On Saturday Dan and I took a stroll to Nippori in search of Yanaka Ginza. We recently purchased a new camera and thought the quaint shopping street would be perfect for some practice shots.
But first, no afternoon stroll through Tokyo can begin without ramen:
Does anyone remember Cheapo in Minneapolis? Oh, the hours I spent trying to look interested in used CDs while Dan click-clicked his way through new arrivals. Apparently it’s payback time. (You can find more info on Textile Heaven here.) Only one hour was lost, and then it was back to our mission…
We got a little turned around, and eventually found our way across the train tracks via tunnel. I sort of love/hate it when I’m in one of these tunnels and the train passes overhead. Popping out the other side, we noticed people were gathering:
We’d stumbled upon Fujimizaka (meaning Fuji view slope), and joined just in time to watch the sun set over the city. Everyone was gathered along a road that climbed up a steep hill (apparently some with better cameras than us). If you are like me and need a little help, Fuji-san was just about here:
Finally, on with our quest. We were looking for Yanaka Ginza, a small shopping street in northeastern Tokyo that is famous for maintaining the feel of Shitamachi, the traditional and lower class part of Edo which housed merchants and artisans in the marshy (read: humid and stinky) low part of the city. Most of Shitamachi is gone, due to fires and wars over the years, but a few areas of Tokyo still do it right. After some iPhone-led zig-zagging through neighborhoods, we finally arrived… and forgot to take photos.
Believe me though, it’s great. We bought sencha 煎茶, stood in line for grilled meats, and wandered from shop window to cafe menu. On our way home, we passed a small shrine tucked along the road: