Monday, January 09, 2023


Have you travelled on the Toden Arakawa line? It's also called the Tokyo Sakura Tram and is the last tram/cable car in Tokyo which runs between Minowabashi and Waseda.

Since we had never rode on this line before, we wanted to check it out.

From where we live though neither Waseda nor Minowabashi is close by, so we decided to ride the line from Oji, which I've been to before , which is about the middle of the line and easy for us to access.

The interesting thing about this line is there are no wickets or ticket machines, so you need to charge your IC cards before hand or have change on hand.

The cars of the tram are rather squishy/narrow in comparison to the trains and subways around Tokyo and since they run on the roadways they need to follow the traffic signals.

From Oji, we rode until Higashi Ikebukuro and got off to check out the area.

I had been wanting to check out this area for some time.

Unfortunately, since it was January 2, a lot of places were closed for the holidays.

On top of that, the observatory area in the Ikebukuro Sunshine City building was closed for renovations too.

We wanted to have something with coffee so we checked out Mamemono to Taiyaki...round taiyaki filled with your choice of sweet bean paste, custard or an butter (sweet bean paste and butter)

I ordered the soft serve thinking it came with a taiyaki on top but it was only topped with a!

Satoshi had their tsubuan (chunky sweet bean paste) 1550 yen (tax included)

I'm glad we tried this place.

After walking around we looked for lunch and decided on Romespa Balboa...a chain pasta place...

the regular size is a whopping 350 grams of pasta!

I chose the bokkake (beef tendon and konnyaku simmered in a sweet salty shoyu based sauce) and topped it with kim chee...loved this, the sweet, the salty, the beef was tender! 950 yen (tax included)

Satoshi had their mentaiko pasta with pickled takana (mustard greens) topping 900 yen (tax included)

It was huge and I thought I wouldn't be able to finish but I came pretty close and surprised Satoshi who also thought I would leave him more to finish.

After lunch we went to check out the Zoshigaya cemetery which has many Japanese historical figures as well as literary figures buried there.

We saw so many cats hanging out here too.
From Zoshigaya, we got back on the tram and went to the Waseda end of the line.

It was our first time to see the Waseda University campus...beautiful.

On the outskirt of Waseda University is Anahachimangu shrine that has a yabusame ceremony every October

Yabusame is where the horseman shoots arrows at a target while riding on the horse.

We then decided to walk to Takadanobaba...the only problem was that we realized a little to late that we were headed in the wrong direction and heading to Itabashi instead.

So we stumbled on Kagurazaka.

I love this area! so many shops and places to eat, definitely want to come back to this area.

My feet were so sore after this but it was good to walk off all that pasta and desserts.

More photos and videos, here if you are interested.

I hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as we did.

Mamemono to Taiyaki
Sunshine City Ikebukuro, Alpa B1
Closed when Alpa is
Hours: 10:30-21:00

Romespa Balboa
Sunshine City Ikebukuro, Alpa 3F
Closed when Alpa is
Hours: 11:00-22:00

p.s. today is a national holiday, Seijin no hi (Coming of Age Day)


KirkK said...

It's so nice that you're having a chance to explore Kat! And that bokkake looks delish!

K and S said...

I think you might enjoy this bokkake too Kirk :)

Take care.

Anonymous said...

what a great day! that pasta dish...your skin must be so smooth eating tendon and konyaku!
I remember the owls outside of Ikebukuro station!
my nephew did a year abroad study at Waseda so we went to visit one year, actually more to help him move back home since everyone could bring 2 check in so we all had to help pack his stuff in our bags.
for some reason, I have the name of a restaurant in Kagurazaka, Shozantei, that serves a beef bowl with gold flakes on top. Just in case I wanted to try. Not! I think it was about 10.000yen per bowl.
I finally figured out why your walks and pictures are so good. You are just exploring areas while we are rushing around trying to find./fget to places so can't pay as much attention to the area. I will try this!

Saburo said...

Wow, good on the two of you! I haven't logged 20K steps in... many, many months. As long as your shoes are comfy you could make this a regular habit! Plus weather/temperature is nice and UV is low so you don't have to lather yourself in icky sunscreen.

K and S said...

V, I think I bookmarked that place when you told me about it, I checked and it went out of business.

Saburo, I try to wear sunscreen year round :)

Take care you two.