Sunday, June 7, 2009


Sumida-gawa (the Sumida river) is one of the bigger rivers cutting through Tokyo to reach Tokyo Bay. It separates Akihabara from Ryogoku and was along my path when I visited the Tezuka exhibit.

It's a fairly wide river in comparison to most of the drainage ditches in the city, and had a strong wind blowing down it when I was there.

Both old and new-style boats are available if you want a nice river cruise and a meal.

Looking across to Ryogoku from the Akihabara side. Although, at this point I'm probably 1 mile away from the Akihabara border line, and 3-4 blocks north of Yasukuni Dori (Yasukuni street.

Stairs leading down to a walkway, which is several blocks long, but here I'm about 300 feet from a deadend facing Tokyo Harbor. The little plastic cup and rice ball holder could have been left here for a couple of reasons. First, it might have been meant for a homeless person; second, it could be in memory of someone that drowned in the river; third, it could have been an offering to one of the local Shinto deities that like to live in places of natural power.

The walk way, facing the deadend. It's very popular with people trying to get away from everyone else during their lunch break.

Where the walkway deadends, there's a tributary river that feeds into the Sumida. This is a view up the tributary on a bridge about 50 feet from the Sumida. The cruise ship above was shot facing the other way from this same spot.

Along the railing on this bridge, there are alternating red and blue ornaments. They are probably meant to represent old Edo-era style hair pins.

One of the blue ones.

Near the above tributary bridge, there's a small Shinto shrine dedicated to the deity Inari, patron of fertility, rice, agriculture, foxes and industry.

The kitsune (Japanese fox) is considered to be Inari's messenger. This one has either a sickle or a key under its paw. Other kitsune have jewels, scrolls, sheaves of rice or fox cubs under their paw or in their mouth (the cubs are usually not in the kitsune's mouth, though).

Facing the shrine itself. Typical offerings to Inari include rice, sake and fried tofu. The glass in the middle with the red label is a single serving of sake (AKA: a One Cup sake), probably worth $1.50. The two blue bottles are for water, but I don't know if they'd been emptied and refilled with sake for the offering.


bartman905 said...

Nice pictures, especially since there weren't the usual crowds so it seemed eerily quiet, and peaceful.

TSOTE said...

Thanks. It was mid-day in the middle of the week, so most people were still in their offices. It did make me wish I had my bike with me to get around faster....