fukagawa general

Places to visit in Fukagawa

Fukagawa is a neighbourhood east of Nihombashi, at the other side of the Sumidagawa river. It started out as a lumber district in the 17th and 18th century and rose to prominence as a shipping centre for rice, salt and fertilizer. Fukagawa has been widely featured in many Ukiyo-e in the Edo period (1603-1868), making it a very famous spot in Edo (see Lumberyard, Under Mannen Bridge, Sanjusangendo, Tomigaoka Hachiman Shrine, Nakasa and Ohashi Bridge). But that is not all, it is also the official birth place of Sumo, and Bashō wrote his most famous work while living in this area.

Fukagawa is rather different from other traditional areas in Tokyo such as Yanaka. Do not expect too many small street to wander around. Even though it is one of the more traditional areas associated with shitamachi, the value lies more in specific temples/shrines and the type of merchandise you can find. Fukagawa used to be criss-crossed by canals of which now only few are left. In the Meiji period (1868-1912) there were many factories in this area that moved out after World War II due to city expansion. These large lots were filled with office buildings and residential housing. Walking the backstreets of Kiyosumi-Shirakawa is pleasant, but without many must-see attractions. The photo above is taken in the Kiyosumi Park, which is right next to Kiyosumi Garden.

I felt Fukagawa was not touristic at all, even though it is being pushed quite hard through advertising in magazines and billboards on the Tokyo Metro. It has been more of a hipster area as of late, with a large number of coffee shops coming to the area. Still, there are many beautiful places to be found, but you will need to dig a bit deeper to find and appreciate them.





Also check my walk in order to get deeper into Kiyosumi-Shirakawa.


Closest stations:
Monzen-Nakachō Station (Tozai Line, Toei Ōedo Line)
Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station (Hanzōmon Line, Toei Ōedo Line)

Names in Japanese:
深川 (Fukagawa), 門前仲町 (Monzen-Nakachō), 清澄白河 (Kiyosumi-Shirakawa)
富岡八幡宮 (Tomioka Hachiman-gu), 清澄庭園 (Kiyosumi Garden), 芭蕉 (Bashō), 深川不動堂 (Fukagawa Fudō-dō), 深川江戸資料館 (Fukagawa Edo Museum)