Little Kaiju and I are certainly enjoying fall in Tokyo! On the heels on our Tokyo DisneySea adventure, we were back in action. Our most recent Tokyo day trip took us across the river for some Tokyo shitamachi strolling and mid-autumn delights in Kameido, in Koto Ward.
What Is “Shitamachi?”
Tokyo’s shitamachi (下町) are areas full of retro charm. You’ll feel as if you stepped back in time to 1950s-60s Japan.
Unlike the term in English which tends to signify urban parts of a city, “downtown” is a direct translation of shitamachi and generally refers to low-lying, riverside areas east of the Imperial Palace.
I’m a big fan of these “off the beaten path” Tokyo destinations and through my writings, I actively try to encourage more people to venture beyond Tokyo’s main attractions like Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Asakusa.
One of my favorite shitamchi spots is Kameido (亀戸), and with perfect fall weather on our side, we took a leisurely stroll around the area.
READ: 5 Tokyo Shitamachi Spots Worth Seeing
Fall Walk In Kameido: Intinterary
Start: JR Kameido Station (亀戸駅）
From the North Exit (北口) of JR Kameido Station, we made our way down a narrow street in front of the train station, next to the koban.
This street is truthfully quite unremarkable, except for the winged turtle statue:
Turtles, by the way, are kame in Japanese, and you’ll find a whole lot of them here! We took this side street because I wanted my girl to enjoy watching trains, and I found the perfect spot for her.
Trainspotting at Kameido Suijo Koen (亀戸水上公園)
Our first stop on your Kameido tour was Kameido Suijo Koen.
This place is so local, you’d probably never encounter it, unless you spot it from the windows of the Sobu Local Train (that’s how I discovered it!)
Resting on top of the Yokojikkegawa River (横十間川) this quaint park is right across the street from a supermarket.
We bought bento (a lunch box) and onigiri (rice balls) and had a picnic, all while watching the trains go by.
Chrysanthemum Festival at Kameido Tenjin Shrine
After lunch, we strolled along the river,
making our way to the busy intersection of Kameido Tenjin Doori (亀戸天神通り).
Our destination? The street’s namesake shrine, Kameido Tenjin!
I’d aruge that Kameido Tenjin (亀戸天神社) is one of the most beautiful shrines in Tokyo, but then again, I’m probably biased as Kameido Tenjin holds a very special place in my heart.
Kameido Tenjin is where I had my Inu no Hi (戌の日) blessing, and it’s where little Kaiju did her first shrine visit (お宮参り | omiyamairi).
READ: Kameido Tenjin Shrine
I’ve also been coming to Kameido Tenjin for years to attend its annual Wisteria Festial (藤まつり | fuji matsuri).
But, this visit was my first time to attend the Chrysanthemum Festival (菊まつり | kiku matsuri).
We visited on the second day of the festival, so most of the exhibit was not yet fully in bloom. At least I had plenty of mums to choose from!
(By the way, this year’s Chrysanthemum Festival will run until November 23).
The Chrysanthemum Festival also coincides with Shichi Go San (七五三), a Japanese celebration held on November 15 for boys who are 5 years old and girls who are 3 or 7 years old.
We saw plenty of families all dressed up for the occasion and I realized that very soon, it will be little Kaiju’s turn to don a kimono and come back to Kameido Tenjin.
Kudzu Mochi at Funabashiya
No trip at Kameido Tenjin should be completed without having traditional Japanese sweets at Funabashiya (船橋屋).
Their speciality is kudzu mochi (くず餅), a firm mochi made from the powdered root of the kudzu plant.
It’s severded with kinako (きな粉 | roasted soy flour) and kuromitsu (黒蜜 | a syrup made of a dark brown sugar).
Dining in at the restaurant’s main location 20 meters away from Kameido Tenjin is a great experience, but if you don’t have time, get a box of kudzu mochi to go from the satellite shop right next to Kameido Tenjin.
The satellite shop typically is open during events where customer demand is extremely high.
FYI: There’s also a Funabashiya across the street from Kameido Station (opposite Don Quijote) and there’s another satellite shop inside Kameido Station.
READ: 3 Must-Try Traditional Japanese Sweets in Tokyo
Pedestrian Paradise Dance Parade
After I packed the stroller with mums and sweets (along with our wet swim class gear and groceries) it was time to head back home.
Go to Kameido on the weekend and part of Meiji Doori (明治通り), the main street becomes a “pedestrian paradise” (歩行者天国 | hokousha tengoku).
We were in luck because there was a dance event on this particular Sunday, and we joined the crowds on the sidewalk cheering on the dance teams.
A Sunday stroll around Kameido was a wonderful way to end October. Next month, we’re off to our next adventure- a weekend in Hokkaido!
The last time I went was 6 years ago, and I can’t wait to eat fresh dairy products and indulge in lots of creamy chocolates and chocolate covered potato chips!
Tokyo Shitamachi Strolling And Mid-Autumn Delights In Kameido