My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: December 9, 2019
Despite its close distance to the business districts of central Tokyo, Fukagawa has a laid-back and serene atmosphere characteristic of Japan’s traditional “shitamachi” old towns. This bayside district was historically a merchant neighborhood, and it still retains an unpretentious, straightforward feel.
Reminiscent of this working-class past, the neighborhood is known for a simple clam and rice dish known as “Fukagawa-meshi.” Try some of this soul food for yourself, then head to the Fukagawa Edo Museum to see an indoor model of what the area looked like in the 19th century.
Temple enthusiasts will enjoy viewing the sculptures and paintings on display at Naritasan Fukagawa Fudoudou, and the ornate mikoshi floats at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine.
The closest access point is Monzen-nakacho Station, accessible via the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line and the Toei Oedo Line.
From Haneda Airport: 50 minutes by train.
From Narita Airport: 90 minutes by train.
From Shinjuku Station: take the Toei Oedo Line for 35 minutes to Monzen-nakacho Station.
From Tokyo Station: Take the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line to Otemachi Station. From there, change to the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line and get off at Monzen-nakacho Station. The entire trip takes approximately 25 minutes.
Mixing several architectural styles together, the peculiar appearance of the Fukagawa Fudoudou temple may be perplexing at first, but inside you'll find an impressive collection of notable antiquities. The first floor of the inner building showcases a "Fudomyo-o" statue by sculptor Sawada Seiko, while the fourth floor features an elaborate ceiling painting of the "Dainichi Buddha." Starting at 9 a.m. and continuing throughout the day every two hours, the temple conducts a goma fire ritual, in which wooden sticks are thrown into a fire accompanied by Buddhist chanting, drumming and prayer. You can observe the ritual free of charge.
After enjoying the sights at the temple, consider a trip to Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine. This Shinto shrine showcases two elaborately decorated mikoshi floats, covered in gold, diamonds and rubies. Such floats serve as portable shrines, which are carried through the streets for the Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri, a massive neighborhood festival held every three years.
For a bite to eat, consider trying "Fukagawa-meshi," which consists of a handsome serving of asari clams and mushrooms served on top of steamed rice. This simple meal was first created to satisfy the appetites of local fishermen in need of a simple and filling lunch.