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UpdateMarch 28, 2018
ReleaseMarch 28, 2018

The Ikegami and Senzoku-ike areas have always been appreciated as scenic spots. Even today, these areas are blessed with many sightseeing destinations that are blessed with trees, water, flowers and historic sites. On the other hand, Kamata, a center of the Keihin industrial district which lies between Tokyo and Yokohama, came to flourish thanks to films and modern culture. The terrain of these areas is complicated and there are significant topographical differences: areas near the Tama River and Tokyo Bay are just a few meters above sea-level, while there are also hills that are 40 meters above sea level. There are many slopes here. This variety makes walking around the area an enjoyable experience.
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Senzoku-ike Pond
Start at Senzoku Station on the Tokyu Ikegami Line. In Japanese, “Senzoku” means “washing the feet.” It is named thus because famous priest Nichiren (1222-1282) stopped at the pond to wash his feet while on his way to Hitachi-no-yu hot springs in Hitachi (now Ibaraki Prefecture) for medical care. There is a pine tree called “Kesakake matsu,” on which he hung his kesa, or robe. People come to see cherry blossoms in spring, beautiful greenery in summer, colorful leaves in autumn, and migrant birds in winter. Some people enjoy boating. There is a stream from the pond, which is called Senzoku-nagare. Along the stream, there is a 1.5 km promenade that is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms. The brook flows into the Nomi River. If you walk along the river to the south, you can reach Ikegami Baien, a plum garden. You can also reach the plum garden by train (on the Tokyu Ikegami Line) or by bus (from Senzoku-ike to Ikegami).
Ikegami Baien is a former residence and atelier of Ito Shinsui (1898-1972), a painter of Japanese paintings. In early spring, 150 white ume trees and 200 red ume trees gorgeously bloom.
Let’s move on to Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple. Nichiren died in Ikegami in 1282. Later, the precincts were donated to the temple and became the Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple. Climb 96 stone steps and you will find a bell tower, a big hall, and other buildings. The five-story pagoda, built in 1608, is the oldest such tower in the Kanto region. The Shotoen garden was made by Kobori Enshu, a gardener who was famous for producing the garden of Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto. Though it is usually not possible to see the garden, it is open to the public for a couple of days in September every year. The “Oeshiki” ritual ceremony, in which people commemorate the spirit of Nichiren, is held annually for three days from October 11th through 13th. As many as 300,000 people flock to see the event on the evening of the 12th.
If you want to buy a souvenir, kuzumochi, or arrowroot cake, is ideal. You can buy it at shops around the temple. Visiting the seven temples of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune is also a popular activity.
Next, let’s go to Kamata. If you are a good walker, you can reach Kamata on foot by walking about 2 km alongside the Nomi River. Or, if you prefer to go by train, Kamata is the second station from Ikegami on the Tokyu Ikegami Line, and it takes about three minutes.
Kamata is the most famous downtown and commercial area in the southern part of Tokyo, as well as a center of the Keihin industrial district. During the early 20th century, there were many manufacturers here that produced westernized products. A Japanese typewriter factory was built, and subsequently other leading companies of the day ? including Okura Toen (Okura Art China), a ceramic maker world-famous for its high-end ceramics, and Kagami Crystal, which produced Japan’s first crystal glass ? were established in Kamata.
In 1920, Shochiku Kamata film studio opened and Kamata turned into a town with a modern atmosphere. Director Ozu Yasujiro worked there in his youth. This studio closed to move in 1936, and a diorama in the basement of Ota City Hall (Apriko) shows what it was like in those days.
Yuzawaya, one of Japan’s largest specialist purveyors of fancywork, cloth, yarn and various materials for hobbies, was first established in Kamata. There are bustling malls near Kamata Station, and you can enjoy shopping and eating there.
Onsen hot springs – even in Tokyo metropolis
This area is also known for Onsen (hot springs) that have black water. Leaves which are buried under the ground dissolve into groundwater and the water becomes black. Some pubic bathhouses