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Updated: November 28, 2022
With Mount Fuji in view, enjoy a pleasant walk and recharge your batteries at these energizing power spots along the Tama River. The riverside area is the perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. This walk includes a shrine famous for its connection to Godzilla, an observation platform with spectacular views of the surrounding area, and a park full of historical tombs, as well as spots for lunch or dinner, a drink or a snack. To begin the walk, take the train to Tamagawa Station, which is served by the Tokyu Toyoko, Meguro and Tamagawa Lines.
Originally built over 800 years ago, Tamagawa Sengen Shrine is located on a hill, with an impressive view of the Tamagawa River. On a clear day, you can even see Mt. Fuji off in the distance.
The shrine’s history stretches back to the early Kamakura period (1185-1333), when Masako, the wife of Minamonoto no Yoritomo, climbed Mt. Kamenoko to pray for his success on the battlefield. Nowadays, visitors pray to the shrine’s guardian deity for family happiness and easy childbirth. The current main shrine building was built in 1973, in the Asama-zukuri style, and is the only one of its kind in Tokyo.
The shrine also featured as a filming location for the 2016 movie, Shin Godzilla, and you might see some Godzilla fans following the trail of their favorite kaiju. Since the shrine avoided being destroyed by Godzilla in the movie, it has become popular among fans as a site of “fujimi” or invulnerability, a play-on-words with the site also having a view of Mt Fuji. Fans can buy a Godzilla ema (votive tablet), omamori (amulet), or tenugui (hand towel) to commemorate their visit.
Near the main shrine building you’ll find the Observation Deck. Take a moment to relax and appreciate the panoramic view which unfolds before you. On a clear day the deck is popular for its views of Mt. Fuji, and sunset and night views are also recommended.
The deck was used in the Shin Godzilla movie, serving as the command center for “Operation Taba,” a key battle against Godzilla. Gazing out over the banks of the Tama River, and the distinctive Maruko Bridge, perhaps you can imagine Godzilla rampaging across the skyline.
Tamagawa Diner is an attractive cafe-restaurant with terrace seating overlooking the Tama River. You’ll find it at the bottom of the stairs to Tamagawa Sengen Shrine. Enjoy a glass of wine, beer, shochu, or perhaps a refreshing mojito. The restaurant serves a wide range of courses, including a BBQ course (booking required), and even roast beef or fish and chips! Pets are welcome. Alternatively, the sister store, Cafe & Bar DELIGHT, is just around the corner.
Tamagawadai Park is a short walk from Tamagawa Sengen Shrine, and stretches along the Tama River for about 750 meters. You’ll find walking paths, an observation plaza, an aquatic plant garden, a seasonal wildflower garden, and a hydrangea garden. If you’re visiting in the spring, be sure to enjoy the cherry blossoms. From the observation plaza, you can see the Tanzawa Mountains and Mt. Fuji. It was also selected as one of the “Eight Great Views of the Tama River.”
The park is dotted with kofun tumuli, ancient burial mounds dating from around the first half of the fourth century to the seventh century, often with a distinctive keyhole shape. The Tamagawadai Tumulus Cluster is a part of the Ebaradai (or Ebara) Tumulus Cluster, and also includes the Kamenokoyama Kofun Tumulus, the largest in Tokyo (dating from the fourth century). The Kofun Tumulus Exhibition Room introduces the tumuli, and displays replicas of artifacts from the tombs, including weaponry and Haniwa (cylindrical clay figures). The facility is free to enter butis closed on Mondays (excluding national holidays).
This confectionery store, founded in 1929, is known for its “ayu-yaki,” sweets filled with homemade red bean paste, made in the shape of the ayu fish that live in the Tama River running in front of the store. The ayu fish is also a good luck charm for "climbing" up a river. It’s the perfect reward at the end of your walk.