A public train set in a Zoushigaya garden

My friend Eri, a pianist and music teacher, invited me to go for a walk near her college in Zoushigaya. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had never been there and it’s close to Ikebukuro, an area that always seemed to me like a lesser Shinjuku. Eri’s tour from Gokokuji to the Kishibojin shrine was delightful: narrow streets, lots of sidewalk gardens, and a Shitamachi feeling. We ended the walk with a warm soba lunch.

My favorite image is this public train set in a rather barren raised garden on a small street across from a cemetery and the music school. The owner left a sign inviting passer-bys to enjoy his battery-operated train. And to please remember to turn it off when they leave. What a remarkably generous idea. I also thought only in Japan would people remember to save the battery; in my city, it would be quickly stolen and resold for spare coins.

I will post photos from this winter walk over the next few days. Below is an image of a small unpaved lane. I like how it has a rustic feel, and you can sense the vibrant life of residents, a carpentry shop, plants and bicycles.


  1. I’m glad that you liked Zoushigaya.
    The owner of the train garden might be a generous person.
    Basically,people in Zoushigaya like communications with the person,I think.I wonder why so different from Ikebukuro even though they are very close.

  2. Hi,
    I liked this series of posts very much. I lived in this neighborhood in 2006 and I thought it was a great little place to live.

  3. I live in Zoshigaya now and it really is an oasis of calm amongst the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. It is characterized by the preponderance of mokuzou (traditional wooden japanese house) I am lucky enough to live in in one. Unfortunately in Tokyo ‘progress’ never sleeps and we are losing more and more of them to the bulldozer. Steve

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