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November 7, 2018

The History and Heart of Shibamata

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Shibamata is a historical neighborhood known for hardworking residents who charm visitors with their hospitality. We visit Shibamata and the surrounding area, home to shops specializing in traditional Japanese crafts.

Highlights

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Shibamata Taishakuten A Buddhist temple founded in 1629. Visitors come here to pray for long life and recovery from illness. From a 500-year-old pine tree to spring water that's older than the temple itself, not to mention the elaborately carved wooden walls and beautiful Japanese garden, there's no shortage of things to see here.

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Takagiya-roho This long-running Japanese confectionary was established 150 years ago, and offers its famous mugwort dumplings and other snacks. Its welcoming interior transports visitors to the past with its old-time atmosphere. It's possible to make a reservation and attend a hands-on dumpling-making class for a fee.

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Yagiri Ferry Crossing During the Edo period, one common method of transport was ferry. At this old-fashioned boat crossing, take a ride across the Edogawa River and go from Shibamata to Yagiri. It is currently the only traditional ferry operating within Tokyo. This is the perfect way to relax and enjoy nature for part of an afternoon.

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Samurai Armor Kozando This shop sells life-sized, historically-accurate reproductions of Japanese samurai armor. Each piece is faithfully reproduced using traditional techniques and can actually be worn. They can also craft custom-designed armor-just ask!

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Minamikawa Doll Factory Founded 80 years ago, this shop makes and sells "oshie hagoita," rectangular wooden paddles decorated with Edo-style raised cloth pictures. These kinds of paddles were originally used to play hanetsuki, a game similar to badminton, but are now often used for decoration. This shop's hagoita are distinctive for their vivid colors.

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Sakeoh Gather around the standing bar and enjoy the lighthearted atmosphere as you try the different types of sake on offer at this specialty shop. Feel free to bring your own snacks! Sakeoh regularly hosts sake-tasking events.

Further Info

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1) Shibamata Taishakuten
Address: 7-10-3 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku
2) Takagiya-roho
Address: 7-7-4 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku
3) Yagiri Ferry Crossing
Address: 7-18 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku
4) Samurai Armor Kozando
Address: 5-15-7 Kameari, Katsushika-ku
5) Minamikawa Doll Factory
Address: 3-7-11 Takasago, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo
6) Sakeoh
Address: 3-19-10 Kanamachi, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo

Others

Sonoda Shinbutsugu-ten
Address: 7-6-14 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku
Nakamurado
Address: 7-7-10 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku
Pedicab
Arrival/departure: 7-10-3 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku
Tora-san Museum
Address: 6-22-19 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku

Reporter

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Cyril Coppini

Nationality:
French
Occupation:
Rakugo performer and translator
When did you first come to Japan?:
September 1997
Reason for coming to Japan:
At the time I was working for the French Government in a cultural center in Fukuoka. A 2-year contract. After that, I decided to stay in Japan to improve my Japanese skills, since I have been learning the language from high-school in my home town, Nice, and came to Tokyo in 2001. Then in Tokyo I kept working for the French government and now my mains occupations are translating from Japanese into French Japanese manga and video games, and performing in Japan and abroad Rakugo, the Japanese art of story-telling.
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