December 14, 2008


Otsuka is just a short ride from Ikebukuro, and practically within walking distance from the Sunshine building.
It's a small station, with two exits, and I headed out of the south exit first. The first thing that struck me was that compared to my last stop on the line, this area was a lot quieter. Whilst there were an assortment of shops, bars and cafes and restaurants near the station, it struck me more as a residential area, with a fair number of high rise apartment blocks.
This stall in front of the station was selling nuts and dried fruit, both of which are very popular snacks.
There's no connection with any other train or subway line, but Otsuka does have its own tram stop on the Arakawa line, one of only two tram lines still operating in the capital.
This shrine was quite close to the station, though I forgot to take note of the name.

A private establishment on an ordinary street near the shrine with a name that almost wants to taunt the public with images of what happens inside.
After rejoining the main road and walking a few minutes I got the fairly ordinary Otsuka Koen, a park which features the above statues, an uninspiring fountain and some swings and things for children.
It also has this tiny shrine in one corner.

I had been wandering around for long enough to have worked up an appetite and as I headed back in the direction of the station, I came across a sign for a little basement restaurant serving Vietnamese food. It's run by three friendly Vietnamese women and the lunch set of spicy chicken pho, spring roll and salad was absolutely wonderful.
Having sated my appetite I headed back in the direction of the station with the intention of heading over to the north side of the station.
Painting on the side of an izakaya.
No expense spared on this bar sign!
Bar inspired by the sixties Catherine Deneuve movie.
Every now and then in among the fairly similar-looking concrete low rise buildings, you get a reminder of the Tokyo of the past, such as this wooden house. Sadly, a lot of these houses are likely to disappear completely in the next few years, simply because they weren't built to last.
It's closed on Mondays, but this barber seems to be the place to of you're looking for a Richard Branson hair-do.
Back near the station, the name of this restaurant caught my eye, though of course, not long having had lunch, I gave it a miss.

Compared to some of the other places I've seen so far on the Yamanote Line, Otsuka wasn't the most riveting place to visit, though I would certainly recommend the Vietnamese restaurant to anyone visiting the area.

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