This Week in Tokyo – 26 May 2020
Mac, Founder and Lead Guide of Maction Planet, shares his adventures on his Maction-sanctioned socially-distanced walk around Todoroki in a greenery-filled edition of ‘This Week in Tokyo’!
In 2019 I guided, on average, for 10 hours per day, 6 days a week. From that perspective staying in, as all the Maction Planet team have been doing, has been an interesting experience.
It was 11 days since my walk around Harajuku, so I was due another. This time I ventured further afield. The date: Wednesday 20 May 2020. The place: Todoroki. I snapped some shots of the natural beauty and historic sights which greet the intrepid explorer in this little-visited suburb. Plus ice cream. Enjoy!
Featured image – No, NOT Kyoto!: This photo was taken within the Tokyo 23 wards! The main draw for people visiting Todoroki is the Todoroki Valley, and it has it’s own bamboo grove too! Take that, Arashiyama!
What is the Todoroki Valley?: Also known as Todoroki Gorge or Todoroki Ravine, it is Tokyo’s only ravine. On its way west to connect to the Tama River, the oft-forgtten Yazawa River has eroded a course through layers of the surface of the Musashino Daichi Plateau. The deepest section, the Todoroki Valley, was designated a public park almost 90 years ago. The valley is located on the southern tip of the Musashino Upland. There are even places along the valley, near the primary entry point near Golfbashi (The Golf Bridge – there used to be a golf course in the area) where the cross-sections of the geological strata that characterise this upland can be observed. For those whose image of Tokyo is all Shibuya Crossing and Akihabara, it is hard to believe that a place like this exists so close to the train stations and the main thoroughfares of Tokyo. There are lots of interesting stops along the way, including a Japanese Garden, the Chigo-Daishi-do Temple and the Fudo-no-Taki falls.
Noge Otsuka Tomb: About 260m from the Todoroki Valley proper is the Noge Otsuka Kofun Tomb, a large-sized burial mound and central tomb mound. It was built at the beginning of the 5th century. Its overall length is 104 meters. Looking at it from above, it resembles a scallop, hence its designation as scallop-type. The tomb is representative of the middle Kofun era and its culture in the Kanto region. It is thought to be the burial site of the chieftain of a powerful clan in the South Musashi area. Larger kofun such as this contained substantial possessions of the departed, often demonstrating their power and wealth. At the top of the mound, which you can climb up to, archaeologists have laid tiles sowing what lies beneath: burial items such as a wooden coffin, swords, knives, iron arrowheads, bronze mirrors, bronze armlets and armour. As a student of Japanese history, this is a great spot!
Thanks to all essential workers: Todoroki Fudoson Temple is a beautiful stop on your journey through Todoroki Valley. I spotted this sign near the main road entrance. The two large kanji on the right, 感謝, say Kansha and mean gratitude. A large ‘Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu’ to everyone around the world who is contributing to fighting and ending the COVID-19 pandemic from everyone at Maction Planet.
And finally – Blossom: All that walking requires a small reward, and I know just the spot to provide it. Blossom, just outside Todoroki station on the Oimachi Line, has been serving ice cream and crepes for 24 years. Their ice cream comes from Lotte’s ‘Il Gelato’ line which includes flavours such as Okinawa Salt Milk, Ramune and other treats. I treated myself to two scoops of Hojicha and Choc Chip. We continue…