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Updated on March 15, 2019

A Perfect Day in Tokyo

Magome Bunshi Mura / Ikegami Baien (Ota-ku)
Lured by the Literature and the Scent of Flowering Plum Trees

Photo of reliefs
Reliefs of the Magome Bunshi Mura residents

From the late Taisho era to the early Showa era, a great number of writers and artists took up residence in the quiet neighborhood of Sanno and Magome stretching out on the west side of JR Omori Station.
Leading literary giants and artists of this period such as Shiro Ozaki, Chiyo Uno, Yasunari Kawabata, Hanako Muraoka, and Ryushi Kawabata settled down and socialized in the “Magome Bunshi Mura (Village),” as the place was called. Even today, signs of their past lives can be found all over this neighborhood.
From the west exit of Omori Station, head toward Hakkei Tenso Shrine and along the wall at the base of the stone stairway, find a distinctive relief engraved with faces of famous writers and others who once lived in this area. You will also see reliefs depicting the fashion of the so-called “modern girls,” a dance party, and others scenes, conveying the lifestyles of these avant-garde cultural figures.

 

The local tourist association offers two kinds of literary walking trails: the north route, which includes the “Shiro Ozaki Memorial Hall,” and the south route, which includes the “Ryushi Museum” that exhibits the works of Ryushi Kawabata, the master of Japanese-style painting. Both courses can be covered in two to three hours. Signages erected at the former sites of their homes provide interesting anecdotes about them.
After enjoying the walk, go to Ikegami Baien (Plum Tree Garden). For two months from early January (wintersweet) to the beginning of March (Yae Ageha), 370 plum trees planted on the hilly slopes of the garden enchant visitors with their blooms and soft fragrance.
A community loved by the literary legends and artists—come and trace their memories while finding the hints of spring.

[Ota Tourist Association]
Phone: 03-3734-0202. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays. 3-minute walk from Keikyu Kamata Station on the Keikyu Line.

[Ikegami Baien]
Phone: 03-3753-1658. Open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Last entry is 4:00 p.m.) 10-minute walk from Nishi-magome Station on the Toei Asakusa Line. Open everyday in February and March (for other months, closed on Mondays (when Monday falls on a national holiday, Tuesday will be closed) and during the year-end and New Year holidays. Adults: 100 yen; children: 20 yen; and seniors aged 65 and over and children under age 6: free.

Photo of Ikegami Baien
Colorful plum trees of Ikegami Baien
Photo courtesy of Ota-ku

 

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