Coming from Yokohama to Chofu (Tokyo) is not an easy trip. With multiple local train changes and my unfamiliarity with non-JR train lines proven not beneficial but despite the hassle associated with traveling, discovering a quiet, more relax area of Tokyo is always a well spent weekend than visiting same crowded place all over again.
Located at the western side of Tokyo, Chofu is another commuter town, a suburb mix of residential buildings, shops and parks, where to reach certain places in the town requires you to be familiar with bus numbers and bus stops.
Arriving at 2 in the afternoon, I have limited time to explore the area of Chofu before all the shops closes for the day. Luckily, the best place to visit is concentrated in one spot only- the surrounding area at Jindaiji Temple.
After 30 minutes and on-board bus no. 34 from Chofu Station, I arrived at Jindaiji Temple bus stop. The first thing that I notice is a small building on the left-side adorned with everything related to one of the country’s most loved yōkai (supernatural character) Kitaro, a boy missing his left eye and the empty eye socket is covered with his hair, from the manga series “Gegege no Kitaro” .
With a weapon of a remote control geta sandals and a sidekick named Nezumi Otoko, who has never taken a bath for three hundred and sixty years, though I am not familiar with the series, I have to say Kitaro is one strangely cute yōkai.
The building that houses all manga related novelty souvenir is called Kitaro Chaya (Kitaro Tea House). This is the first time that I have seen the character across Japan, though not sure in details about the connection with Chofu or Jindaiji Temple apart from some of the scenes were based in the area.
At the back, of the temple is a pet crematorium/cemetery. With a 30 meters high concrete tower named Banrei To (Tower of All Souls) erected in 1962, the cemetery is one of the oldest in Japan and visiting the place is kind of sentimental reminder on the contribution of the beloved pets on our everyday lives.
The alleyways leading and around the temple is populated with souvenir shops and restaurants, constructed with an atmosphere of so called Edo-Period style. Unlike Nakamise Dori of Asakusa, you can leisurely stroll the area of Jindaiji Temple without having to squeeze your way to a shop, one of the many advantages why I like on visiting off the beaten dori.
Besides Yanaka, I will suggest to anyone visiting Tokyo to spend a day at Chofu.
By the way, I have to to put Chofu (Tokyo) to distinguished with Chofu of Yamaguchi, Nagano.