Exploring the fabric of time at a Tokyo hub station.
Glancing at the platforms at Nippori station from the train`s window, you immediately notice that there’s something a bit different from the design of most other stations along Tokyo’s famous Yamanote line.
For one thing, this station seems a lot more active than most of the other stations you may have passed en route from Ikebukuro to the north. Other stops like Otsuka, Sugamo and Komagome simply start to pale in comparison to Nippori in terms of modern architectural structures and the sheer number of passengers lining the platforms. That’s because Nippori actually serves as a convenient and important intersection of the JR and Keisei systems. The new elevated platform serving outbound Keisei trains opened in 2009, bringing new businesses and commuters to this area. Nippori station even serves Keisei Skyliner trains that run directly to Narita airport in 36 minutes and cost only ¥2,40 — making it one of the most-used train stations by foreign visitors entering and exiting Tokyo.
But what is Nippori really like outside of the station?
The view from the train platform of the immediate area surrounding Nippori station can be quite deceiving, looking like a bustling city shopping hub. However, this is far from the truth.
Nippori actually provides a stark contrast between the old and new, delicately balancing traditional Japanese style with that of modern of city life. Within 5-minutes walking distance from the concrete and steel buildings and shopping areas surrounding the station, you’ll find old Japanese houses, sake stores and bathhouses made of wood; bustling street markets selling typical food and supplies, centuries-old, family-run rice cracker vendors and hand-crafted puppet shops to name a few.
The east side of the Station is home to Nippori Textile Town, a mile-long street with well over 100 sewing and knitting supply stores. If you’re looking for great quality, hand-made fabrics for quilting and other thread-work crafts, Nippori has the largest selection and best prices in Tokyo!
The south exit holds the Tennoji temple and the Yanaka cemetery. This burial ground is over 100,000 square meters, contains more than 7,000 graves and is the final resting place of 15 Tokugawa shoguns. The area is also popular for its many sakura trees lining the central Sando road that runs through the cemetery, making it a popular hanami viewing spot during late March and April.
Nippori station also boasts a magnificent view of Mt. Fuji and is said to be one of the best viewing spots in Tokyo. Additionally, if you’re into cats, Nippori is probably your stop.
If you like cats and Japanese cat-themed goods, Nippori’s the place to visit. And when you depart, you’ll hear one of the Yamanote line’s most pleasing platform melodies.
Touring Yanaka's Old Quarter
In a city of 24-hour noise and neon, there’s a place that time, and Tokyo, forgot. Get lost among the charming Edo temples, pre-war alleyways and lazy cats of Yanaka’s old quarter.More