoku Sumo Hall), many Sumo wrestling goods are available, such as printed T-shirts, and Sumo Wrestling Magnet sets. 

In this article, we have mainly introduced the Edo zone. In addition to the Edo zone, the Tokyo zone will welcome you to learn more about the city history. (Also, there are often special exhibits.) We will strongly recommend the Edo Tokyo Museum for whoever wants to experience “back to the past” in Tokyo

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 Thank you for reading our blog. We will continue to introduce four more hot places in Downtown Tokyo. Next upload will be on December. Please keep checking this blog! 

 

References

・”Edo-Tokyo Museum.” Edo-Tokyo Museum. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

<http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/english/>.

・”Japan Hikeshi (Firemen) Preserving Foundation.” Japan Hikeshi (Firemen) Preserving Foundation. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.nihonhikeshihozonkai.org/english/>.

・”Kabuki.” japan-guide.com. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. <http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2090.html>.

“Kawaii” World of Japanese Penny Candies

December 14th, 2011

To start with, this Japanese Yen being super strong is crazy and I hope you won’t give up visiting Japan because of it,  for you still can have fun in Tokyo without high expense. Today I’m going to introduce you a way to have fun with 500Yen- Buying “Kawaii” penny candies!

Here is what we bought for around 500Yen. “Dagashi”or petty candies are always loved by Japanese kids and are often sold at tiny“Dagashiya” (petty candy shop) on the small corners. Kinshicho area is deeply related with the production and distribution of the petty candies. The area used to be one of the major wholesale districts of Dagashi, where they distributed candies to the each small store on the street. Today small numbers of these wholesale stores remain, but we still see several wholesale stores and manufacturers in Kinshicho district.

$$$Kids Wants to be a Cool Adult Too$$$

Fake beer powder(it makes fuzzy “beer.”) a neat box of blueberry flavored cigarette,  bottles of soda and strawberry flavored “whisky”, 100million yen bills, chocolate “gold bars” and sexy “kiss” gummy!! The gold bar even has a stamp of the Swiss bank showing the genuineness. How much will you need to acquire all of those fabulous bling-blings!? with 300 Yen.

☆☆☆The Art of Miniature☆☆☆


Making fine miniatures is one of Japanese people’s great talent and even in the penny candies you can see the meticulous work.These are only examples of  japanese meticulous art of miniature, which you can buy with 10~30Yen. Miniature custard pudding,miniature yogurt cups( They do contain yogurt flavored cream)miniature  coffee drink, grape fruit juice and orange juice (These packages contain  confetti candies of each flavor!) Miniature delivery track and miniature trains (contain chocolate confetti)  miniature cans of coke and soda(containing tiny candies of each flavor!), miniature ramen and miniature bento-box making kit. (Bento box kit was 200Yen)

***Miscellaneous***

Left: Soybean flour candy. Right: Brown sugar cake. Looks less fancy but actually tastes more better than other stuff.

A fortune telling mini chocolate sheet. Behind the each chocolate balls tells about everything that matters for 10 years old, such as home works, allowance, friends, love, and parents, with ◎ 〇△×

 

Umai-bo(dellicious bars) is one of the most popular dagashi snack and also easy to find at many  convenience stores and supermarkets. Umai-bo  is not only for  kids, but  adults can  enjoy it with beer.  Umai-bo has 13~14 flavors, such as cheese, curry, takoyaki, corn soup, mayonnaise, chocolate and so on. This most famous snack was invented by Yaokin company, located in Sumida ward.

Fruit flavored tiny chewy candies. Love the sherbet colors! We are going to introduce the very cool miniature making kit in the next report so please keep checking our blog!

 

Explore “Tokyo Sky Tree”

August 26th, 2011

The Tokyo Sky Tree is a broadcasting, restaurants and observation tower under construction in Sumida-ku, Japan. It will be the second tallest tower after Burj Khalifa in Dubai upon finished. The tower has now reached its total height of 634 meter by March 2011 but construction still undergoing and it would not open until March 2012. The height of 634 is selected because the figures 6(mu), 3(sa), 4(shi), “Musashi” represented the old name of the place where Tokyo Sky Tree stands now.

Photo taken right down of Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

Bridge to the Tokyo Sky Tree

There are a lot of points around Tokyo Sky Tree for taking photos. Hence, it would be great if you could bring a map showing photo points. However, you don’t have to worry even if you don’t have one. You may see a lot of signboards around Tokyo Sky Tree showing the map, photo points, restaurant guide and other information.

Information nearby Tokyo Sky Tree can be found on this map

If you find it hard to take a two shot photo with this giant structure. Don’t worry. Try to find a stand with mirror like this around there. By using the reflection of the mirror, you can put yourself and the tower in a photo easily.

A great idea by the owner of the shop using the reflection of mirror.

Beside from taking photo of the tower from different angles. Food lovers may try to explore some special “Towered” foods like Tower Don, Tower bread, Tower Ice Cream and etc around the area.

Giant Shrimp Tempuras rice bowl..Does it looks like Toyko Sky Tree??

Giant Danish pastry tower with two different taste...

