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Arakawa – 荒川区

May 29, 2016

Flag_of_Arakawa,_Tokyo.svg Arakawa ward is located north of central Tokyo and south of Adachi-ku. It is also a bit south of the modern Arakawa river, which does not run through Arakawa river or even border it. Instead Arakawa-ku is bordered on the north by the Sumida River, which used to be the Arakawa River – got it? [If you really want to know more then check out Japan This! which is a great site for Japan History buffs and Kanji nerds.]

Chika and I arrived in Arakawa-ku mid morning. Our original site was going to be Mikawashima Park, but as we meandered our way towards Mikawashima we hit a small park not even labeled on Google Maps called simply Arakawa 2 Minami Park RIMG_1867ose Garden. It was a great little park filled with roses during the first week of May and was a better find than the park I was looking for, which we ended up skipping. It was such a quaint park that it din’t even have a vending machine. We spent about twenty minutes in the park admiring the roses and their fragrance. We also got to learn about the “green corridor”, which is a trail of 13,000 roses that follows the Toden Arakawa train line. The sign says it is best viewed in May and October so I am thinking an outing in October might be in order.

IMG_1871We were a little ahead of schedule so I convinced Chika to walk a couple of kilometers to see the Kozukappara Execution Grounds, one of three sites where the Tokugawa shogunate executed criminals during the Edo period. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but we found a very interesting cemetery. It was quiet expect for the much too loud click of my phone camera and the clacking of the prayer sticks when a breeze came through. I enjoyed the visuals of the cemetery with its stark lines and old tombstones, but Chika managed to impart some knowledge about the crests on the graves. She noted that one of them looked like the Tokugawa shogunate crest, meaning that someone important was probably buried there. After getting some pictures in the cemetery we headed north across the Sumida river into the next 区IMG_1880

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