Friday, December 25, 2009
"Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen Mae Hashutsujo" (This is the police box in front of There Are Turtles Park in Katsushika Ward) is the longest-running manga in history, having started in Sept., 1976, and with well over 170 volumes. Shortened to "Kochikame", it's actually set in a real location, near Kameari station a few miles east of Ueno, outside the Yamanote loop. To commemorate the manga, two bronze statues were erected in 2006, one each near the north and south station exits.
Actually, the southern statue is next to the police box about 100 feet to the left of the station exit, past the taxi circle. The northern statue is between the exit and the bus circle. There's a second police box a short distance off to the right from this statue, as well.
(South police box. Ryou is just to the left here.)
To get here from Tokyo, the most simple option is to just get on the Chiyoda metro subway line (it can be picked up at Nishi Nippori, 2 stops north of Ueno on the Yamanote line) and ride out to Kameari. If you take one of the JR lines out of Ueno, you'll have to switch to Chiyoda about 2 stations short of Kameari, since the JR trains pass over Kameari without stopping. Train fare is about 200 yen one way from Ueno.
(Ryou greets you just as you exit the station on the north side.)
(North police box, just to the right of Ryou #2.)
The Association of Japan Animations sightseeing map mentions various branded goods available from the stores nearby. All I could find were the omiyage (souvenir) snacks at the convenience stores at the station exits. There were three kinds - two different boxes of "yaki ningyo" (baked figure cakes) and a box of rice cracker shapes. They were in the 800-1000 yen range ($9-$12 USD).
(Sign for the goods shop)
However, a sign up at the tracks next to the platform seems to advertise a goods shop somewhere off from the south exit. I couldn't read the sign until after blowing up the photo when I got home.
(Custard-filled figure cakes. Mmm, tasty.)
Some of the streets also had Ryou banners. I liked the juxtaposition of a "kameari rice cracker shop" next to one of the banners.
This is the Kameari Park in its current state. I couldn't find anything else in the area with that name. Definitely no turtles here.
(Here there be turtles (rice cracker turtles).)