Digging Deep Into The Old Tokyo: Tateishi
What will you find if you venture into the old Tokyo beyond Ueno, Asakusa, Nihombashi, and even Ningyocho?
You‘ll find the Arakawa river. Past it is a place called Tateishi.
Located in Katsushika Ward, Tateishi would hardly qualify as one of the most well-known Tokyo attractions. In fact, it isn't. With its charmingly timeworn appearance, Tateishi is an unblemished, uncontaminated relic of the real shitamachi.
(Shitamachi is the area of Tokyo where the common people, merchants and artisans lived during the Edo period)
The train stop is called Keisei-Tateishi. It's only 15 minutes from Asakusa by subway.
Tateishi means 'standing stone'. The name derives from Tateishi-sama, a stone that was worshiped here for at least 600 years and still exists to this day.
Due to time, weather, and people taking pieces of it as a talisman, the stone is now standing barely a few inches above the ground. It's located at 8-37 Tateishi.
Living the Atmosphere of Tateishi
Walk around this district's retro streets and breathe the air of the real, old Tokyo. Explore the old-fashioned covered market and shop at the tiny storefronts for some cheap gyoza or grilled skewers.
Here shopkeepers will smile at you and curious locals will strike up a conversation. You will see people still haggling when they shop for vegetables, and kids trying to figure out old mechanical game machines.
There are two covered shopping streets: the Tateishi Shotengai and the Nakamise.
The bigger shopping street is lined with restaurants, cafes, game arcades and shops of all kind.
Inside the smaller shopping street there are many cheap food stalls, bars, and a standing sushi restaurant.
The market inside Nakamise
Eat Like a Local
The local specialty is motsuyaki, roast giblets. A few small restaurants specialize in this delicacy and lines of people waiting outside them can be spotted as early as 1pm.
People waiting to get inside the popular Uchida, a motsuyaki restaurant. Another establishment that is popular for motsuyaki is called Edokko.
Drink Like a Local
Nonbe Yokocho is a decrepit-looking conglomerate of alleys that host a handful of tiny watering holes. All patched up and held together by rusty metal sheets and wood, this area really takes you back in time.
It's the afternoon. Most places will come to life in a few hours but I can already hear muffled conversations from some of the closed doors.
The pretty Tateishi Suwa Shrine stands near the railways and is surrounded by cherry blossoms.
Tateishi is very close to the Naka river, which offers a pleasant view for a quiet stroll around the area.
Takahashi Yoichi, author of the popular manga series Captain Tsubasa, was born in the nearby district of Yotsugi. In his honor, the areas of Yotsugi and Tateishi are dotted with 8 statues of characters from the series.
Before You Go
Tateishi is a small hidden gem in Tokyo. If you decide to pay a visit, please remember to do so with respect. This is a residential district with its own rhythm and habits, not a tourist attraction. English menus and guidance might be scarce. Some establishments have their own rules, like not letting in clients that are inebriated.
That said, the locals are very welcoming and they will be very grateful with people who appreciate their home!
About the author
Laura is an Italian living and working in Tokyo. She loves exploring hidden and unknown places, taking pictures and listening to Punk Rock music. When she’s not busy doing the above, she might enjoy a craft beer or play the sanshin (an Okinawan instrument similar to a shamisen).
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THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 05 12,2017 Author：DiGJAPAN! Editorial Team