My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: July 30, 2019
Explore the banks of the Sumidagawa River as you cross its bridges, passing through Asakusa and Kuramae—once the downtown area of old Tokyo. While taking in the traces of the past, enjoy lunch at the trendy shopping center Mirror, then finally, relax at the scenic Sumida Park.
A huge proportion of the people visiting Asakusa come through this station. In a way, it's actually three stations joined together: one each for the Tobu Skytree Line, the Toei Asakusa Line and the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. The Tsukuba Express also has a stop called Asakusa Station, but that's 600m west of the main complex.
This 45-acre park is located along one of the banks of the Sumida River. It earned a spot on the list of Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots for its 1,000 cherry trees. Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is especially good along the banks of the river between the Azumabashi and Sakurabashi bridges, where cherry trees bloom over the water along a one-kilometer stretch. You can also enjoy some quality coffee at the cafes within the park. They have modern, open-plan designs, and exclusive items on the menu.
In the place where this vermillion bridge stands was one of Tokyo’s very first bridges, the Ogawa-bashi, built in 1774 and preserved in many woodblock prints from the era. This modern iteration was completed in 1931. It is a good vantage point from which to appreciate the roughly 300 cherry blossom trees planted along the Sumida River.
Named after Komagata-do Hall of the nearby Sensoji Temple, this bridge was built in 1927. A pleasing light blue color with one long arch, this 150-meter-long bridge features a small terrace in the middle where pedestrians can take a break or take photos of the nearby Tokyo Skytree.
During the Edo period, the neighborhood around this bridge housed a stable for horses which were used to transport rice to the government. The bridge was thus named umaya, horse stable in Japanese. Horse adornments along the length of the bridge pay tribute to its history. The original structure was built in 1874 and changed locations several times. The bridge we see today, comprised of three light green arches, was built in 1929. The banks between the Umaya and Komagata bridges are popular location for viewing the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival held each summer.
Nui is both a hostel and a cafe/bar. It's an open-plan, comfortable space, inhabited by international travelers and locals alike. The building used to be a warehouse for a toy company, but Nui teamed up with carpenters and craftsmen to transform it into a casual, welcoming lounge, with wooden furniture and specialty coffee. The theme for both its menu and its interior design is "handmade."
Mirror is a shopping complex promoting new cultural trends in east Tokyo. Made up of both commercial and retail spaces, its eight floors house a variety of restaurants and bars, as well as cafes offering views of the Sumida River and nearby Tokyo Skytree. One especially attractive feature is its rooftop bar, but for some, the ping-pong bar on the fourth floor may be more appealing.