AKABANE / 赤羽
Last Friday I found myself out drinking in Koenji, an area not too far from Shinjuku that – like my own ‘hood of Shimokitazawa – is famous for its thrift stores and retro vibes. I go there once a year for the Awa Odori, but apart from that I honestly don’t really venture out that direction – despite it only being a short train ride from where I live. (Last year I think I visited three times in total.)
Anyway, as I was sitting outside drinking my chuhai on an overturned beer crate, I thought to myself that I really should find more areas in Tokyo that have that unmistakable old-school shitamachi feel – ie. how Tokyo was before the economic miracle of the 1970’s and 80’s really took off. And so, as luck would have it, I actually ended up in one such area just 48 hours later: Akabane, in the northern Kita Ward of Tokyo. With it’s smokey alleyways and little shop windows, it’s yet another example of just how different every station in this city can be.