Relaxing stroll in Zoshigaya, well known for its cats

If you walk for about 15 minutes from the east exit of Ikebukuro Station, cross two main streets and step into alleys, then the view and atmosphere changes completely. Zoshigaya is a town filled with history and culture where you can see the roofs of shrines and temples beyond rich forest as well as alluring private houses. Louise showed her friend Naomi around Zoshigaya to experience another highlight of Ikebukuro.


1

Inari shrine protected by many families of foxes

Iko-Inari Shrine
3-18-25 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

The farthest end of the red shrine gates that stand in a row like a maze is the sacred area of Iko-Inari Shrine. It is a small cute shrine, but it has somewhat mysterious atmosphere.


2

Sprinkle the beautiful god with water and pray

Homyoji Temple
3-18-18 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
http://www.homyoji.or.jp/ (Japanese)

Kanseiin Temple
3-18-17 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

Homyoji Temple, a neighboring temple to Iko-Inari Shrine, has 810 years of history since its establishment. It is also known as a famous flower spot and the cherry blossom tunnel in front of the gate is gorgeous during the cherry blossom season. Benzaiten that is found in the grounds of Kanseiin Temple, the sub-temple of Homyoji Temple, is one of the Seven Deities of Good Luck of Zoshigaya and the god of art. Rinse the beautiful statue of Benzaiten with water and pray.

Map of the Seven Deities of Good Luck of Zoshigaya
http://www.kanko-toshima.jp/Guide/Attention/attention05.html (Japanese)


3

A place filled with mystical energy where the goddess of child care is enshrined

Kishimojindo Temple enshrines Kishimojin (guardian deity of children) has a legend that the daughter of Yasha (demon), who would often kidnap and eat little children, reformed herself after being punished by Buddha and became the deity of easy childbirth and child care. It is also famous as one of the places in Zoshigaya filled with mystical energy.

Kami-kawaguchiya in the grounds of Kishimojindo Temple is the oldest mom-and-pop candy store in Japan established in 1781 and the current owner, Ms. Uchiyama, is the 13th owner of the store. They carry 100 kinds of sweets!

The large ginkgo tree in the middle of the photo is 600 years old. Even today, its leaves gorgeously turn yellow, coloring the surrounding area yellow as well in autumn.

Kishimojindo Temple
3-15-20 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
http://www.kishimojin.jp/ (Japanese)


4

Enjoy a light lunch at an old Japanese-style house cafe

Kiazuma Coffee
3-19-5 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

Enjoy a light lunch at Kiazuma Coffee, which was reformed from an old 80-year-old Japanese-style house. You cannot help smiling when you have a popular hot dog in a comfortable atmosphere.


5

Enjoy walking on the cobble stone paved streets of Kishimojin Shopping Street

Zoshigaya Information Center
3-19-5 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
https://www.toshima-mirai.jp/zoshigaya/ (Japanese)

You can learn everything about Zoshigaya at the “Zoshigaya Information Center”. You can also purchase handmade local toys including “Susuki Mimizuku” made with Japanese pampas grass and “Genroku Kazaguruma” which was also drawn on Ukiyoe.


You can also see the only street car in Tokyo.


6

Experience Goshuin-cho, the original method of collecting seals

At shrines and temples in Japan, you can get a red seal to prove that you visited. They took a photo with Mr. Shimizu, the chief priest of the shrine who gave them the seal. This became another piece of their memory of the stroll in Zoshigaya.

Ohtori Shrine
3-20-14 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
http://www.tokyo-jinjacho.or.jp/syoukai/19_toshima/19008.html (Japanese)


7

Travel back to the time of half a century ago in Japan

Senbei Oguraya
1-5-2 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

They found a Senbei (rice cracker) shop that has the atmosphere of the time around 1950s-1960s in Tsurumaki-dori Shopping Street. You can see the skill of experienced Senbei maker who makes each Senbei by hand.

At Tsurumaki-dori Shopping Street with unhurried atmosphere, you can experience ordinary life in Japan.

Tabineko Zakka-ten
2-22-17 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
http://www.tabineko.jp/ (Japanese)

Tabineko Zakka-ten, a shop that sells Japanese general goods and used books, is popular among women. The local lady whom we met in front of the shop told us the history of Zoshigaya.


Zoshigaya has many alleys. You cannot help wondering what’s in the farthest end of a winding street.


8

Visit the wooden Western-style house of the 19th century, also rare in Tokyo

Zoshigaya Missionary Museum
1-25-5 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
http://www.city.toshima.lg.jp/129/bunka/bunka/shiryokan/kyusenkyoshikan/004412.html (Japanese)

The missionary house built by an American missionary McCaleb for his house and the base of his missionary work has the style of a suburban house of 19th century America. A concert is held in the garden sometimes.


9

A bright and quiet cemetery is a favorite place for cats

People who contributed significantly to the history of Japan including the greatest writer in the 19th century, Soseki Natsume, sleep in Zoshigaya cemetery. This quiet and sunny cemetery is a favorite place for the cats in Zoshigaya. You can find cats relaxing in the shade of graves.


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