From its north exit, Narimasu station gives a direct access to a Seiyu shopping mall and a bus station, the starting point to connect Narimasu’s main attractions in a couple of minutes:
- Joren-ji temple, sheltering Tokyo’s Great Buddha;
- Akatsuka Botanical Garden;
- Itabashi’s Art Museum and Historical Museum.
To immerse in the plebian atmosphere, head towards Chikatetsu-Narimasu station and cross the railway via a footbridge. It leads to the typical traditional shopping street (shotengai) named Skip Village. Away from Tokyo’s famous avenues, people live here peacefully with the passing of seasons in a relaxed atmosphere.
The unpretentious shops lining along the shotengai have retained their old-fashioned store fronts. Time flies fast visiting the cafés, the typical Japanese ramen or yakitori restaurants, the izakaya pubs gathered in the tiniest yokocho, and miscellaneous shops. Other usual features of a working-class district constitute the scenery: a Daiei supermarket and the recent The Prime shopping mall, a Pachinko and a Game Center.
An enlivening traditional shopping street
As a major place in Narimasu district’s life, Skip Village organizes several events during late spring and summer. Each Saturday in May is held the shotengai’s anniversary, celebrated in the fashion of a local matsuri. In July, streets become livelier with multiple sales events throughout the month. Lastly, the first Thursday in August is dedicated to an Awa-Odori festival, to celebrate the deceased during Obon.
The shotengai is spanning between Narimasu’s two stations. Outside, a residential, hilly landscape unfolds, with a few larger avenues and more contemporaneous shops. The neighborhood is not very crowded and it is quite pleasant to walk in this old-fashioned area, where life seems to have stopped in Showa Era (1926-1989), amidst a megalopolis in constant change.
How to get to Narimasu
By train -- Tobu Tojo Line, Narimasu Station (¥260 (~US$ 2.50), ~10 minutes from Ikebukuro)
By Tokyo Metro -- Yurakucho (Y) or Fukutoshin (F) Lines, bound for Wakoshi, Chikatetsu-Narimasu Station (¥250 (~US$ 2.40), ~35 minutes from Shibuya)
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
How long / when to visit
Ideal in late spring or in summer for half a day