Tag Archives: Arts & Crafts

Akiruno, Akigawa and Itsukaichi

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Ninomiya Shrine
This shrine was established over 800 years ago and was first used by farmers to pray for good weather and to give thanks for a good harvest. Today it is used primarily by resident merchants in the surrounding community. It is also known for its Ginger Festival on September 9 (go to in the festival section for more information).
DIRECTIONS:From Fussa Station, take a train toward Tachikawa but get off at Haijima, a four-minute ride. Transfer to the Itsukaichi Line. Ride another seven minutes and get off at Higashi-Akiru Station. The shrine is a four-minute walk from here. Need walking direction from station.

Ninomiya Shrine Museum

Thirteen thousand years ago people settled the area now known as Akigawa City and this area has been inhabited ever since. The fertile triangle created by the confluence of the Hirai and Aki rivers with the Tama river, a ten minute drive from Yokota, has yielded many archaeological finds from the Paleolithic Era to modern times. A sample of these artifacts is available for viewing at the Ninomiya Shrine Museum. The museum, opened in 1990, is located on the grounds of the Ninomiya Shrine and is open Friday – Sunday from 10am to 4pm. To find the museum, follow the path around the right side of the shrine through an area of smaller monuments including a red torii gate. The museum is divided into three areas. The doors open into a central room where visitors are greeted and literature displayed. Maps on the wall, although annotated in Japanese only, will give you an idea of the areas where artifacts have been excavated. Proceed from this room to the display room on the right. The display room is set up to be viewed from the left where a model of a Jomon period (10,000 BC to 300 BC) hunter-gatherer dwelling is displayed. If you have visited American Indian museums, you may see a similarity to the dwellings and life-styles of prehistoric Eastern American Indians. The third large section of the museum is a working archaeological lab where pot shards and other finds are painstakingly pieced together under the guidance of Masanori Narusako Sensei. This area is not open to visitors. While at the museum, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Exploring Akigawa City. This map is written in English and shows hiking trails, shrines, archaeological digs and other points of interest in the area.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate and then turn right at the first light. You are now on Tamabashi Dori, which changes to Itsukaichi-Kaido after you cross the Tama River Bridge (2km from the Fussa Gate). Just after you cross the river, the road doglegs to the left, then to the right. The second light after the doglegs will be labeled Route 168 to “Ninomiyajinja.” Go straight, but slow WAY down, because you will be turning into the first tiny street past the light. It looks almost like a driveway. Go up the hill and park at the end of the street in the lot in front of the torii gates. The museum is on the left of the torii gates. The shrine is through the torii gates in front of you. This is only about a 15-minute drive. Marja A. Weaver, date?

–Cross-ref Tsuru Tsuru Onsen

Akigawa River
If you like to paddle in a rocky stream, float along in a rented boat or on an inner tube, or just people watch, consider the Akigawa River. It is about 25 minutes from Yokota. The most famous spot in Akigawa is Summerland, but upstream from there you will find access to the river and even some fishing spots.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate onto Highway 16. Set odometer to zero. Go to the first signal light and turn right. This road is marked “Tamabashi Dori.” Go through Fussa, across two sets of tracks. The road will go downhill and cross the Tama River. Keep to the main road as it bends going up a hill. You will come out on level ground on the other side of the river and then the road will be “Itsukaichi Kaido.” Fresh farm produce is sold along this road in the summer. At 5.1km you will come to a light with the sign, “Akigawa Shiyakusho.” Keep going straight. The light at 5.5km is the turn for Summerland (the cross street is Rt. 411, so you would take a left if going to Summerland). Keep straight for Akigawa. You are getting into the country now and can see the mountains. The road will widen at 7.8km and there will be a map of the district on the roadside at 8km. From now on, you can turn left down almost any side road and reach the river. The light at 8.8km marks the left turn that will take you to a private beach. On a near right corner, up high, there is a large pink, red and white sign with a flower on it and an arrow pointing to Ozawa, a nearby store. The name under the light there is Yamada. Turn left here and follow the road downhill and across the Akigawa River. Just across the bridge on the left is a little shop/restaurant through which you have to pass to get to the beach. You can park up the hill to the right for a fee. (¥500). The little shop “Sansuiso” sells drinks and snacks but no western food. The shop is open year round, except rainy days 8am-5pm. There is a small entrance fee. You can also rent a “teppan” (large griddle for outdoor cooking) and buy charcoal. There are old toilets and running water. You can also rent small rowboats. Mosquitoes are bad in this area in the summer season so be sure to bring insect repellent. Claire Scriba, date?

