Shibamata (柴又) is a temple town located in Katsushika Ward a 30-minute train ride from Ueno. Among Japanese, it is known as the setting for the film series otoko wa tsurai yo (“It’s Tough Being a Man”), 48 installments of which were made between the late 1960s and the mid-1990s. The premise of all the films was essentially the same: the main character, Kuruma Torajiro (or Tora-san, as he’s affectionately known), a traveling salesman, returns to his hometown of Shibamata. At some point, he falls in love with the female lead (his “Madonna”) only to face rejection when she ends up with another man, at which point he heads off on his travels again all the time yearning to return home to Shibamata. Indeed, Shibamata was chosen as Tora-san’s hometown precisely because it evokes a sort of salt-of-the-earth sense of homeliness to which many Japanese—no matter where they are from—can relate.

The statue of Torasan outside the station.

The bronze statue of Tora-san is the first thing visitors to Shibamata will see when they come out of the station ticket gates. There will always be a group of Japanese tourists having their picture taken next to it. Even if the film series doesn’t mean anything to you, it is an obligatory photograph you’ll need to proudly state, “I’ve been to Shibamata”

Taishakuten Daikyoji Temple

The main attraction, however, is the shopping street—a 200-meter long pedestrian walkway lined either side with soba and tempura restaurants, gift shops, and stalls selling Japanese sweets and local delicacies. At the end of the street is Taishakuten Daikyoji Temple, the main Buddhist temple in the area and one of the most delightful in Tokyo.

Hidden down its backstreets are numerous smaller temples, as well as Yamamoto-tei, a former residence of a local businessman and superb example of Japanese sukiya-zukuri architecture. There is also Tora-san Museum, a small building dedicated to the film series and its director, Yoji Yamada.

Information
Location
Shibamata, Katsushika City, Tokyo 125-0052
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Getting there
From Asakusa Station take the Asakusa Line (from Oshiage this becomes the Keisei Main Line—no need to change). Change at Keisei-Takasago Station to the Keisei-Kanamachi Line. Shibamata Station is the next stop.
Key Attractions

Taishakuten Daikyoji Temple

Shibamata’s most famous temple with a small Japanese garden and wooden carvings.
Entrance to the temple grounds is free, but there is a ¥400 charge to see the Japanese garden and wood carvings.

Tora-san Museum

A museum dedicated to the otoko wa tsurai yo (“It’s Tough Being a Man”) film series.
9:00-17:00. Closed on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
Adults ¥500, students ¥300

Yagiri no Watashi

River crossing service for the Edogawa River. The service has continued since the early days of the Edo period, and is the only traditional crossing point remaining in the capital. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to see on the other side, but you could cross over by boat and return the long way over one of the bridges.
10:00-16:00
Adults ¥200, children ¥100 (one-way)

Yamamoto-tei

Former home of a businessman and a superb example of sukiya-zukuri architecture.
9:00-17:00. Closed on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
Adults ¥400. Under 16s free.
Events & Festivals in the Area

Katsushika Fireworks Festival

Oct 5 / 6:30 PM7:30 PM
website builder Another enjoyable fireworks event (officially called Katsushika Noryo Hanabi Taikai) along the Edogawa River which sees…
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