Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#Shopping♪Rustic Streetcars & Bustling Retro Shopping Streets in the Most Modern City in the World- A Sanoya Shopping Escape!

Streetcar adventures near the Arakawa Line 

The Downtown Otsuka Mall Tour comes Alive!

Let's take a Photographic Journey!

Traveling alone in Tokyo is not a scary thing
at all, in fact it's actually recommended to some 
degree. The freedom to travel where you desire
and see the things you like to see. Sometimes your
camera can be your best friend and travel companion.
Japan is a famous tour destination for a lot of reasons
and while navigating the ends procession of 
winding streets you'll find many delicious shops and
 beautiful cafés in the mix of your shopping adventure.

Shibuya, Harajuku, Asakusa, Ginza, Ueno, Odaiba, etc.
all present their own different charm and styles but
today we are going to take a look at a different type..
There's a small town in Tokyo called Otsuka that
has it's own personality and doesn't seem to run
out of great places to visit. With these smaller towns
 you can find great deals on all sorts of merchandise
 including secondhand brand name items for low prices. 

Let's see if we can take this old flavor and see
if we can find a new charm in Tokyo ...

City that never sleeps VS Old quaint romantic town

Hard to believe that both are Tokyo right?
To the left is a view of the busiest intersection
on Earth (Shibuya). To the right, is the simple, 
quaint city of Otsuka. Categorically the same yet 
vastly different in appearance. Just look at the
attractive design of the light poles lining the 
street in Otsuka. 

The true fun in a trip such as this is viewing
the differences by just traveling a couple train
stops. I bet some of your mental images of Japan
are changing as you read this and it should! ^^
We strongly recommend you pay Otsuka 
a visit to experience a new kind of Tokyo life.

The charm of an old-school "streetcar" ^^

Ever heard of a "streetcar"?
The Toden Arakawa Line, operated by the Tokyo
 Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation, makes it 
way through Otsuka connecting Waseda Station in 
Shinjuku-ku to Minowa Bridge Station, in Arakawa-ku, Tokyo.

Out of all of the 23 wards of Tokyo, surprisingly
the Arakawa line is the only streetcar that is still
in operation. 

Other functioning "streetcars" running in the Tokyo
metropolitan area include  Yurikamome, and the Tokyu
 Setagaya Line.
The journey of the Toden Arakawa Line

Selected as a great trip for Tokyo travel, 
taking the route of Toden Arakawa Line in,
you'll get a chance to see some impressive
The starting point of the trip, as mentioned
earlier is Waseda, and this area is known
for the setting of the World-famous hit Anime
 Astro Boy located nearby Takadanobaba.

To begin this trip in Waseda, we'll get off at Otsuka ekimae Station
in preparation to see the beautiful streetcar 

Waseda (Waseda)
Omokagebashi (面 影 橋)
Gakushuin Shita (学習 院 下)
Kishibo-shin-Mae (鬼子母 神 前)
○ Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Zōshigaya Station (雑 司 ヶ 谷駅)
Toden Zōshigaya (都 電 雑 司 ヶ 谷)
Higashi-Ikebukuro 4-chome (東 池袋 四 丁目)
○ Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line (Higashi-Ikebukuro Station)(東池袋駅)
Mukaihara Station (向原 駅)
Otsuka Ekimae (大塚駅前)
○ East Japan Railway Yamanote Line
Sugamoshinden (巣 鴨 新 田)
Koshinzuka (庚申 塚)
Shin-Koshinzuka (新 庚申 塚)
○ Mita Line (Nishi-sugamo Station) (西巣鴨駅)
Nishigahara 4-chome (西ケ原四丁目)
Takinogawa 1−Chome (滝 野 川 一 丁目)
Asukayama (飛鳥 山)
Ojiekimae (王子 駅 前)
○ ○ Keihin-Tohoku / Nanboku Line
Sakaemachi (栄 町)
Kajiwara (梶 原)
Arakawa shakomae (荒 川 車庫 前)
Arakawa yuenchimae (荒 川 遊 園地 前)
Kodai (小 台)
Miyanomae (宮 ノ 前)
Kumanomae (熊 野 前)
○ Nippori Toneri liner
Azuma ohisa 3-chome (東 尾 久 三 丁目)
Machiya 2-chome (町 屋 二 丁目)
Machiya ekimae (町 屋 駅 前)
○ Keisei Main Line ○ Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line
Arakawa 7-chome (荒 川 七 丁目)
Arakawa 2-chome (荒 川 二 丁目)
Arakawakuyakushomae (荒 川 区 役 所 前)
Arakawa ichi naka mae (荒 川 一 中 前)
Minowabashi (三 ノ 輪 橋)
○ Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Minowa Station

* Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation - 
Arakawa line route table information page (English)

Reach Otsuka from the Arakawa Line
 and JR Yamanote Line

Otsuka Station is just a stone throw away from 
Toden Arakawa Line's Otsuka Ekimae Station and
 sits on JR Yamanote Line. Riding the street car
through Otsuka is key to gaining access to the 
City center.