Fishing in Akigawa
Even trout fisherman can find a way to ply their sport while they are in Japan. The nearest fishing hole is the Akigawa River, which is full of rainbow trout. The Japanese government owns all the streams and landowners along the way can open their portion to fisherman. They raise trout and release them into the stream, usually between 9am and 1pm. Fish of different sizes can be caught and some are pretty big. You can fish all day for about ¥3000 and there is a 10 fish limit. The fee does not include equipment but you can rent a bamboo pole for about ¥300. You can buy bait for about ¥400. Outdoor Recreation offers fishing equipment rental and they can provide you with the current laws regarding fishing and other useful information. Sunday is the busiest day because the Japanese are off work, so going on a week day would be best. With the exception of the fly fishing area, the trout camps are open year round.
DIRECTIONS: Go out the Supply Gate and go straight. You will cross over 2 sets of railroad tracks. At 1.4km, turn right onto Denen-Dori. There will be a large, four-corner pedestrian overpass at this intersection. Go 1.3km to the “T” intersection and turn left. Go 2.6km and at the top of the hill, turn right. When you come to a fork in the road, bear right. Go about half km to the light. There is a gas station on your left. Go straight through the intersection. Follow the road about 5km and you will come to another “T” intersection; turn left. After about 2km you will cross railroad tracks. Shortly after that, you will see a big sign, in English, for the “Akigawa Trout Fishing Camp.” Keep to the right. About 2km after the sign, you will come to a light; turn right. You will soon see the big Welcome sign to Akigawa. Sondra Halweg and Rosandra Corea, date?

Shopping/retail

Akiruno Rupia & Tokyu
The Akiruno Rupia is a small mall next to the Tokyu Department Store in Akigawa. It contains gift shops, boutiques, and restaurants, including the sandwich chain Subway. On the second floor is a covered walkway to the four-story Tokyu next door. Tokyu has a supermarket section with a bakery nearby on the ground floor. There are also cosmetics, accessories, handbags, and shoe sections surrounding an open area with benches. Mens’ and Ladies’ wear are on the second floor with children’s clothing, housewares, furniture, and appliances on the third floor.
DIRECTIONS: Go left out the Fussa Gate and turn right at the next light. Cross two railroad tracks, pass a 7-11 store on the left, and cross two bridges. You’ll be on the road to Itsukaichi. As you cross the river, there’s a sign for Honda. Hours: 10am-8pm, closed Wednesdays. Telephone: 042-550-0109/Tokyu

Akigawa Farmers Center

Restaurants

Haijima – Bamboo House
Owners Sue and Tatsuaki Ichikawa have been serving homemade noodles at this location for twenty years. The building is spacious, with four seating areas holding approximately 50 customers. One section has tables and chairs (for 14 customers); the other three raised tatami sections have cushions and low tables. Although English isn’t spoken, Americans are warmly welcomed and the menu is in both Japanese and English. Although udon and soba noodles (served hot or cold) are the specialty of the house, tempura and rice dishes are also available. Meal prices range from ¥650 to ¥1000 for either lunch or dinner. Because there are only two parking spaces at the restaurant and the street is narrow and filled with parked bicycles, driving is not recommended.
DIRECTIONS: Take the Itsukaichi Line from Platform 1 at Haijima Station two stops to Higashiakiru. It’s a four-minute ride and costs ¥l50. As you exit the Higashiakiru Station, turn left over the tracks (past lots of bicycles). It is the second building on your left. Hours: 11am-3pm, Tuesday through Friday, 11am-8pm on Saturday and Sunday, and closed on Monday. Telephone? Sally Mayberry, date?

Hinohara – Black Tea House
The Black Tea House, or Kurochaya, about a 40 minute (13km) drive from Yokota on Itsukaichi Kaido, is a wonderful restaurant of traditional construction next to a river among bamboo groves. It’s where you may want to take visitors from abroad if they cannot visit Kyoto or Nikko (there’s lots of tatami, wood, and sliding doors). Although the meals are expensive, they seem worth it and you get plenty of food (some of it just for the brave). Multi-course meals of barbecue-it-yourself beef or chicken plus in-season vegetables were offered for ¥4,500 to ¥7,500 at lunch time. Plum brandy is included in the meal along with fruit and a sweet. Arrive early enough to roam the grounds and enjoy the gazebo, waterwheel, river and trees. Once inside, each party has a private room with a deck-like balcony, overlooking the beautiful surroundings. Reservations in English are accepted.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate, then right at the first light. Go over the river and past Route 411 (Akikawa Kaido) toward Hinohara. About 2km after the Itsukaichi Station sign, past the police station on the right, turn left at the Ko-Nakano intersection (gas station on right). The restaurant is down the “block” on the left (the main parking lot is down through a steep and narrow ramp. You may also park back in the corner lot, on the right). Hours: 11am-8pm except Tuesdays and Japanese holidays. Telephone: format?96-0129. Karen Ozment, Teresa K. Negley, date?

Tachikawa Shopping

Books Orion (English books)

Books Orion in Tachikawa is the closest bookstore that regularly stocks English books, including useful reference books for those living in Japan and children’s books. Pick up a complete JR East train map for ¥250,  or a an extensive Japanese phrasebook. To get there, take the train to Tachikawa Station. Exit the East Gate turnstiles and turn right, toward Lumine, then go out the North Exit. You will now be on an elevated plaza. Stay on the elevated walkway and go slight left toward Isetan department store. When you reach the building, turn left, walk to the corner of the building and turn right, keeping Isetan on your right. As you walk under the monorail track, you will see HMV Music ahead and to the left. Enter HMV Music from the elevated walk and go straight up the escalator into Books Orion. The English section is to the right as you get off the escalator. 10am-9pm every day but Jan. 1. Tel. 0425-221-1231. Liz Ruskin 2010

Grand Duo Mall

Grand Duo Mall is located inside the Tachikawa train station, and offers a variety of shops. Eddie Bauer is just one of the western brand stores available. The sixth floor is primarily restaurants – Indian, Italian, Japanese and an ice cream shop with, among other concoctions, green-tea soft-serve. The seventh floor is considered a local Chinatown with many Chinese restaurants. The eighth floor has beauty care shops, including two hair salons, an herbal shop and a hair supply shop.

