Sangenjaya At Night
Sangenjaya (三軒茶屋) is a classic name in Tokyo history, meaning Three Tea Houses. In the old days it was the last main resting point for travelers towards Tokyo (or Edo as it was called back then), an official rest stop of three tea houses. I assume that even back then there were many more tea houses as business minded towns people set up shops to take advantage of the rich traffic coming into the city. Still today the place, although effectively maimed by an intersection of two massive express ways, remains focused on entertaining as it is packed with restaurants, shops, bars and drinking places. I went there at night to check out one of the several shopping streets or shoutengai and found that there were many more restaurants than shops! During the night and morning heavy snow had blanketed the city but when I got to Sangenjaya there were just a little bit left of it. It’s a rare year that sees two heavy snows, and even rarer to have snow in March!
For as long as I can remember Sangenjaya have been ranked very high on the lists of most attractive neighborhoods in Tokyo, for some reason a lot of young and middle aged people would love to live here, maybe attracted by the more down to earth simple style of life here? As you can see from the photos, Sangenjaya is one of the messiest neighborhoods in Tokyo, very far from the glass and steel of central Tokyo. You’ll also notice that here as in most other places in Tokyo all the action is at street level. Everything above that is basic and unadorned. In the narrow, busy and crowded streets of Japan few people have the time or inclination to raise their eyes above street level. This is reflected in building rents as well with the second floor rents far cheaper than the street level in most commercial areas. Setagaya station is served by two lines, the incredibly crowded Denentoshi line and the charming tiny little Setagaya line (which deserves a whole post on its own at some time in the future). The last photo is from the metro, just before the ticket gates. I’m sure there are many readers of this blog who know much more about this area than I do! But there is a lot more to discover in Sangenjaya than the few snapshots I show you in this blog post.