Toden Arakawa Line - Otsuka-Ekimae station

The route Toden Arakawa Line takes follows a popular
road known as the Meiji-dori (No. 122 national highway) 
at Asukayama station. And there's places such as
 Miyanomae, where the road has been separated and 
extended to accommodate the streetcars. 

JR in the Yamanote Line - Otsuka Station

In addition to Toden Arakawa Line, you can also make
your way to Otsuka Station from the JR Yamanote Line.
Often just seen as another stop as people make their
way to the more popular and heavily populated Ikebukuro,
this small town holds nostalgic rustic shopping appeal.
If vintage and retro is your thing, then you'll feel right
at home here.

Snap! One photograph down! - 

After taking the south exit from Otsuka station,
about a 5-minute walk away is an interesting attraction. 
Buried within the residential area is Tenso Shrine, 
invoking nostalgia from the old days in Japan. 
It's interesting to note that most passersby can
be seen stopping and praying at the gate to the 
shrine so as not to show disrespect. 

Tenso Shrine

About a 2-minute walk from the station is Tenso Shrine,
which houses an astounding 600 year-old Ginkgo tree
 that sits next to the fountain.
The grounds have been remarkably taken care of and it’s free to enter!

Introduction of the Tenso shrine tourist spot

Tenso Shrine sights #1 - There is an over
600-year old Ginkgo tree housed in the shrine
that you must see to believe. It's to know that
no matter how developed Tokyo has become,
they still hold on to old relics such as this.  
The tree is seen as an omen for love and lovers
often tie knots around it.

Tenso shrine sights 2 - The Parenting Guardian

Located near the entrance, a stone statue in the shape of a 
certain someone immediately to the right of the torii.
There's also an interesting Kamairu a breast-feeding
lion l, for easy delivery and child care.

Tenso Shrine sights 3 - Sazare-seki
A stone, that's considered a treasure of the country and 
registered in Japan as a the natural monument!

:::Tenso shrine:::
Address: Tokyo Toyota ku Minamiotsuka 3-49-1
TEL: 03-3983-2322
Official Website (Japanese)

Toden Arakawa - More fun that it seems
Toden Arakawa line is an amazingly popular streetcar
worthy of it's band of fan clubs. On Saturdays and holidays
especially on a clear day the amount of riders increases
so as a result their are a bit more trains in service to
cater to the needs of the people. I wonder which train
will be your favorite!?..

* Toden Arakawa Line
Travel: One person crew
Fare: adult: 170 yen children: 90 yen
 IC card: 165 yen, children 82 yen adult.
Toden Arakawa Line's official website (English)

You can also purchase one day or two day tickets
for the train.

One day ticket page:

Snap! #2- Cute and colorful streetcars

Toden Arakawa Line is especially easy to photograph
because the train itself runs quite slowly. these trains
with the exception for late at night and in the early
come at intervals of about 5-6 minutes.  For each
stop a guide display is provided showing the
destination and where the train currently is.

Snap! #3 - Reproduce landscapes from popular anime

The next stop is the station called "Otsukaekimae"
 that at first glance doesn't appear to be much
of a station at all compared to the other larger
stations around. However, stations like this are
often times considered an attraction in their
 own way. Perhaps because they are so old.

Walking down the street, we get the feeling that
we are walking through a Japanese manga that we
used to read back in the old school days. Let's
try to capture our memories of Japan before
we had even came!

Even in these tightly knit streets we found our
 shopping point - Sanoya!

Most elderly folks in the area refer to this
area as the "downtown" section of Otsuka...
A secondhand shop dealing with bags, wallets,
watches, vintage clothing, miscellaneous goods
 of all brands and a history of more than 90

::: SANOYA:::
Just off to the left from JR Otsuka Station North
exit is where you'll find the main shop. It is a large-scale
shop with an unlimited number of brand name products
in great condition.

Sanoya J & B

Soon as you arrive you can see within the signboard
all the brands this particular branch is in charge of...
 such as luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, 
and Chanel.

Sanoya J&B is just one of the other 9 stores in the
area so that's by no means the total selection of Sanoya.
In a quiet residential you can shop in peace without
giant crowds of people rushing you through your
own shopping time.

