Moon Island: Tsukishima, Tokyo

Seldom people visit the district. Obviously, not part of any tourist must see checklist. Maybe, some people don’t even know this town existed. But I am intrigue and excited to see a part of Tokyo rarely explored.  After my failed attempt to see the Tuna Auction at Tsukiji Fish Market, I decided to spend the rest of the morning across Sumidawa River, at the island of Tsukishima.

With literal translation as “Moon Island” which later on became “Constructed Island”, Tsukishima is a reclaimed area created over hundred years ago from the earth dredged from the construction of a shipping channel. Though it might be a “fake” island, somehow the neighborhood has an authentic vibe that anyone visiting might be inclined to think of residing in the area. Maybe this laid back atmosphere is the main reason why there is an incredible increase of high-rise residential condominiums over the recent years, replacing the more traditional two-story Japanese houses.

Though Tsukishima may not have any tourist spot to boast for, walking around the neighborhood is a reward itself. Just consider it as an architectural exploration and admire the small, cozy houses around. Their simple and traditional design somehow compliments the bridges and boats along Sumidawa River. I feel like living in Tsukishima is similar to staying in a city where everything is reachable but with an atmosphere of suburbs. In short, you’ve got best of both worlds.

If you are a food enthusiast, then you might want to try their local snack – Monjayaki. It is not visually stimulating and you might have a second thought tasting it, with some foreigners describing it as vomit-like (looks like a half cooked pancake with mixed seafood, meat and vegetables). I was planning to try it but seems like most shops are still closed on a 10am Saturday morning.

With the fast phase of life and technology that Tokyo is known for, isn’t it a pleasant feeling of seeing a grandfather teaching his grandson how to fish, a lady taking care of the pot flowers at her front yard and a house with a water well? There are certain things in life that meant to be preserved and I hope Tsukishima is one of those.


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