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Fukagawa 深川

Buddhist priest at the Fukagawa Fudoson Temple (© Wa-pedia.com)
Buddhist priest at the Fukagawa Fudoson Temple

Contents
1. Overview
2. Monzennakacho 3. Fukagawa
4. Shirakawa & Miyoshi
5. Gardens and Parks
6. Sightseeing Map

Overview

Fukagawa is a traditional shitamachi district located 2 km east of Nihombashi, on the eastern side of the Sumida river, just across the Eitai-bashi bridge. In August it holds one of Tokyo's three major festivals, the Fukagawa Matsuri.

The whole area is roughly comprised between Monzennakachō, Kiyosumi-Shirakawa and Kiba stations. The main arteries are Eitai-dōri (永代通り) and Kiyosumi-Dori (清澄通り). Coming from Nihombashi or Kayabacho station through Eitai-dōri, you will cross the Sumida River on the blue Eitai-bashi Bridge (永代橋). The 185m tied-arch bridge completed in 1926 and is illuminated at night on a backdrop of skyscrapers on the island of Tsukishima, making it one of the most picturesque bridges in Tokyo.

Monzennakachō 門前仲町

Tomioka Hachiman-gū Shrine (富岡八幡宮)

Fukagawa Fudoson Temple, Fukagawa
Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine, Fukagawa
Enmado & Hojo-in Temple, Fukagawa 2-chome

Fukagawa's largest shinto shrine is Tomioka Hachimangu. It was established in 1627 and is Tokyo's largest Hachiman Shrine. During the Edo period, sumo wrestlers tournaments were held here, and the "Yokozuna Stone" still shows the name of the champions. The Tomioka Hachiman Shrine is compares in size to the Yasukuni or Meiji Shrine.

One of the prides of the shrine is its "ichi-no-miya" mikoshi, the biggest "mikoshi" in the Kanto region, weighing 4 tonnes. This mikoshi is actually too heavy to be carried during the festival. Another reason is its value. It is decorated with diamonds, rubis and saphires, and cost a startling one billion yen.

The shrine is a short walk from Monzennakachō Station (Tozai-line or Oedo-line). Take the exit number 1 or 6, then walk east past the Fukagawa Fudoson.

Fukagawa Matsuri (深川祭り)

Fukagawa Matsuri
Fukagawa Matsuri

The Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri (see photos in gallery) is one of Tokyo's "big three", along with the Sanja Matsuri (Asakusa) and the Kanda Matsuri. 55 "mikoshi" (portable shrines), representing all of Fukagawa's districts, are carried on the main avenue "Eitai Dori" (Tokyo's road leading from the Imperial Palace eastwards to Chiba prefecture).

The festival is held once every three years in mid-August (last in 2002) and brings an estimated 500.000 onlookers and 30.000 participants. It was nicknamed the "water-throwing festival" ("mizu-kake matsur"i), as spectators happily throw water on the mikoshi carriers to refresh them of the heat of summer.

Fukagawa Fudōson Temple (深川不動尊)

Right outside Monzennakachō station's exit 1, the red Narita-san gate will lead you to the Fukagawa Fudōson Temple (深川不動尊) of the Shingon sect, another significant attraction and probably the most interesting Buddhist temple in the area. The temple was first built in 1703 and is a branch of the Narita-san Shinshō-ji Temple near Tokyo International Airport. The present building dates from 1881.

A flea market is held between the Fudōson and Hachimangū every 1st, 15th and 28th of each month.

Fukagawa 深川

The neighbourhood officially called Fukagawa is much smaller than the vast area extending from Eitai-bashi Bridge to Tōyōchō and Morishita. It is located between Monzennakachō and Kiyosumi-Shirakawa stations.

To go there from Monzennakachō, take the Kiyosumi-dōri northward, pass Akafudadō supermarket and under the elevated expressway. You will arrive at the intersection of Kasaibashi-dōri, which is Fukagawa 2-chōme.

This area contains a few good temples around the crossing. Right on the corner, the Hōjō-in Temple (法上院), established in 1629, hosts the Enma-dō (閻魔堂; "Hall of the King of Hells"). Don't miss the exuberant 3.5m tall statue of Enma-sama, the Buddhist dharmapala and judge of the dead who presides over the Buddhist Hells. The Buddhist Enma (or Emma) is based on the god Yama of the Hindu Vedas. He is particularly venerated in Esoteric Buddhism, like the Japanese Shingon sect and Tibetan Buddhism.

Backtracking to the intersection, take the Kasaibash-dōri and you will come across the Genshin-ji Temple 1min from the corner. Going back to the Kiyosumi-dōri, on the other side of Hōjō-in, the Shinkō-ji temple is particularly beautiful in autumn when its ginko trees are all yellow.

If you continue walking a few minutes northward on the Kiyosumi-dōri, you will reach Miyoshi and Shirakawa on your right and the Kiyosumi Garden on your left.

Genshin-ji Temple, Fukagawa
Enma-dō Hall, Hōjō-in Temple Fukagawa
Priest preparing for a ceremony in the main hall of the Fudōson Temple, Fukagawa

Shirakawa & Miyoshi 白川 & 三好

The largest number of Buddhist temples can be found in the Northern neighbourhoods of Miyoshi and Shirakawa. Most of them belong to the Jōdō and Nichiren branches.

Coming from Kiyoshumi-Shirakawa station, you will first come across the Edo Fukagawa Museum (江戸深川資料館). Although small, it gives the visitor a good idea of how life was in Tokyo during the late Edo period (1600-1868). Admission is ¥300 for adults and ¥50 for children.

Edo Fukagawa Museum, Tokyo

Gardens and parks

Kiyosumi Gardens
Kiyosumi Gardens
very good Dating back to the Edo era, the gardens are believed to have been the residence of business tycoon Kinokuniya Bunzaemon. The residence passed to Kuze-yamatonokami...Read more
Kiba Park
Kiba Park
good The largest park in the Kōtō Ward, it is home to the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art...Read more

Map of attractions around Fukagawa

Surrounding Areas :

Tsukishima
Tsukishima, Tokyo
Nihombashi
Nihombashi, Tokyo
Akihabara
Akihabara, Tokyo
Ryōgoku
Ryogoku, Tokyo
Kameido
Kameido, Tokyo

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