Start from Kuramae Station, Located in the Area Recently Being Revived As the City of Craftsmanship.
Kuramae has numbers of traditional toy wholesale stores. Recently, however, this old district has turned into more attractive spots for visitors, with the new shops, such as the cafe offering an amazing view of the Skytree and Sumida River (the landmarks of this area), and the galleries/craft shops to help the district revive as the city of craftsmanship.
‘MIRROR’, a Unique Restaurant by the Sumida River, Serving As the Source of Restaurant Culture.
MIRROR is a unique complex of cafes, restaurants, and galleries, which offers gorgeous dining locations with amazing views of the River Sumida, the Skytree, and the water bus. This 7-story building MIRROR consists of a cafe restaurant ‘CieroyRio’, a living room style bar called ‘Ribayon’ where you can play ping-pong, and ‘Privado’, a top-floor luxurious private bar offering an amazing night view.
Take a Rest at CieloyRio, a Riverside Cafe on the 3rd Floor Offering an Amazing View of the Sumida River and the Skytree.
Iced Cafe Latte (500 yen).
Ribayon opens at 7:00 p.m. everyday. This place looks nice, too!
MIRROR’s entrance has nice atmosphere.
The Too Artistic Public Restroom by the Koban near Umayabashi Bridge.
Now we are heading to Asakusa, walking in the alley, not main streets. While we’re at it, we find a bridge called ‘Umaya-bashi’. It’s hard to read even for Japanese. It’s picturesque everywhere, thanks to the Skytree!
A very avant-garde public toilet that has won some kind of ‘good landscape’ prize before. It’s divided into men’s and women’s zones, of course. Looks like you will be drawn into a face when you enter it. So interesting!
Photo Spot 1. The Toy Company BANDAI’s Headquarters.
The street by the office is called ‘Character Street’ lined with the popular anime/manga characters including Doraemon, Anpanman, Ultraman, Kamen Rider and others. It’s a perfect photo spot!
‘Look at his bulky toned chest!’ My girlfriend clings to his arm, fascinated by his muscle. I wonder if she is more attracted to this kind of muscular men than me…
When it comes to Kamen Rider, she doesn’t even care and passes him by…How come?
Because she is more interested in this Cinnamoroll. They look alike in some way.
Photo Spot 2. Komagata-Dojo Honten.
There is a ‘film-set’ looking dojo (loach) restaurant located next to the BANDAI headquarters. A resting space in front of the restaurant is a perfect spot for photos. You can take memorable photos, feeling as if you stepped through a time warp to the Edo period.
CEDOK Zakka Store Has a Collection of Children’s Books, Stationery, and Others from Czech Republic.
This store offers old children’s books and furniture from when The Czech Republic was socialist, as well as original stationery made by young Czech artists who admire and are inspired by the stuff made in the Socialist era. http://www.cedok.org
CEDOK is a little way off the Edo Street, on a small alley. Looks like we’ve found a hidden Tokyo! Yay!
Photo Spot 3. Kaminarimon Gate.
This gate is officially called ‘Furaijin-mon’ as the two statues are placed on both sides of the gate: Fujin, the god of wind on the right, and Raijin, the god of thunder on the left. The gate was the victim of a fire several times, and was destroyed in the last fire in 1865. After 100 years, however, the gate was reconstructed with monetary donations by the founder of Panasonic, Kounosuke Matsushita.
The Skytree and the golden object on top of Asahi Beer Headquarters. As this building is gold, the Skytree reflected on the building looks golden, too.
We try to find a photo spot for shitamachi and the Skytree to take in one picture. Then here it is! If you look back on the small alley off from Nakamise-dori, you’ll see the nearly-invisible Skytree and shitamachi alley filled with full of atmosphere. This kind of place is full of charm. I’m thrilled that I found it.
Photo Spot 4. A Batting Cage Called ‘Asakusa Batting Stadium’.
Head to a batting cage in Asakusa. This is such a good place not only for blowing off some steam, but also for dating.
Though the helmet is not properly fitted, it looks pretty good on my girlfriend. The pink bat is cool, too. Here we go!
Surprisingly, her batting is so aggressive. She doesn't look scared of a ball coming toward her, and swings her bat with all her strength.
20 balls (400 yen) for 1 game.
The machine throws 20 balls, but she can’t hit any…
Photo Spot 5. Nikomi-Dori, the Izakaya Street Where Middle-Aged Men Drink from the Daytime
Next we are heading to one of Asakusa’s highlights, a famous bar street called ‘Nikomi-dori’ or ‘Hoppy-dori’. At every izakaya, tables placed outside are occupying the street. It must feel great to drink outside!
We visit Koji, one of the most popular places on Nikomi-dori. I choose an outside table so she can enjoy the local atmosphere.
Let’s start off with Calpis Sour. Cheers!
‘Gyu-nikomi-tofu’ (simmered beef and tofu, 450 yen) is their specialty. Look at the big tofu! She looks so curious about this food, as it is her first time visiting a nostalgic izakaya.
I order ‘Age-natto’ (deep-fried natto, 500yen), which is limited to 50 dishes a day.
It’s piping hot! You should blow on it before eating.
Natto whapped in aburaage (flat fried tofu) is deep-fried until it gets crispy. It’s so good you should try it, too.
Ending today’s date with taking a ‘rock’ photo on the Rokku-dori. (pun) My girlfriend poses as a rocker here. Today’s 'shitamachi' date course really rocks!
The guide (girl) profile: Suzuyu, a next-generation singer who sings the opening theme song for the TV anime ‘Little Busters! -Refrain-’. She sings songs for game music, too.