If you choose to drive instead of taking the train, pay parking is available at other larger shops near the station, including under Takashimaya department store and at Lumine just past the train station’s North Exit (see the “Tachikawa Shopping” section for more precise directions). If you purchase a minimum amount (including meals at the restaurants within the building), parking is free for the first two hours. Takashimaya charges ¥500/hour unless you buy at least ¥5000 of merchandise.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: It obviously easier to take the train, but if you need to drive, start at the East Gate. Turn left onto Itsukaichi Kaido. Stay on Itsukaichi Kaido until the light with the Yakiniku All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant on the far right corner (the turn for American Village) then turn right. Turn left at the second light (convenience store on the left.) Turn right at the next large intersection and pass Tachikawa Air Base and the main entrance to Showa Memorial Park. At the next large intersection, the sharp left will lead you to Takashimaya while the angled left will lead you to the North Exit of Tachikawa Train station. The drive time is 20-40 minutes depending on traffic. Shannon Edwards, 2000

Takashimaya Department Store

Located on the second floor of this emporium is a small Disney store with stuffed animals, kitchen items, baby goods, key chains, etc. While there, ride the escalators to all of the floors. There are specialty sections including items by Ralph Lauren, Mikimoto pearls, and famous French designers. Also found are hats, stationery, stereo equipment, clocks, wedding dresses, kimonos, optical goods, and home furnishings as well as a food court on the top two floors. Takashimaya is next to Cinema City.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station, ride the train seven stops to Tachikawa. Take the North Exit, then proceed down the stairs on the left. Cross the street and walk directly away from the station. Go down the alley next to Klimt Coffee Shop (pink awnings). Continue on straight and when you see the Inoue Building, continue past it to the large road. Takashimaya will be across the street in front of you on the left. See map on opposite page. Hours: 10:00 am – 6:30pm. Telephone? Karen Ozment, date?

Daiei

This is a chain of discount stores, supermarkets and burger bars. Resembling a vertical K-Mart, the merchandise includes chinaware, rugs, clothing, toys, sporting and electrical equipment. Personally, I find the nearby 100 Yen shops more fun.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Ride the train to Tachikawa station and take the North Exit out to the street below. Walk down the main street away from the station to the next big intersection. Turn right onto Midorikawa Dor. Daiei is in the middle of the block on the left-hand side. Hours? Telephone? Liz Ruskin 2010

100 Yen Store

Magnets and thumbtacks in every shade of cute, plus kitchen gadgets, hardware, garden supplies and fun miscellany. You know the drill: Everything is ¥100 (plus tax) unless otherwise marked.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station on the North Exit, go straight across the plaza and down to street level. Pass Bic Camera. Before you get to the next big intersection, you’ll see a store called From Chubu. The ¥100 Store is in the basement.

Lumine Department Store

Lumine is a collection of boutiques and restaurants. This is a store for window shoppers arranged in standard Japanese department store fashion, with a basement supermarket. The first floor has a large gift food area. On the upper levels are two floors of variously priced restaurants. Besides food, there is an art supply area, a florist, myriad clothing sections, an art gallery, electronics, books, toys and specialty items.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station, take the Ome Line to Tachikawa. Turn right as you exit Tachikawa’s train ticket gates and you’ll see Lumine from inside the Tachikawa Station. Hours? Telephone?

Rachel Keyser-McClendon, date?

Bic Camera

Six floors of gadgetry and appliances. If it needs batteries or bulbs, it’s probably here. Along with the batteries. It’s like a mini-Akihabara. And, to feed your more feminine side, the 7th and 8th floors are a massive craft shop, Yuzawaya. One floor is devoted to fabric and the sewing arts. The 8th has yarn, paints, office supplies and an excellent collection of beads, included Miyuki Delica. 12-2 Akebono-cho 2-chome, Tachikawa, Tokyo 〒 190-0012 . Tel. 042-548-1111.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station by the north entrance and keep going straight. Go to street level, keeping your back to the station, and you’ll see Bic Camera on the left side of the street. Liz Ruskin 2010.

Kikuya

This kitchen store has a good selection of dishes and lacquerware and seems to have a perpetual sidewalk sale with some good deals.  Cute sauce dishes for ¥100. Giant ramen dishes and snappy bento boxes for ¥600. Indigo shibori (Japanese tie-dye) aprons for ¥980.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station from the North Exit and keep going straight down to the street. Stay on the right side of the main street leading away from the station and continue straight through the first big intersection. Kikuya is in the middle of the next block, on the right-hand side. The cafe upstairs – “Louvre” – has a more prominent sign. Liz Ruskin 2010