On one of my trips I stayed in a room at a house rented by a friend. The house was located in Higashi-Koganei.
All of Tokyo's districts are as different as other cities. Higashi-Koganei has mostly low, two-storied private houses, some owned while others are rented out, as in the case of my friend. The district is very quiet and walking from the station I rarely met anybody. People here travel by cars or bicycles, so quite often I was the only one who was walking. Interestingly, I also never met the neighbours. No need to say that the district was very clean and neat and I thought that it might be nice to live here.
Walking distance from the house where I stayed is the spacious Koganei Park, free of charge. My visit occurred in April and at that time Koganei Park was just gorgeous! Many large old sakura trees were still in bloom, but the petals were beginning to fall so that when I arrived, I saw a ‘snowy’ view. Many people sat beneath the trees, enjoying a picnic while others walked their dogs. Koganei Park must be very popular with the locals.
Walking further I found some interesting buildings and later I learnt that it was the open-air Edo-Tokyo Architectural Museum. I wish I knew that before my visit and hurried there, but I came too late as the museum had already closed, alas! Later I had no more opportunity to visit it, but I believe it’s worth it!
Staying in Higashi-Koganei, my friend and I visited her daughter nearby. Next door to their house was the studio of the famous anime director, Hayao Miyazaki. I liked that the wooden house was hidden amongst some large trees. In the next house, I was told, was a kindergarten where Miyazaki-san watched children play, receiving ideas and inspirations for his films. I've always admired Miyazaki-san’s anime characters as they’re lively and life-like.
Higashi-Koganei station can be reached by JR Chuo Line (Rapid service) in 30-35 minutes train ride.
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I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!