Location: 35°40’55.63″ N 139°47’56.02″ E
Free Wifi: Yes
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭒⭒
Worth it? For a quick look
You come from far away
With pictures in your eyes
Of coffeeshops and morning streets
In the blue and silent sunrise
— Suzanne Vega
Kiyosumi-shirakawa is a small town in east Tokyo. It’s mostly a residential neighborhood area, but there are a few things here worth a look if you’re in the area. It’s the 4th stop (Z11) on the Metro Hanzomon Line from its eastern terminus Oshiagé <SKYTREE> which is to the northeast.
The town layout is around the intersection of Rt. 474 and Kiyosumi Dori – the large “+” shaped intersection in the center right of this map. The Metro station is just east (right) of that, and the Kiyosumi Garden (see below) is the large green area. The Sumida River and the town of Suitengumae are to the left (west).
The town is just to the east of the Sumida River, and less than a mile from its sister city to the west – Suitengumae (where the Tokyo City Air Terminal is located). From the west you can get to it by crossing the Kiyosu Bashi Bridge which spans the Sumida River. This puts you onto Rt. 474 heading east, which is the main road through the town. The Metro station is just to the east about a mile down on 474 after it crosses Kiyosumi Dori. To walk to the town from Tokyo Station from the west, just head down Eitai Dori to the east – it’s only a few miles. Cross Kiyosu Bashi Bridge and you’re there. There’s a walking/cycling lane on the bridge. There is also a town layout map on the sidewalk just at the top of the station stairs.
The bridge itself is quite interesting because it’s small, but it’s a suspension bridge and has a decidedly European flavor to it. There is also a famous spectacular night view from the bridge to the south. For more on the area in general and the bridge, see our post on Suitengumae.
To get here by train take the Metro Hanzomon Line and exit up the stairs or escalator to the street. You’ll be presented with a city map + a sign pointing to the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (see below). Interestingly, there are a number of ancient artworks in the station itself to look at on your way. The station does have free WiFi. Just across from the station is Reigan-ji Temple.
Like many train station stairs in Japan, Kiyosumi-Shirakawa’s can be daunting.
By far the biggest attraction in Kiyosumi-shirakawa is Kiyosumi Garden (aka Kiyosumi Teien) – a spectacular Japanese garden complete with walking paths, a tea house, and a pond. The gardens are well worth a look. The garden is just south of 474 on Kiyosumi Dori. Turn right (south) at Kiyosumi Dori from 474. You can also enter on the east end of 474 itself. There’s an annual pass for a mere $6 available. There’s also a large library at the south end of the park – Fukagawa Library.
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
The other big attraction in the town is the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. As of this writing the museum is temporarily closed. It’s about 1/2 mile to the southeast of the station on 474.
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Just to the south of the museum is the huge + spectacular Kiba Park.
The park has 2 parts – a smaller part just south of the museum, and then a spectacular huge park south of that across the Sendai-Bori River. There’s a large concrete foot bridge you can cross from the northern part to get to it. The large side of the park has a huge open space, cherry blossom viewing in spring, paths, and the Kiba Midorium – a small indoor plant hothouse. (“Midori” means “green” in Japanese). The east side of the park is bounded by the Oyoko River, from whose banks you can see Tokyo Sky Tree to the north (in fact you can walk there up streets to the north – it’s just over 2 miles).
About a block east of the garden around 35°40’43.40″ N 139°48’00.51″ E is a mixed use art co-op + café called Fukasado – well worth a look.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Around 35°40’39.72″ N 139°48’02.55″ E is a huge new Blue Bottle Coffee which is well worth a stop. Totally Drew did a video on it not too long ago.
There are a ton of other good small coffee shops around the area as well.
Along the way to the museum/park there are a few other interesting places such as small shops and, to the south a bit but still west of the park there is the Fukagawa Winery. There are also cafés, pastry shops, and traditional Japanese restaurants in the general area.
Well, that’s it for Kiyosumi-shirakawa. Stop by when you have time and have a quick stroll around to get that shitamachi (“old Tokyo”) feel. Stop by Suitengumae to the west also if you have time. Enjoy!
Beeslow Kiyosumi Shirakawa
Also be sure to check out the cool tea shop Beeslow Kiyosumi Shirakawa. They feature a Black Honey Mojito that is fabulous on a hot summer day.
Toyosumi Park + Sendaiborigawa Park + Kiba Park
If you have some extra time, just to the east, be sure to also check out Toyosumi Park and Sendaiborigawa Park. They’re worth a look if you’re in the area. There’s another awesome huge park just to the east called Kiba Park which is a must-see also. Check it out.
Kiyosumi-shirakawa may be small, but there are a lot of small charms here worth seeing. If you have time, stop in and check it out.
A local Koban (police box).
The city has also just completed a huge new sidewalk renovation project replacing old sidewalks with new multicolored pavers.