Tokyo Stroll Supplement: Setagaya Ku
This page is for locations in the Setagaya Ku area of Tokyo. This neighborhood is not part of my book Tokyo Stroll.
For information on Tokyo Stroll and this web supplement see Tokyo Stroll Supplement home page
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Setagaya ku (世田谷区)
Located in the south west part of the 23 ku area of Tokyo along the Tamagawa border. In the Edo Period this part of Tokyo was under the control of the Ii clan. The transformations brought about after the Great Kantō Earthquake changed Setagaya from a farming village to a suburb as the city rapidly expanded to the west as it rebuilt. Many artists settled in this area which is reflected in the number of museums. This ku was established as an ordinary ward of Tokyo city in 1932. In 1947 as part of the post war restructuring under the Local Autonomy Law the present administrative structure was established. The ward has five districts: Karasuyama, Kinuta, Kitazawa, Setagaya, and Tamagawa.
Cafe Melody (カフェ・メロディ)
This coffee shop has an Ultraman theme running through it. They are very family friendly and have a kid's space, diaper changing table, and a nursing room. It is also possible to reserve the entire cafe for gatherings or events. Food is mainly rice and pasta based dishes, the desert menu includes pancakes, various other items, and in the summer shaved ice. There is a separate kid's menu. There is a variety of hot and cold beverages. If you get a latte you will have an Ultraman character on the foam, they also have Ultraman images on their pancakes. The Ultraman Official shop SHOT M78, described below, on the ground floor is also part of the same business.
Carrot Tower (キャロットタワー)
Designed by the Ishimoto Architectural & Engineering Firm. The name was chosen from suggestions submitted by school children. Above ground there are 26 stories and there are 5 basement levels. The lower levels are shops, a gallery, and a theater. Upper levels are offices. Folks will want to check out the observation deck on the 26th floor. To get to the floor take one of the elevators marked 26F展望ロビー レストラン (26F Observation Lobby Restaurant). The north side give you a view of Shibuya, Tokyo Tower, and Skytree. On clear days you can see Fujisan from the south side. There is also a restaurant, Sky Carrot, on the 26th floor.
Chigo Daishi Mieidō (稚児大師御影堂)
This small wooden shrine contains a statue of Kūkai, the famous founder of the Shingon school of Buddhism, as a boy. It is located near Todoroki Fudōson and can be best approached by strolling through Todoroki Ravine Park. Next to Chigo Daishi Mieidō is the Fudō waterfall, which does not flow as strongly as it used to since the flow of water has changed as the area nearby became urban.
Food and Agriculture Museum / Shoku to nō no Hakubutsukan (食と農の博物館)
A two story museum located at the Tokyo University of Agriculture. The origins of the museum go back to 1904 when Tanaka Yoshio established a herbarium. Much of the original collection was destroyed during the firebombings of WWII and replaced by items gathered since then. The present building was designed by Kuma Kengo and finished in 2004. The permanent exhibits include some on the history of the Tokyo University of Agriculture, wood specimens from the forestry department, sake vessels, sake bottles from breweries run by graduates, a chicken taxidermy collection, a diorama of the interiors of a Kantō traditional farmhouse, agricultural tools and various artifacts.
There is also the Biorium, a greenhouse with live plants and animals that are mainly from Madagascar. Besides all of this there are special exhibits, some rotating seasonally, and the Petit Radish Cafe for light snacks, coffee, and fresh produce.
Nearest train stations: Kamimachi Station on the Setagaya Line. Yōga Station on the Tōkyū Den-en-toshi Line, and the Chitose-Funabashi Station on the Odawara Line. You will have to walk a ways or take a bus to get closer.
Golf Bridge / Golf-bashi (ゴルフ橋)
A small attractive bridge on a one lane street next to the entrance to the Todoroki Ravine Park and spanning the ravine. The railings are black but viewed from be low you see the bridge is bright red. The name comes from a golf course that once had been in the area around the beginning of the Shōwa Period.
