An important cultural landscape

The historic Shibamata area in Katsushika Ward, with its old downtown Tokyo atmosphere, was the first neighborhood in Tokyo to be designated Important Cultural Landscape by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs. It is known, among other things, for its quaint wooden shops selling kusadango mugwort dumplings and other traditional foods and wares, the Shibamata Taishakuten Buddhist temple with its splendid Nitenmon Gate, the Edogawa River where wooden rowboats still travel (mostly for tourists now), and as the home of the fictional character Torajiro (Tora-san) from Yoji Yamada's popular Otoko wa Tsuraiyo 男はつらいよ (It's Hard Being a Man) film series played by the late Kiyoshi Atsumi, whose bronze statue greets you at Shibamata Station.

Incidentally, Tora-san isn't the only fictional character honored with a statue in Katsushika Ward. As manga and anime fans may know, he shares that honor with the characters of soccer manga Captain Tsubasa as well as Kankichi Ryotsu from the comedy manga KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops.

A new promotion

© Pony Canyon, Inc. / © PR Times, Inc.

Just like many other neighborhoods in Tokyo, Shibamata is pushing to promote itself to the world in advance of the 2020 Olympics. One of the ways they're doing that is through a just-released video introducing the area's charms.

Shibamata's Tourism Office undoubtedly invested a sizable amount into this project since they collaborated with Pony Canyon, a major player in Japan's music industry, to make the stylish promotional video. Pony Canyon commissioned one of Japan's leading commercial and music video directors, Kazufumi Kimura (kimgym) to direct, and internationally renowned DJ, producer and pianist Ryota Nozaki (Jazztronik) to compose the music.

© Pony Canyon, Inc. / © PR Times, Inc.

The video, entitled "Cultural Landscape in Katsushika, Shibamata," features two Caucasian models walking through Shibamata as if it were a runway and posing in front of famous landmarks while Ryota Nozaki's soundtrack blends samples of sounds unique to Shibamata into the upbeat soundtrack.

© Pony Canyon, Inc. / © PR Times, Inc.

Video: "Cultural Landscape in Katsushika, Shibamata"

If you aren't comfortable reading Japanese, subtitles are available in English, Chinese (Traditional and Modern), Korean and Thai:

Katsushika Ward Tourism Website

Hopefully, you'll be inspired to add Shibamata to your list of places to visit when you come to Tokyo on your next trip. When you do, you'll find useful information at Katsushika Ward's tourist information website here.

By - Ben K.