Monday, 11 October 2010

Harumi urban redevelopment in Tokyo

Walking back we opted for the scenic route - along the Asashio canal.  Whereas much of the centre part of Harumi island was fenced off bitumen, the western end of Asashio canal was was modern, upmarket, highrise. No vending machines, little shopping, manicured gardens, a Lexus shop (unusual since it's only recently that Toyota have been using the Lexus brand in Japan - a country where there was no historical stigma on cheap Japanese cars so no need to differentiate the upmarket models),   a bicycle shop were the cheapest bicycles seemed to start at around 45,000Y  ($450 or so US) - around here bikes start at less than half that, conspicuously no homeless people who often live along the river banks.

Despite the sanitised feel, the ambience was pleasant. It's easy to forget that Tokyo is - or at least was - a canal city, a water city.   We wandered back through Tsukishima, an area most famous for monja, older and grungier, quite a different world. Depite the cultivated prettiness of gentrified Harumi,  it also felt more human.

The entrance to a covered travelator walkway 
across the Asashio Canal

Tokyo - a canal city

Public space in the upmarket Harumi Triton Square
Beautifully maintained public space by the Asashio canal
Looking across to the older and less gentrified Tsukishima

Tsukishima monja town
The Sumida River

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