Tokyo's famous shitamachi downtown district of Arakawa City Ward is dotted with gems of its retro heritage. Train lovers, fabrics and some of the most glorious downtown evening views call the city home. Here is an introduction to some of the landmarks and historical sites of Arakawa and how to reach them.
Nippori Textile Town
A unique shopping experience, Nippori Textile Town is around one kilometres of fabric heaven. The now iconic district has been in the business of Japanese and overseas fabrics since the Taisho era in the early 20th-century. Close to one hundred stores line the area offering some of the best quality deals for some of the best quality Japanese textiles.
A 5-minute walk from Nippori Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
A quirky reminder of Japan's culture of train appreciation, Shimogoinden Bridge is Nippori's most curious landmark. Overlooking the 14 train tracks, the bridge is a magnet for train fans but even non-train fans will be able to appreciate the 2,500 trains covering 20 different train types that pass underneath the bridge each and every day.
Less than a 1-minute walk from the North Exit of Nippori Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
Toden Arakawa Tram Line
With sections of the line operating since 1913, the Toden Arakawa Line is a proper institution of the area. Renamed the Tokyo Sakura Tram, the tram line still retains its yesteryear charm. Full of sightseeing opportunities, the line runs from Minowabashi in Arakawa all the way to Waseda in central Tokyo with a 1-day tram pass for only 400 yen.
A 5-minute walk from Minowa Station on the Hibiya Line.
One of downtown Tokyo's most celebrated sunset viewing spots, the aptly named 'sunset steps' of Yuyake Dandan lead down to the famous Yanaka Ginza shopping street. A slower, more traditional pace lies at these base of the steps as scores of people regularly pause here to take in the evening view.
A 4-minute walk from Nippori Station on the JR Yamanote Line.