Gotoh Museum of Art / Gotō Bijutsukan (五島美術館)
Founded by Gotō Keita chairman of the Tōkyū Corporation who was a collector of Asian art. Among other items he had the largest collection of ancient Buddhist sūtras in Japan. The collection consists mainly of Japanese and Chinese works including calligraphy, paintings, tea implements, ceramics, swords, and ancient mirrors. The museum was planned to house his collection. Prior to establishing the museum Gotō acquired the collection of Takanashi Nisaburō, including the Heian Period Illustrated Handscroll of The Tale of Genji, and the ancient mirrors collected by Moriya Kōzō. There are six or seven exhibitions each year, the museum has no permanent exhibition on display. The museum also sponsors lectures, classes, and tea parties. In 2011 the museum merged with the Dai-tōkyū Memorial Library, which had also been established by Gotō in 1949 with the purchase of several book collections. That library is only open to researchers, presents lectures, publishes books and a journal "Kagami''. There is also a garden which includes two tea rooms the Kokyōrō tea room built in the Meiji period and Fujimitei, designed by Gotō Keita. The tea rooms are not open to the public but are used for tea parties. The museum building was designed by Yoshida Isoya who was known for his combining traditional and modernist architecture. Gotō would pass away in 1959 never seeing the completed museum which opened a year later.
This temple was founded as a Rinzai Zen temple, in 1584 it became a Soto Zen temple. From the time of the daimyō Ii Naotaka (1590-1659) this was the family temple of the Ii family of Hikone Han. The graveyard includes many old graves from the Edo Period and a section for the Ii family which was designated as a national historic site in 2008. There are so many historic buildings and statues on the temple grounds that I will not describe them here, you can read about them on the temple's web site. The temple claims to be the birthplace of the maneki-neko (beckoning cat), and the temple has a huge amount of cat statues on the grounds and cats carved into some of the woodwork. Another famous contender is Imado Jinja in Asakusa, and that area has the earliest records of ceramic statues of the cat being sold. The temple is also famous for its flowering plants and autumn colors.
Hasegawa Machiko Art Museum / Hasegawa Machiko Bijutsukan (長谷川町子美術館)
A museum based on the private art collections of Hasegawa Machiko and her sister Mariko. Mariko had gone to the Kawabata Art School and was an apprentice to the famous painter Fujishima Takeji. Both of them began collecting art in the mid 1950s. Starting in the 1960s they often traveled outside Japan and added to their collections from trips to other parts pf Asia and Europe. For this reason the collection is very international. In 1985 the sisters opened the museum to display their collections. Hasegawa Machiko passed away in 1992, the collections continued to be added to until 2012 when Mariko passed away.
Kinuta Park / Kinuta Kōen (砧公園)
This park was planned in 1935 for the 2,600th anniversary of Emperor Jimmu's legendary founding of Japan in 1940. Various international events, such as war, delayed the opening of the park and in 1957 it opened as a public golf course. The golf course was later converted into the park we have today, this account for the large lawns found in the park. The park has several species of cherry blossoms including somei yoshino, yamazakura, and yaezakura. This variety results in a longer hanami viewing season. The Yatogawa runs north to south through part of the park. Such a large park also includes a bird sanctuary with observing slots, a soccer field, baseball diamonds, children's playgrounds, a cycling course that between 9 am and 4 pm is also a walking course, as well as the Setagaya Art Museum. To the west is the Okura Sports Center which has tennis courts, a basketball court, an indoor swimming pool, a baseball diamond, and of course there is a driving range for golfers.
Kitami Friendship Square / Kitami fureai hiroba (きたみふれあい広場)
An example of creative use of space, a rooftop park built over a Odakyū railway train facility. The park has a play ground, pond, a variety of trees, and strolling paths. On clear days you can see Mt. Fuji. As this park is on top of a large building you need to use stairs or ramps to enter it. On the west side it is accessible by ramp near the south end and by stairs near the middle. The north end has both stairs and a ramp. The east side has stairs not far from the Shinmei Bridge. The park is next to the Nogawa river, the river area also has a greenbelt with strolling paths
Kitazawa Hachiman-jinja (北澤八幡神社)
This large Shintō shrine dates from the Bunmei era (1469-1484), founded by Kira Yoshiyasu, and is the guardian shrine for northern Setagaya. The enshrined kami are: Emperor Ōjin, Hime Ōkami, Empress Jingū, and Emperor Nintoku. The grounds include other shrines, a kagura stage, and other structures. The main entrance is to the south.
