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Tokyo/Toshima

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Asia : East Asia : Japan : Kanto : Tokyo (prefecture) : Tokyo : Toshima
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Toshima (豊島) [1] is a ward in northwest Tokyo, Japan.

Get in

The main train hub for the area is Ikebukuro, covered in a separate article.

Get around

The Toden Arakawa line, the last streetcar line in Tokyo, putters through Toshima starting from Waseda University (just across the district line in Shinjuku), through Zoshigaya, Ikebukuro, and all the way to Minowa at the northern edge of Taito.

See

There is, quite frankly, very little in the way of attractions for tourists in Toshima.

  • Zōshigaya Cemetery (雑司が谷霊園 Zōshigaya-reien), Minami-Ikebukuro 4-chome (near Higashi-Ikebukuro station). The final resting place of Lafcadio Hearn is about the most exciting attraction in this neck of the woods.
  • Kouganji-Togenukijizo
    Kōgan-ji Temple (高岩寺), 3-35-2 Sugamo. This small temple in Sugamo is known for two magical statues: Togenuki Jizō, who heals sick children, and the boddhisattva Kannon, who will cure your pains if you wash the appropriate part of the statue. More morbidly, you can also pray to Kannon for a swift and painless death, so you will not be a burden to your relatives in your old age. Visitors pray Enmei Jizōson for their health too. The way to pray is unusual. People drink a small Japanese paper. A small picture of Japanese stone statue of Enmei Jizōson is drawn on it.
  • Myōkō-ji Temple (妙行寺), (15 min from JR Sugamo station). According to legend, the grave of Lady Oiwa (Oiwa-san) in Yotsuya Kaidan, Japan's best-known ghost story and a direct inspiration for the Ring horror movies, is in this temple. In a nutshell, the beautiful Oiwa was disfigured, divorced and killed, and then comes back to haunt the people who wronged her.
  • Honmyōji Temple (本妙寺), 5-35-6 Sugamo (10 min from JR Sugamo station). This temple is known for a fire called Meireki-no-Taika. It was a biggest fire in Japan. 108,000 people were dead 400 years ago. It is said that this fire broke out in Honmyōji. And there are some tombs of famous people in this temple. A Japanese sward man Syuusaku Ciba and a political office leader Kinshirou Touyoma, for example.
  • Asukayama Park (飛鳥山公園), 1-1-3 Oji (1 min from JR Oji station), 03-3908-9275. Asukayama Park is the first park in Japan. It has many cherry blossoms. The number is 650. These were put by a Japanese political leader Yoshimune Tokugawa (1684-1751). People drink and eat under these threes when these cherryblossams bloom in spring. And there are some museums in this park. The paper museum shows the paper history and has a library. There are data on paper. The Sibusawa museum is a museum about Japanese famous industrialist Eiich Shibusawa (1840-1931). He played an important part in the development of Japan. This museum shows his history and collect books related to him.
  • Houmyōji (法明寺), (3-18-18 Minamiikebukuro), 03-3971-4383, [2]. Famous Japanese temple built in 810. Features the statue of Kisimojin (鬼子母神像) who is a Japanese God for having babies easily. So visitors go to Houmyōji and play for the birth and growth of their children safely. The Kisimojin figure is a devil usually, but this statue holds a baby, and the figure is beautiful. In this temple the Oesiki-Taisai festival (御会式大祭) is held from on 16 Octover to 18 Octover every year.

Do

Buy

Ikebukuro is home to two of the largest department stores in the world, Seibu and Tobu.

Sugamo (巣鴨), on the JR Yamanote and Toei Mita lines, is popularly known as "Grandma's Harajuku" (obaachan no Harajuku), and indeed most shops in the area do seem targeted towards an older clientèle. For the (rare) tourist, however, this means a plentiful supply of tea, pottery, kitchen implements and clothes in styles that went out of fashion 50 years ago. The area is at its liveliest on the 4th, 14th and 24th of each month when a street market is held.</buy>

  • Maruji (丸治), Sugamo 4-21-11 and three other outlets nearby, [3]. Probably the most famous and successful shop in Sugamo, Maruji specializes in one thing: red underwear (赤パンツ aka-pantsu). By energizing a pressure point below your navel, Maruji's crimson panties, boxers and long-johns will keep you warm and fill you with vigor — or so they say. ¥800 and up.

Eat

  • Konaya (古奈屋), Sugamo 3-37-1, [4]. Open ''for lunch only'' daily except Monday. The original shop of restaurant chain renowned for its curry udon noodles. The noodles are cut by hand, the special curry stock is brewed for two days, and you can rest assured that your ¥1050 will, indeed, get you the best curry udon you will ever eat.
  • Akebono Sushi, 1-9-23 Minami-Ikebukuru, +81 03-3984-4936.
  • Fight Gyouza (ファイト餃子), 3-7-3 Nisisugamo, 03-3917-6261. Japanese gyouza is boiled ordinally. But the fight Gyouzas are hoisted after boiled. It is a very famous restaurant for gyouza. So many people stand in a line in front of the restaurant.
  • Souten (蒼天), Otsuka 3-39-13 (JR Otsuka South Exit, cross the tram line, walk past the shrine, left then right. If you get to the junior high school, you've gone too far), 03-5944-8105. High-end yakitori. Five stick set from around ¥1,600. Do try the chicken sashimi--outside the comfort zone for many visitors, but you may be pleasantly surprised. Extensive selection of nihonshu featuring Kozaemon. from ¥5,000.


Drink

Ikebukuro has an extensive assortment of places to drink and get drunk, detailed in that article. For sampling sake, JR Otsuka station has a number of good choices:

  • Edoya, (Towards south exit).
  • Konakara, (Towards north exit).
  • Omamori, (near Shin-Otsuka metro station).

Sleep

Budget

  • Backpackers Guesthouse, 3-44-16-B1 Ikebukuro, +81 03-5939-8470, [5]. Said to be the "Cheapest Hostel in Tokyo", Backpackers Guesthouse offers backpackers a clean place to hang out with free internet, cable TV, hot showers and a kitchen. M-Th ¥2000, F-Su ¥2200 or ¥40,000/mo.

Mid-range

  • Crowne Plaza Metropolitan Hotel Tokyo, 1-6-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, (toll free: +1 877 227-6963 from U.S.), [6]. This 4-star hotel has elegant rooms, complimented by many in-house restaurants including offering Sichuanese, Cantonese, Japanese and Italian cuisine.
  • APA Hotel Tokyo Itabashi, 4-47-1 Kami-Ikebukuro, +81 03-5974-8111. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. This three star hotel offers a convenient location near the Itabshi Station, 3 min to Ikebukuro and 8min to Shinjuku.

Contact

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