A couple of weeks ago I found the time to visit Shibamata, somewhere everyone kept telling me I should go and see…so I did and I thought it was great! It’s only around 30 mins from the city making it an ideal escape. Although you could just visit for a few hours, I would completely recommend making a day of it, taking your time and immersing yourself in laid back Shibamata…and if you took one of our lovely private tour guides with you I think you have a brilliant addition to any Tokyo visit!
So Shibamata is all about Shōwa era nostalgia. Shōwa was the period between 1926 and 1989, so for this reason is popular with older Japanese tourists looking for memories of their childhoods.
As you come out of the station you’ll head along Taishakuten Sando, the main shopping/food street lined with Shōwa era buildings. This would be a great place to try the local speciality snack food called dango. Balls of dumplings made from rice flour and either boiled or grilled over charcoal and topped with savoury or sweet sauces. I went for the common mitarashi which are covered with a sweetened soy sauce and then the chadango which are coloured and flavoured with green tea. They were good as far as my dango experiences go…savoury, salty, sweet and chewy goodness!
At the end of the street you will come to the gates to the Buddhist Taishakuten Temple. I found this temple really interesting and spent quite a bit of time there, unusual for me and temples but there was a bit more happening here than some others I have been recently.
Although you could just stay in the main temple square at the entrance, I would completely suggest you pay the 400 yen which allows you to take the boardwalk around the temple gardens and koi pond and also inside the main temple where there are these amazing wood carvings decorating the walls. They even have a small space where you can sit, enjoy the gardens and help yourself to green tea or coffee.
There’s much more to do in Shibamata so please check back soon to find out what I did in the afternoon!