Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kanda River to Ochanomizu

I know this is the worst photo on my entire blog, but it's the only one I have for this post.

Soon after Iidabashi, near Suidobashi Station and the Tokyo Dome, the Outer Moat disappears underground and magically reappears as the Kanda River, one of my favorite Tokyo features. It's a well-vegetated, steep-walled channel of dark green water feeding into the much bigger Sumida River, and is one several tributaries created out of water supply needs during the development of Edo. The Kanda River began as a means to carry water from the Inokashira Spring in present-day Kichijoji (Inokashira literally means "Head of the Well") to low-lying Kanda, just north of the site of Edo Castle. Despite being obviously manmade, its "banks" are home to quite a few popular cherry blossom viewing spots in the springtime.

(Right now you are saying, "Jesse, you should have taken a picture of this Kanda River, if it's as awesome as you say." And you know what? You are right.)

With the river as our guide, we are led to Ochanomizu, Tokyo's focal point for musical instrument shops. The area is called Ochanomizu ("Tea Water") because the shogun used to drink tea around here on the way home from a hawk hunt, making the local water famous...and early form of celebrity endorsement, I guess.

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