Window shopping is dangerous

You might simply be walking by and suddenly
you're sucked into the vortex of attractive luxury
brands and beautiful designs. The store itself is
anxiously awaiting foreign tourist so they will
welcome you with open smiles when you arrive.
Just off of the shopping street of Otsuka-Ekimae,
surrounded by all residential housing. I'd say it'd be
rare to stumble upon this place by chance. It was
meant to be... ^^

Sanoya's recommended...!

With the change in seasons, make sure
you stay ahead of the curve and stay stylish.
Casual yet vintage denim that oozes with

From left:
* LOUIS VUITTON - 70,200 yen (tax included)
* HERMES - 43,200 yen (tax included)
* HERMES - 66,960 yen (tax included)

Sanoya: Boutique J & B

Literally dotted with used brand name clothes marked on
the signboard, the luxury brand clothes this shop sells
are quite specialized. Featuring a range of styles and staff
that become your personal stylists, this boutique seems
to be lined with true diversity.
Wow.. for a second there we forgot this is a secondhand
luxury brand shop... Let's see more!!

The Chanel suit is the truth

In particular, a lot of Chanel items can be found
within this shop. This sophisticated style from the
 classic ship to Chanel will keep eyes fixed on you in
any situation. Let's have the time to take a look one by one.

Time to examine and enjoy the style

From classic to romantic, to casual! Try it on
to your hearts content and get instant feedback
from the helpful staff! We tried to find our own style
 and enjoy a variety of different styles. The power of fashion
to make an ordinary person shine is simply tremendous.

Snap! #4 Photos - The oozing nostalgia
 of Otsuka Mall

In this small town of Otsuka you can catch a
glimpse of the old days where life was at a much
slower pace than that of big cities such as Shibuya,
Ikebukuro, etc...Seeing places like this will be a great
transition to the big city life if you're not from a bigger
city. To reach this retro city atmosphere all you have
to do simply head north through the north exit of JR
Otsuka station.

Lining these streets are a number of fascinating
markets and restaurants including, ramen shops,
laundromats, rustic old Chinese restaurants.

Let's begin our gourmet journey with Otsuka mall?

Snap! Photos five - Gourmet tour of Otsuka shopping street ...

There is a place we strongly recommend, called Nigiri
Bango and it is simply amazing. To be honest, ordering
an onigiri (rice ball) and getting it to go is common sense.
Therefore having a restaurant where you can actually sit in
and eat specialized onigiri that's been prepared for about
 40 years right here in Otsuka, is something really special.
Surprisingly the onigiri was well prepared using fresh
ingredients and delicious rice, which we later noticed
on the signboard outside that the rice is product of Niigata,
a city known for having tasty rice.

Otsuka Mall Recommended Gourmet
Stop#1 - Onigiri Bango (おにぎりぼんご)

Rice ball is a food made to unite multiple foods
with rice such as pickled plum and cod roe. They
were created in the shape of a triangle to symbolize
unity and depending on what size you get, you can
stuff quite a bit of things inside. Here, 57 different types of
 rice balls are sold!! The prices vary between the different
fillings for the rice balls so please visit and see
which one will be your favorite!

:::Onigiri Bango (おにぎりぼんご):::
Address: Tokyo Tokama ruins harness other Otsuka 2-26-3
Google map
TEL: 03-3910-5617

Where you can know the real thrill of Onigiri (rice ball)

Rice balls, which can change in flavor dramatically
based on what's inside of them come in a
wide selection of flavors, but it's unfortunately not
unlimited. Each ball weighs about 120~150g, so it
can be eaten alone or with a side of miso soup like
shown, changing the inner to be suitable for a wide
range of personal preferences.

Otsuka Mall Recommended Gourmet
Stop#2 - Otsuka Sushitsune Honten

Grab a delicious meal for lunch for just  around
1,000 yen. After a couple bites you will soon
 understand the reason why sushi in Japan is so

:::Otsuka Sushitsune Honten (大塚寿し常本店):::
Address: Tōkyōto tō yō-shi hānesu sonota Ōtsuka 2 - 6 - 10
Google map
TEL: 03-3971-6079
Official Website:

Otsuka Mall Recommended Gourmet
Stop#3 - Handmade ramen

Do you love ramen as much as us!? If so you should visit
 "Teuchi rāmen abarenbō". The entrance is so funny
because the staff can be seen from the window with
such serious faces making the noodles. It's also a good
place to drool over all the delicious noodles being made
as well!

 :::Teuchi rāmen abarenbō (手打ラーメン暴れん坊):::
Address: Tōkyōto tō yō-shi hānesu sonota Ōtsuka 2 - 12 - 2

Google map
TEL: 03-3918-5725

At Ekimae Sanoya

Moving just a couple minutes from Otsuka Station
we can make our way to Ekimae Sanoya shop.

