November 10, 2008


Since I often go to Shinjuku, I decided to start this Yamanote Line project by setting off from Shinjuku and travelling in a clockwise direction. It's a very short trip (less than a kilometre) to the next stop, Shin-Okubo, one of only two stops on the line that doesn't link up with any other line.

Colourful murals underneath railway bridges seem to be a fairly common feature in Tokyo and these murals near the station show that Okubo is no exception.

The area around Shin-Okubo station is made up of Okubo and Hyakunincho and it is the most well-known Korean Town in Tokyo. As you wander along Okubo dori and the maze of small streets that join it, you could be forgiven for forgetting where you are, as there are plenty of Korean restaurants, CD stores and groceries with signs written in hangul as well as Japanese, and you can hear Korean being spoken as you walk.

The Okubo area is also home to many other nationalities too, with a fair smattering of Thai restaurants and shops selling halal food such as this place.
At regular intervals in the streets you can find dispensers with free papers in Korean.

Disused buildings and empty walls anywhere often become homes to graffiti and stickers and this former pachinko parlour is festooned with stickers, the last of which is particularly odd.

Entrance to a temple on Okubo Dori.
This restaurant has inverted beaten up kettles as part of its external decor, though I'm not sure if that is in any way thematically linked to what they serve.
The dozens of narrow side streets that run between Okubo Dori and Shokuan Dori behind Kabukicho are filled with houses, low rise flats, restaurants and love hotels, distinguishable by their tacky names, discreet entrances and price boards.
On one of the sleepy backstreets I came across this building covered in graffiti art and stickers that from what I can gather is home to tattoo parlours and other possibly a bar or two.

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