Saturday, March 14, 2009
Exploring Tokyo: Setagaya Dori and the Tram Line
(Sangenjaya station, near Shibuya)
As mentioned in the entry on Hachimangu, there's a tram line that runs through Setagaya ward. The trams used to be old wooden cars, but have recently been upgraded to look like more regular metal boxes. However, an earlier model car can be seen sitting at the Miyanosaka station.
(The old car in Miyanosaka)
The line starts at Sangenjaya, and runs up to Shimo-Takaido, for a distance of 5 km. With a total of 10 stations, the average is 0.5 km between stops. 140 yen lets you ride from any stop on the line to any other, although if you want to get out and switch directions, you have to pay another 140 yen. So, you really don't want to overshoot your stop. While the two end stations do have the fare machines within the stations themselves, the other stations don't - you pay when you get on the tram. Most of the stops don't have a lot worth looking at. The exceptions are Yamashita, which is right next to the Odakyu line's Gotokuji station; Miyanosaka, next to the shrine and temple; Kamimachi at Setagaya dori with the shops there; and Sangenjaya with all of its shops near the Shibuya shopping district.
Interestingly, the Shimo-Takaido and Yamashita stations are right next to two major lines (Keio and Odakyu respectively) yet are housed in their own separate buildings. In fact, the Keio line is within a few yards of the tram line at Shimo-Takaido, but is separated by a wall from the Keio station.
The tram is fun to ride once in a while, because the cars are cute, and the line has a relaxed feel to it. Be careful, though, because there's only one seat per row on each side of the car, and only two cars per tram, so if you go during rush hour, you're going to be doing a lot of standing up.
(The shopping area around Shimo-Takaido station)
(Outside of Shimo-Takaido station)
(Front of Sangenjaya station)
("No bicycle parking")
(A young bob-tail cat. Incredibly friendly.)
(An example of the use of old plastic tea bottles. Filled with water and used as... I have no idea what, but this kind of thing can be found in people's backyards everywhere in Tokyo.)