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A walk around: Kojiya, Tokyo

KOJIYA / 糀谷

Kojiya, Tokyo 8


Tokyo, like every city in the world, has multiple layers of neighbourhoods to unpeel. Most first-time visitors to the city will tick off famous areas such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku and Akihabara. These areas are popular for a reason: they have enough entertainment to last you a lifetime, and are highly photogenic in terms of “looking like Tokyo.” Return visitors usually visit these major hubs again, but also venture into other smaller districts such as Koenji, Kichijoji and Shimokitazawa. And so it continues: peeling off layer, after layer, after layer…

Having lived here seven years now, I know Tokyo very well. But I myself am still a tourist and am always on the lookout for new areas to explore. Quite often, I simply open Google Maps, zoom in on an area I haven’t been to before, randomly pick a station and go. Not really knowing where I am going or what I will find there is part of the appeal. And so in this fashion, I ended up in a totally nondescript area of Ota-ku last week – specifically a small station called Kojiya.

As with all exploration, you win some and you lose some. In this case, Koiya was a dead neighbourhood. There is absolutely no need to go here unless you are a weirdo like me who likes just walking about places no one has really heard of. The streets were empty, shutters were rusting and shops lay vacant. There were speakers playing music in the streets, adding a surreal kind of eeriness: a ghost town, yet the music still played on…


Kojiya, Tokyo

In order to get to Kojiya, I had to transfer at Kamata station and then walk fifteen minutes to Keikyu-Kamata to change train lines. I asked the station staff what the best route was to take, and couldn’t resist snapping a picture of his cuddly friend.

Kamata Tokyo 2

Kamata was built up, but old. It felt like a run-down Ikebukuro, which is saying something as I usually think Ikebukuro is a mess itself.

Kamata Tokyo

Kamata, Tokyo

Kojiya, Tokyo 4

This street map gives you an idea of the vibe of Kamata. I get the impression no government money is filtered through here for upkeep. Things are left to rust.

Kojiya, Tokyo 5

After walking for fifteen minutes, we arrived at Keikyu-Kamata station which was a concrete monstrosity. This was a totally bizarre station – like those huge overpass train platforms you see in Bangkok. It really did not feel like Japan.

Kojiya, Tokyo 6

Switching trains, we arrived at Kojiya. Walking away from the station and into the backstreets, it became quiet. This lady was tending to her birdcage as well as her plants.

Kojiya, Tokyo 7

A small center advertising local politicians

Kojiya, Tokyo 9

Even on these streets the speakers played music

Kojiya, Tokyo 12

Blue skies and some sunshine meant that nearly every house had their futons hanging out to air. New generations choose western beds, but older generations still prefer futons.

Kojiya, Tokyo 10

A small barbershop adjacent to some houses

Kojiya, Tokyo 11

Some of the restaurants were tiny. Look at this one, with me for scale.

Kojiya, Tokyo 14

Aging store fronts

Kojiya, Tokyo 13


A walk around…

SASAZUKA

DAITABASHI

HACHIMANYAMA

KAGURAZAKA

TSUKISHIMA

AKABANE

TATEISHI

YAHO

SHOIN JINJA-MAE

SUGAMO

MONZEN NAKACHO

HAKURAKU

MIZONOKUCHI


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