By Niek Ceylan
The local area of the famous Sumida River as it begins its run south is not particularly well known as a tourist destination. The workman-like residential areas of Adachi and Arakawa wards are joined through the river but if you start with the area's most famous bridge, then you may be surprised at what you find.
Senju Ohashi Bridge
Anyone with a sense of the curious can discover much through a day spent strolling this most unlikely of tourist destinations. Now an iron beast, the famous Senju Ohashi Bridge, etched into artistic memory through the works of ukiyoe master Hiroshige Utagawa, was also the starting point of what became Matsuo Basho's immortal travel work Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North).
Sekido Museum of Art
A few minutes walk west of the bridge on the Adachi Ward side of the river lies the Sekido Museum of Art, a testament to the tireless artistic passion of its founder and benefactor, the late industrialist Senju Sato. Comprising international works of mainly ceramic and lacquerware, the museum itself is an interesting creation of copper-roofing and red-bricked hexagonal walls.
Hungry mouths can always try their luck at one of Japan's most famous noodle stores, Ramen Jiro. Located by Senjuohashi Station on the Keisei Main Line, Ramen Jiro is infamous for its high-calorie approach to hunger satiation. If curiosity for the local area were a beast, then eating here can devour you. You have been warned.
Cross the bridge into Arakawa Ward and you soon come to Seiganji, a hidden little shrine complex said to have been established over 1000 years ago but more recently host to part of a tour in 1591 by the first shogun of the Edo Period, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Two wooden benches here are said to date from that time.
Arakawa Nature Park
Further west along the river and you'll find the Arakawa Nature Park, officially one of Tokyo's top 100 views. Featuring a large scenic pond and easy walkways, the park offers plenty of space with its sporting fields and plenty of trees for those needing a dash of nature. An added bonus is that the Toden Arakawa Line, one Tokyo's two remaining tram lines is right by the park.
A stroll through downtown blue collar suburbia may not always be your first choice when it comes to travel but given the chance, you can easily be surprised at what you come across.
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A Japanese Permanent Resident, I drool over proper soba and sushi while Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me.With over 100 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style, I also happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via firstname.lastname@example.org