Komazawa University Museum of Zen Culture & History / Komazawa Daigaku zen bunka rekishi hakubutsukan (駒澤大学禅文化歴史博物館) and Kōunkan Hall (耕雲館)
This entry actually covers both the museum and the building it is located in.
Komazawa Water Towers / Komazawa kyūsuijo haisui-tō (駒沢給水所配水塔)
Two water storage towers in the Komazawa Water Supply Station which were built in 1924 to hold water from the Kinutashimo Water Purification Plant. The towers are made of reinforced concrete and were designed by Nakajima Eiji, a major figure in designing modern waterworks in Japan. The towers and their pump station were designated as a Japan Society of Civil Engineers Heritage Site in 2012.
Machiko Hasegawa Memorial Hall / Hasegawa Machiko Kinen-kan (長谷川町子記念館)
A museum opened in 2020 and devoted to the life and works of Hasegawa Machiko. The first floor is devoted to her works, the second floor to her life. Special exhibitions and events take place throughout the year.
Noge Ōtsuka Kofun (野毛大塚古墳)
A 5th century kofun located in Tamagawa Nogemachi Park. This kofun is of the zenpōkōenfun, " mollusk-shell shaped," type which combines circular and square mounds. The circular portion is in three tiers, 11 meters tall and 67 meters in diameter and the sides were covered in stone. Some of the oldest haniwa found in the Kantō were unearthed here. Four bodies were buried in the top portion with grave goods that included steatite models of ritual items, armor, stone tools,, jewelry, and mirrors. At one side there is a tsukuridashi, a type of platform believed to have been used for rituals. A moat surrounds part of Noge Ōtsuka Kofun. The Kaminoge and the Oyamadai districts of Setagaya-ku has a cluster of kofun known as the Noge Tumulus Cluster, this one is the largest.
Oyasumidokoro Setsugekka (お休み処 雪月花)
A small shop selling beverages and traditional sweets, on weekends and holidays that include kuzumochi. In the summer they also sell tokoroten, shaved ice, and other cold snacks. Seating is available indoors and out. Located at the south end of the trail through Todoroki Ravine Park near Chigo Daishi Mieidō.
A Tendai Buddhist temple founded in the early 19th century. Saishōji is also called Meao Fudō (Blue Eyed Fudō). It is one of the Goshiki Fudō, five-colored Fudō temples. The grounds have many trees and a large cemetery. Just to the north is the tree lined Shōin-Taishidō walk, turn left and after around a half mile it will take you to Shōin Jinja, the walk is longer than that so yo;u may want to explore.
Sakura-shinmachi Sazae-san Statues / Sakura-shinmachi Sazae-san-zō (桜新町サザエさん像)
Sazae-san was a 4 panel newspaper manga series that ran from 1946 to 1979, was adapted into live action movies and TV shows as well as an anime which started airing in 1969. The anime is still running making it the longest running animation series in the world. Hasegawa Machiko, the creator of Sazae-san lived in the Sakura-shinmachi area of Setagaya which is why the statues are there. One group is north of the Sakura-shimmachi Station, the rest in locations south of the station close to the Hasegawa Machiko Memorial Museum of Art on Sazae-san Dōri.
Setagaya Art Museum / Setagaya Bijutsukan (世田谷美術館)The Setagaya Art Museum opened in 1986 in Kinuta Park and was designed by Uchii Shōzō. The museum has a permanent collection with a large number of photographs with hundreds by Kuwabara Kineo and Morooka Kōji. The focus of the permanent collection is contemporary and modern art with an emphasis on works by artists related to Setagaya, naive and outsider works. The museum hosts regular special exhibitions each year. It also has a restaurant and a café.
