Between Kanda Station and Tokyo Station, there is an antiquated dining district which has escaped development. This food street, called “Imagawa Koji” (今川小路), is located under the elevated railway of JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, Yamanote Line, Chuo Line and the Shinkansen Lines.
Kanda Station, next to Tokyo Station, is convenient and crowded with office workers. When you get out of the east exit of Kanda Station and walk 3 minutes (about 300 meters), you can step into a dingy and chaotic alley under the railway.
There are a lot of ramshackle buildings under the elevated railway bridge called “Shirahatabashi Kadoukyo”. This food street is still open and an oasis for office workers when they finish working. It is said that there were about 16 shops during its peak, but nowadays there are only a few taverns.
The first floor of buildings are taverns and the second floor are residential home. When people were very poor and miserable after WWII, the food stalls used for shelter from rain became a food street spontaneously. These are remnants of a shanty town after WWII.
They occupied burn ruins illegally at first. Nowadays East Japan Railway Company (JR) has most of the land and lends it to people who live in and own shops. On some nameplates, Korean names are written. There are some Zainishi Koreans (在日韓国人, permanent ethnic Korean residents of Japan) living in this area.
Some buildings were demolished because of constructions of new train routes, but some still remain unchanged. They are antiquated and nostalgic, so this area is also used as the settings of TV dramas in Japan, for example “Amachan”.
Under the elevated railway, you can feel an atmosphere in which people lived their lives desperately after WWII. While there are many new spots and developed buildings, old Japanese buildings remain like time capsules.
[How to go] a ３ minute walk from JR Kanda Station
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