Waterfront Tokyo

Boats in the Shinagawa canals near Tokyo Bay

One forgets that Tokyo is on the water. The metropolitan area is massive and every trip I make I get to know a different part of it. This time I explored the area around Shinagawa station. Shinagawa is one of the major train stops in the huge spider web of train lines that makes up the network. We had dinner on one of the canals that comes in from Tokyo bay. It was odd to see big fishing boats close to big buildings. It reminded me a bit of London and the Thames River.

My morning run

Most of Shinagawa is reclaimed land and has been occupied since the Edo period. Today it is the home of hotels, embassies, office buildings and home to close to 400,000 people. You can feel the density with the many apartment buildings. It is very pleasant along the water and the best example I have seen in Japan about developing the waterfront. In the US and Europe, property along the water is looked at as desirable they are often packed with expensive housing, restaurants, bars, and usually have a walking/biking trail. Japan on the other hand, does not view waterfront property like that. Most coastline real estate is not residential. It is just not in their culture to desire living or being on the water as much as in other countries. That is odd for an island. I think it that it dates back to the Shikoku period, when for over 200 years, citizens were not allowed to leave Japan.

Shinagawa has a nice paved path that made for a pleasant run this morning. I spotted black-headed gulls, cormorants and spot-billed ducks in the pretty clean water. At least it didn’t smell or look polluted.

The view from the TY Harbor restaurant

Alas, I didn’t have enough time to explore the area more because of work, but it did give me a glimpse of another part of the biggest city in the world. I recommend a night out on the water. We had the head of school dinner at TY Harbor restaurant. The food was decent and the craft beers delicious. It also had a bustling atmosphere and different from Osaka, lots of foreigners. I hope to get back again.

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