★Eat the Tower★

August 26th, 2011

In Oshiage area awaiting for the completion of the Tokyo Sky Tree, local restaurants are serving special menus related to the new Tower. Today we are going to introduce Kamimura(そば処 かみむら) where you can eat “Tower Don” (JPY1800)

Traditional Japanese Restaurant

On the Kamimura’s specialty “Tower don”, the tower made of 3 shrimp tempuras rise above the rice. When the “Tower” is brought to your table, you’d better take a picture quickly, before the tower falls apart. Once you’ve done with the picture, let’s eat the freshly-fried Tower away. Enjoy large, crispy shrimp tempuras and vegetable fritters with rice. (If you feel like a tower is too much for you, of course you can share it with someone.) At Kamimura, you can enjoy friendly and lively atmosphere of good old soba restaurant. Various Soba noodles, Udon noodles and other small dishes are available besides “Tower Don”

Three giant shrimp Tempuras on the don..^^

Follow on this instruction to learn the right way to enjoy ‘Tower Don’

Location:Narihira 1-18-13,Sumida-ku, Tokyo  (Nearby Tokyo Sky Tree)

Business hour 11:00~21:00

We might introduce more Tokyo Sky Tree related menus! Keep checking our blog

2011 September Grand Sumo Tournament

August 16th, 2011

2011 Grand Sumo Tournament will be held from

Sun. Sept. 11th, 2011 – Sun. Sept. 25th, 2011 at

Ryogoku Kokugikan – Tokyo

Check the official website for tickets…

http://ent-sumo.pia.jp/en/sumo09.php

Tickets sales Begin August 6 (Saturday) at 10:00

Notice: Kokugikan Box Office sales tickets from 6th August at 9:00.

Notice: Ticket Oosumo English sales tickets from 8th August at 12:00.

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9/11 9/12 9/13 9/14 9/15 9/16 9/17 9/18 9/19 9/20 9/21 9/22 9/23 9/24 9/25
Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.

【Home cooking】Yellowtail Teriyaki

August 12th, 2011

Today, I am going to teach you on how to cook Yellowtail Teriyaki, a famous dish in Japan home cooking.Teriyaki is a cooking technique used in Japan cuisine in which food are broiled or girlled in sweet soy sauce marinade(Tare).You can also combine  the  Teriyaki sauce with any kind  of fishes or meats you like.You will love it for sure.^^

Yellowtail Teriyaki

 

Ingredients:

Yellowtail         3slices

Cooking oil

Sauce(Tare):

Soy sauce                    4tablespoons

Mirin                             4tablespoons

Wine                              4tablespoons

Sugar                            4tablespoons

Method:

1.Mix  all the seasoning  for Tare and put them away to be used later.

2.Put some cooking oil in the frying pan which has heated up.

3.Put in the Yellowtail , grill both side of the fish until browned.

4.Pour in the Tare which was prepared and simmer them down for about 7~8 minutes.

5.Garnish the dishes with any kind of vegetables you like.

6.Completion of  the Yellowtail Teriyaki

Discover the off-beat tourists destination Kappabashi 【合羽橋・かっぱ橋】

August 11th, 2011

Maybe you have already been to Asakusa,the famous tourist destination in Tokyo. However, have you been to Kappabashi(かっぱ橋or 合羽橋) avenue, a large kitchen ware shopping street locating nearby it? Kappabashi is where you can buy all the equipments to open your own restaurant. Well, even if you don’t have a plan to open a restaurant, its still fun place to visit, especially if you are interested in cooking. Knives, frying pans, plates, unique cooking utensils and etc…

Statue of Kappa

You will see a lot of shops selling kitchen wares along Kappabashi-dori

Beside that,you probably can find everythings that makes cooking and eating more joyous. Nice Bento boxes, small gadgets to make flower shaped rice balls or star shaped boiled eggs (they are about several hundred yens), or chopsticks will be good souvenir.

Fancy Lunch box in the shape of Japan's traditional animation character Momotaro

Colourful lunch box in the shape of Japanese rice dumpling,Onigiri

Also you will be amused to see unique products such as a gigantic cooking pot available which can cook rice for the total amount of 500 people, Takoyaki machine, and Chinese character hot stamps (this is usually used for stamp on Japanese egg-rolls. Well why don’t you try it on your pancake?)

A cooking pot that can cook 500 portions of rice or 1000 portions of soup..

Various kind of hot stamps available at here....Can't find what you want??Don't worry..go into the shop to customize one

You can’t miss several stores specializing in “Plastic Display Food”. Surely your appetite will be aroused with shiny sushi, toasty croissants, and luscious ice-cream sundae just about to melt…all made of plastics. These products are usually used at restaurants to show what they have. But of course, you can buy one just for fun.

Various kinds of Plastic Display Foods can be found at here..All of them looks so real

Definitely fantastic as an souvenir

The one I like the most would be this...A clock that made of Sushi...Not fresh sushi of course

Ah, while walking around the area, probably you will run into bizarre figure of human-shaped green creature with a beak…That’s “Kappa”, the symbol of the district.

No one had ever seen a Kappa, but they believe this is how it looks like

Cucumber is Kappa's favorites food

Try to find out all of the Kappa when you are here

Check Kappabashi Official Website for more information

Vegetarian Restaurant【It’s Vegetable】 @Kinshi-cho,Tokyo

August 11th, 2011

☆Good news for Vegetarian☆

A lot of people telling me that it is really difficult to find a Vegetarian Restaurant in Tokyo. After long time of searching,we finally found one nearby Kinshi-cho station.It will just take you a few minutes walk to there.I am sure that vegetarian will like here 【It’s Vegetable】 for sure.

They serving Taiwanese Buddhist Vegetarian cuisine ,which means all of their foods are made without using any meats,fish,dairies and also garlic or onions.Buffet style lunch are served between  11:45a.m.~14:20p.m. with the price of ¥580(S)¥850(M)¥1000(L). They do offer A La Carte service too. Kindly check their Facebook pace for more information.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Its-Vegetable/194634940551498

Sumida River Fireworks Festival 27 August 2011

August 3rd, 2011

Sumida River Fireworks Festival


Date:Sat,27 August 2011

※    The festival will be postponed to Sun,28 August 2011 in case of rain.

Time:7:05p.m.~8:30p.m.

Place:Sumida Rivers

 

Kindly refer to the official website for more informations.

http://sumidagawa-hanabi.com/index_eg.html

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