Adachi – 足立区
Adachi ward reaches the farthest to the north of the 23 wards and it is definitely a place I would not have visited without our quest to see all twenty-three special wards. I’d like to give a simple explanation about why they are called special wards, but as with many things in Japan there is a long history and not necessarily a linear flow to how these wards ended up being autonomous cities within the large metropolis of Tokyo. If you are really curious Wikipedia seems to have a good summary. Adachi was one of five wards that Chika and I visited in a single day in early May and I was the one who planned the itinerary that day. Most of my research on the wards and things to do came from a list I found on GoJapanGo.com and the information on Adachi led me to an image of the Tokyo Budokan (not to be confused with the Nippon Budokan which is where Google Maps wants to take you no matter how times you enter Tokyo Budokan).
We walked to Adachi from our previous Ku so we got to see a bit of Higashi Ayase Park. The Park ends right at the budokan (martial arts hall). I picked this as a destination because the building looked interesting and I was not disappointed. The budokan is an “avant-garde building designed by famous architect Kijō Rokkaku.” I checked and wasn’t able to find an English website that says what he is famous for. I don’t really know anything about architecture, but I can say that I really enjoyed the futuristic look of the building. It felt like something straight out of a Star Wars film and was pleasantly out of place, especially when you consider it was built for traditional martial arts like kendo, judo, karate, and kyudo. I probably took a hundred pictures trying to capture it, but I will try to limit myself to sharing just a few.
This was our most ambitious outing (five wards in one day) so I thought just having an interesting building would make a good turn around point, but we did need to eat some lunch first. As we wandered over to the next train station looking for a place to eat we passed a grocery store/department store called Ito-Yokado. It is a chain of stores owned by the same company that owns 7/11 and Chika remembered shopping at this chain when visiting her grandmother when she was younger. Which was a sure a sign as anything that while we still in the special wards of Tokyo we also close to the inaka (countryside). You won’t find any ItoYokado stores inside the Yamanote loop. Chika asked if we could stop in and I was reminded of her legendary ability for shopping, rivaled only by her sister, Yuka.
We went in and with the bright lighting and wide aisles I was immediately reminded of a Target store. (If Paul and Jenny Timmerman ever make it to Japan I will have to bring them to Ito-Yokado to get the true comparison to Target. We’ll have to take the train though because the Timmervan won’t fit down some of the streets here.) Chika did not buy anything, but I bought a pair of shorts. The day started out cool and rainy so I wore long pants, but I was regretting this decision as the sun started to come out. The day only got hotter so I was pretty pleased with my purchase at Ito-Yokado.
And of course this store wasn’t just a Target, it was a SuperTarget, which meant there was also a grocery store attached. We wandered downstairs to the food portion of the store and each found ourselves a bento. We went over to a nearby park and found a bench to eat our lunch and then headed of for the next 区.