Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Along Yasukuni Dori, Tokyo

(Communications relay tower)

Yasukuni Dori (Yasukuni Street) runs just north of Shinjuku train station, east through central Tokyo, to Ochanomizu and beyond towards Chiba. It actually parallels the Sobu and Chuu-ou train lines. My regular commute on the Chuu-ou line takes me from Shinjuku through Ochanomizu, and after changing to the Sobu, on to Akihabara. I've visited the end point stations many times, and have seen many parts of the city to the north and south along the Yamanote train line, but I'd never walked along Yasukuni Dori through central Tokyo before.

(Steps leading up to Yet Another Temple)

Finally, a few weeks ago, I found myself in Shinjuku after doing some shopping and with a few hours to kill before needing to go back home. So I decided to take the opportunity to make the walk. I didn't push myself hard this time, so the 4-5 mile trip ended up taking about 2 hours.

(The Ministry of Defense has its offices in the middle of the city, on the north side of the street)

Around Shinjuku, the street is lined on both sides with department stores, restaurants, and various other shops. After about a mile, it turns into featureless office buildings . Then, just outside Ochanomizu, it encounters part of Music Instrument Street and the shops and restaurants start showing up again. There's a dental school next to the Ochanomizu train station, and the monument to the old Confucian school next to that.

(Example shops)

(Ad for Action magazine and Crayon Shin-chan)

(Fishing on the "river". The Chuu-ou and Sobu line train station can be seen on the other side of the river.)

Most of the bigger rivers running through Tokyo are just stagnant ponds; concrete-lined ditches with no water flow. One such river runs between Yasukuni Dori and the Chuu-ou/Sobu train line. At one point on the river, someone set up a service allowing people to fish for (what I assume are) farm-raised fish thrown into an area enclosed by mesh wiring. This is as close as many Tokyo fishermen get to actual fishing.

For the most part, there's not a lot worth paying attention to in this section of the city, and it's really just something that you pass through to get from point A to point B. However, I should mention that when you get close to Ochanomizu, you pass by Tokyo Dome and the amusement park there. If I ever go back to the Dome itself for a ball game or something, I'll take photos of it.

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