How to Get Shibamata in Katsushika, a home town of Tora-san and What to Do?
Otoko wa Tsuraiyo movie
Ever seen a movie series of Otoko wa Tsurai yo (男はつらいよ, "It's tough being a man")? This series is one of our most favorites. The director is Yoji Yamada, one of the most famous directors from Japan.
This is a very famous movie series in Japan and if you ask any Japanese on street if they know "Tora-san", you definitely get "Yes". If we watch it a lot on Netflix Japan which has the series.
How to get Shibamata?
How to get Shibamata? First you need to get to Nippori station in Tokyo then take the Keisei line to Takasago station for 30 mins or so. You change to the Keisei Kanamachi line. After 5-10 mins you arrive at Shibamata station! The home of Tora-san.
During the trip, you look outside. You see many downtown feel of Tokyo.
Once you get off at Shibamata, you are already in the world of Tora-san. You see the Tora-san statute and his sister Sakura's statue in front of the station. The day we visited, you met a look a like of Tora-san (his nickname is "Mr. Torajiro Noguchi")
Shibamata in Katsushika, Tokyo
Shibamata - 柴又 - is the key location of the Otoko wa Tsuraiyo series. It is quite in a downtown by Edogawa-river.
Taishakuten shopping street
Once you pass these statutes of the characters (after you take a couple of photos), the shopping street called Taishakuten Sandou (temple street) starts to Shibamata-Taishakuten temple. You find many nice restaurants and cafes and shops. Many shops there look quite nice and old to take photos. In the summer, the street gets quite a lot of sun light and we recommend you to bring something to protect your skin against the sun.
Walk through the shopping street from Shibamata station, you reach this nice temple called Shibamata-Taishakuten (officially known " Kyoeizai Daikyo-ji").
You pay 500JPY, you can see the beautiful wood curving and the garden inside the temple. The wood curving part is protected by the glass compartment which covers the part of the temple. You can see these art works so close (but please do not touch!).
For the hot summer day, the wood curving area got a good AC so nice to be in cooled area. And in the winter time, you get the warmth too! Well, this is just one extra point to visit beside the beautiful artworks of the temple. These curvings were destroyed completely on the day of the big Tokyo/Kanto earthquake in Sept 1923. Remade in the early Showa era.
For the garden part, there is a tea machine which you can drink tea for free! The pond has many koi carps!
In Shibamata and if you are a fan of Tora-san, you must visit Tora-san museum /Torasankinenkan (寅さん記念館). It is 500JPY for Tora-san museum and Yamada Yoji museum.
But if you pay 550JPY, you can enter Tora-san museum, Yamada Yoji museum and Yamamoto-tei a Taisho house (refer to the below article). Definitely good deal.
You see the real movie set of the sweet shop where Tora-san sometimes sleeps and also the printing factory next door.
The sign in the museum says " the movie set took usually a half month to build and the film shoot took around 40 strong day. After the shoot, the set was dissembled and stored".
We heard that you can actually print things with this machine still.
Just a matter of 5 min walk, you see Yamamoto-ten. It was a house of Yamamoto family which has a camera part manufacturing plant. It was a roof title company owner who used to live there before Yamamoto family took it over. After Yamamoto family, the house belongs to Katsushika ward government.
In the hosue you feel "Taisho" time in Japan. You sit by the garden and sip tea and eat some sweet. You can not feel you are in the middle of the big Tokyo. It is the time to relax!
Where to eat?
Kawajin (川甚) is one famous eel restaurant in Shibamata esp. for those who love Tora-san. In the 1st episode when his sister Sakura married Hiroshi. The couple used this restaurant for the wedding. The restaurant has two parts: one is the old part which was featured in the movie and the new part (新館). You usually need to eat at the new part.
With the eel price going up in Japan, the eel costs around 30USD - 60USD per person. Not the cheapest meal...
Where to drink?
In the shopping street, there is a sweet shop called "Toraya". This shop was used as a film set for 1-4 episode. After the 4th episode, the set moved to a studio. The sweet shop is renovated "sadly" so you basically do not see anything to remind us of the movie except for one stairs which would lead to the Tora-san's room upstairs. Even the stairs is blocked and has no upstairs.
Green sweet " Kusamochi" made with Mugworts or Yomogi is the delicacy of the area. You see everyone selling this in the shopping street.
Yagiri no Watashi
Do you remember sometimes Tora-san often broken-hearted at the end of movie takes a boat after he disappeared from the sweet shop of his family "Kurumaya"?
It is a boat called Yagiri no Watashi. Oldest form of public transport over Edogawa river. You can still take it for just a matter of 2-3USD. It is behind Kawajin restaurant, you go up the river bank and you can see the small port. You can go to the other side of the river - Matsudo, Chiba.
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