Nearest train stations: Yōga Station (Tōkyū Den'en-toshi Line) is closest, then Chitose-Funabashi Station (Odakyū Odawara Line) which is further away
Annexes: The Setagaya Art Museum also has three annexes within Setagaya Ward each established in the former studio of the artist they focus on:
1. In Tsurumaki there is the Mukai Junkichi Atelier Museum (向井潤吉アトリエ館), established in 1993.
Nearest train station: Komazawa-daigaku Station (Tōkyū Den'en-toshi Line).
2. In Seijō there is the Kiyokawa Taiji Memorial Gallery (分館 清川泰次記念ギャラリー), established in 2003.
Nearest train station: Seijogakuen-mae Station (Odakyu Odawara Line).
3. In Okusawa there is the Miyamoto Saburō Memorial Gallery (宮本三郎記念美術館), established in 2004.
Nearest train station: Jiyūgaoka Station (Tōyoko Line and the Ōimachi Line).
Setagaya Daikan's Residence / Setagaya Daikan yashiki (世田谷代官屋敷)
This house was built in the middle of the Edo Period as the residence for the Oba family who were the daikan, local magistrates, of the 20 Setagaya area villages for the Ii clan of Hakone. The building and its gate were been restored to the style of when it was in use. The two structures are among the few thatched roofed buildings that remain in Tokyo. The residence was designated as a historical site by the Setagaya government in 1952 and an important cultural property by the Japanese government in 1978.
Setagaya Local History Museum / Setagaya kuritsu kyōdo shiryōkan (世田谷区立郷土資料館)
This museum opened in 1964 and was greatly enlarged in 1987, Maekawa Kunio designed the main building. The museum has artifacts going back to the Jōmon and Kofun Periods up to the present day. Exhibits include models of buildings and dioramas, one of which is a model of the large Noge Ōtsuka Kofun. Special exhibits are done in the fall.
A laid back neighborhood, sometimes called "Shimokita," popular with the young, the trendy, and hipsters. Don't let that discourage you there is a variety to enjoy here with lots of independently owned businesses including restaurants, plenty of vinyl record shops, vintage clothing shops, bookstores, and more. Take your time exploring the various shops in the maze of streets, you will be rewarded. Do be aware that many of the shops open late so plan to be there in the afternoon. Also be aware that the shops are found both north and south of the station. One detail that is interesting here is that the train tracks for the Odakyū Line that services the area were moved underground, an expansive process that freed up miles very valuable real-estate for development and brought in profits for the rail line.
Shōin Shrine / Shōin Jinja (松陰神社)
Founded in 1896 to enshrine the 19th century scholar and activist Yoshida Shōin. The current shrine building dates from 1927. Shōin's family were hereditary instructors to the daimyō of Chōshū han, after a period of intense training he started presenting lectures to Mōri Takachika, the daimyō, at the age of 11. In his early 20s he was allowed to travel and study anywhere he wanted to. Shōin was in Edo when Perry's ships arrived and he attempted to sneak onboard so he could study abroad. He was arrested for this attempt and sent back to Chōshū han. There he opened a private school and became involved in the revolutionary sonnō jōi movement. After a role in a failed attempt to assassinate a government official in Kyoto he was again imprisoned, sent to Edo and executed at the age of 29. Four years later he was reburied in this location in a graveyard which soon also contains the remains of other pro imperial activists. Many of his students became important figures in the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shōgunate. One, Itō Hirobumi, became Japan's first prime minister. The grounds also include a statue of him and a replica of the Matsushita Village School where he taught.
Shōkokan Military Medicine Historical Museum (NNN)
This museum is devoted to military medicine mainly from the Meiji Period to recent times. The items include drawings of sword wounds from the 1876 Shinpūren rebellion in Kyūshū. The drawings were done to document the damage inflicted by a weapon that was falling out of use. There is a variety of medical equipment on display, portraits, photographs of wounds, and more. There is also information on hospitals which included not only military one but also from the Red Cross, and disaster relief centers.
There are also photographs of Russo-Japanese War POWS in the Narashino Prisoner of War Camp which was located in Chiba Prefecture. One of the most unusual items is a type of prosthetic hand that would allow one to hold a cigarette, this design was proposed by General Nogi Maresuke for veterans who had lost both hands.
