I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Toden Arakawa Line

On the morning of Saturday November 4th, the first full day of my trip, I was to meet a couple of old colleagues for lunch down in Shin-Okubo's Koreantown. With my jet lag, it was no problem to get things started early and after breakfast, I opted to take the Toden Arakawa(都電荒川線)tram line, a transportation route that I had always wanted to try but never could during my 17 years' residency in Japan.

According to Wikipedia, it's also known in English as the Tokyo Sakura Tram and is the sole surviving line of a once-extensive streetcar system in Tokyo back in the early part of the 20th century. And it just so happened that Otsuka was one of the stops on the Toden Arakawa. Therefore, I took the opportunity to take the line down to the terminus of Waseda and then walk it over to nearby Takadanobaba before taking the Yamanote Line to Shin-Okubo.

I wish I could have taken some pics inside the tram itself but it was surprisingly crowded on the way to Waseda and I didn't want to risk someone's wrath if he/she ended up in the shot. The ride lasted about 10 minutes and reminded me of my trip on the Enoden line when I was in Kanagawa Prefecture back in 2014. The Toden Arakawa seemed to tunnel its way through neighbourhoods since the houses were so close to the tracks.

The exteriors of the tram have different designs, most of them being very retro, although the interior isn't too different from those of the usual JR trains and subways. Even so, the ride down to Waseda felt quite down-home and neighbourly as if just heading down to the local market.

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