Louis Vuitton
Miu Miu,
etc. ...
Although Sanoya has been providing a possible
entrance into the luxury lifestyle for everyone for
almost 100 years, we were still surprised by the
quality of goods and service. For Sanoya, there's
only high quality products available.
They also cater to class B products as well so
everyone can be happy with what they're able
to find. The also have deep stocks, meaning
even if you aren't the first one in the store,
you can find something you'll enjoy.

※ Sanoya employs a 5-stage evaluation of [N-S-A-B-C].
N to S rank are new (unused goods), and A to C rank
reserved to explaining the quality of the used items.

A product of eternal yearning: Hermés!

Wildly popular "Kelly bag" and "Birkin bag".
Hermès Birkin supports a practical yet free-spirited image,
however, despite the flush of elegant hot pink it doesn't lose
a sense of luxury.
The best- selling line represented by Hermés Kelly bag is a minimalist
and luxurious design that is at the pinnacle of femininity.
Regardless of the generation, bags such as this that employ
the basic fundamentals of luxury items will be to be loved.
Sano by Hermes product information

Louis Vuitton, first class cut above the rest

 For that luxury feeling, practical everybody's favorite
 brand of choice is the popular "Louis Vuitton". Sanoya
works as a means to make this lifestyle possible for
smart shoppers who understand that real value
is in the condition of goods versus whether or not
it's actually new.

Sanoya Louis Vuitton product information

Notable denim collection for this season!

This season marks the time "denim" came back.
The winter cold is slowly being blown over and
brightening up with more sunny days
The great part about denim is just about
anyone can wear it, women, men and even
children. In addition to clothing, denim
accessories are also blowing up! 


Cute and clean Prada denim bag with a design
that boasts a large storage capacity. Rectangular in
 shape so it also gives a sense of luxury while staying
 sporty. It's also practical and fashionable because it can
be used as a handbag or a shoulder bag!

* PRADA 2WAY denim bag - 37,800 (tax included)


A Feminine attractive Prada denim bag where
the stylish force reverberates throughout the room.
Simple rectangular shape gives it the freedom of being
able to look good for women of all ages. Whether used
as a shoulder bag or a hand bag, both styles are doable.

* PRADA 2WAY denim tote bag - 102,600 (tax included)


Spring and summer bright tone denim Gucci bag with
chain metalwork strap for sturdy and attractive
shoulder placement.  More than anything, it is a very
 simple and light practical bag that is easy on the eyes
* GUCCI denim shoulder bag - 86,400 (tax included)

Eye-catching pink

Soon as you step out from the JR Otsuka
Station the Sanoya shop will begin to come
into focus. You won't be able to miss it's massive
pink sign plus nearby signboards guiding you to its
Various brands of bags and accessories, impressive
 ornaments are all selling at bargain prices every single
day. Because of this rich variations of goods, wouldn't
 you say that it's easier to find the things on your shopping
 list while you're on a budget ...? You can also rest easy
in the fact that there are 9 different stores around the
Otsuka area for your to choose from.

Retro streets that have flowed through the years, "Otsuka".

Toden Arakawa Line streetcar and Otsuka strikes a
 nostalgic atmosphere and is a good place for a little
 emotional trip. In particular, this is a trip that can be
enjoyed, if even by one person.

In this magical place there is an old flavor and romance
while avoiding the bustling tourists in the other downtown
city centers.

★ Tenso shrine
★ Toden Arakawa Line
★ Otsuka shopping street

Please try to make your own story and unique journey everyone!

And visit Sanoya!
- Sanoya Honten
- Otsuka Ekimae
- Jewelry J & B
- Sanoya J & B
- Boutique J & B
-Bargain Hall
- Depo Band
- LV Monogram-Kan
- Ekimae Sanoya
Consisting of 9 different locations!

For over 100 years bringing unique goods to the
forefront for the people of Otsuka, and creating
a new value for the term "re-use" by claiming that
the value of an item is not measured by how new
it is.

Often times we put a little too much emphasis on
having the newest items and look down upon things
that are secondhand when in reality we really shouldn't
In a nice place such as this here it's easy to get lost
on the streets and not really mind as you peruse the
boundless shopping selections.

Address: Tōkyo-to Toshima-ku Kita Ōtsuka 3 - 33 - 9
Hours: 9:30 to 19:30 (every Sunday closed)
Phone: 03-3949-8111
Display the location on Google map
Official Website (Japanese)

Otsuka Travel Photo Collection

Otsuka Shopping Street

Tenso Shrine

In front of Otsuka Station

Toden Arakawa

Like a hero/heroine in Japanese manga!
Traveling in Otsuka, a wandering symbol
of all the good things that'll come with travel.

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