Suzuran Dōri (すずらん通り)
The block east of the Carrot Tower has this alley running north to south filled with izakaya and small shops. The two entrances are marked with a gateway that has a yellow and read striped sign, there is a kōban at the south entrance.
Taishidō Hachiman Jinja (太子堂八幡神社)
A large Shintō shrine to Hachiman established in the late Heian Period. The grounds include a great many trees, a small park is near the main entrance with a playground and benches.
Todoroki Fudōson (等々力不動尊)
A Shingon Buddhist temple founded in the late Heian Period. It is said the temple was founded by either Kakuban or Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) after he had a dream telling him to establish a temple here. In 1470 the dilapidated temple was restored. Todoroki Fudōson is known for its foliage and flowers as well as for being a cool location to take refuge from the summer heat due to the proximity of the Todoroki Ravine. The grounds include a platform overlooking the ravine.
Todoroki Ravine Park / Todoroki Keikoku Kōen (等々力渓谷公園)
NOTE: The park is temporarily closed stating in July 2023 due to the danger of falling trees. The trees have to be removed by hand, a process which may take years.
Todoroki Ravine Third Tunnel Tomb / Todoroki keikoku 3-gō yokoana (等々力渓谷3号横穴)
A tunnel tomb also known as the Todoroki Ravine Third Tumulus is in Todoroki Ravine Park. While you can reach it by narrow walkways through the neighborhood to the east it is easiest to find via the trail from the Todoroki Ravine path that leads up to it from a small bridge. There is also a restroom on that same trail. There have been six of these tombs found in the walls of the Todoroki Ravine. This one which was discovered in good condition in in 1973 has been preserved for viewing. Human remains and various grave goods were recovered from it. The tomb is about 13 meters deep and given the quantity of grave goods found here the persons buried here were of high status.
Toho Studios (東宝スタジオ)
The interesting part of this location is on the west side of the Sengawa river, the east side is mainly rather plain large buildings behind walls and fences. While you cannot enter the studio buildings you can still stroll around outside. There you will find murals of the Seven Samurai and at one entrance one of Gojira (Godzilla) as well as a statue.
Ultraman Official shop SHOT M78 / SHOT M 78 Ultraman Shōten-gai-ten (SHOT M78 ウルトラマン商店街店)
Part of Cafe Melody and located on the ground floor with a direct street entrance. This shop has a large variety of Ultraman related goods. Toys, apparel, dishware, and even goods limited just to the Ultraman Shopping Street area.
Ultraman Shopping Street / Ultraman Shōten Machi (ウルトラマン商店街)
A shopping area named after the popular Ultraman TV series that started broadcasting in 1966. Why this location for an Ultraman theme? At the time the street was set up Tsuburaya Productions, the studio that produces Ultraman, was nearby. The Ultraman Shopping Street was founded in 2005 as a shared name for three local shopping streets on both sides of Soshigaya Ōkura Station on the Odakyū Line. The three streets are Soshigaya Shopping Street, the Sancha Soshigaya Minami Shopping Street, and the Soshigaya Shoshinkai Shopping Street. The neighborhood has four statues, three of which depict Ultraman flying at the top of an archlike gate, and several manhole covers. The stand alone statues include Ultraman north of the station, Kanegon north west of the station. There are three gated arches at the furthest ends of the shopping streets away from the station, each with a flying Ultraman character. They are Zoffy [aka "Sophie"] flying over the street not far from the Kanegon statue, some ways away south of the station you will find the Ultraman Jack (Return of Ultraman) Gate, and the last Ultraman Gate is on Soshigaya Shopping Street near Chitose Dōri North of the station. South of the station you will also find the manhole covers, they are: Yellow for Antler, Orange for Kanegon, Red for Ultraman, Green for Ultraseven, and Blue for the alien Baltan, I have not bookmarked this last one as I was not able to verify its location. unable to verify location. There are also various other items with an Ultraman motifs, one example is some of the street lights in the area on either side of the shopping streets. Soshigaya Ōkura Station also has an information board with various information that may be worth checking out.
Created October 25. 2023 | Content last updated January 20 , 2024