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.
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.
Suitengumae (or simply “Suitengu“) is a small residential town just to the northeast of Tokyo Station. You can get here by taking the Metro Hanzomon subway line, or by walking or cycling. The walk is not far – about 2-ish miles. To walk or cycle from Tokyo Station, exit on the Yaesu (east) side of the station at the north exit, then head north until you hit Rt. 10 (Eitai Dori), then head east. About a mile down, you’ll come to the Minato Bridge which crosses the Nihonbashi River. The coordinates for this turn are roughly at 35°40’44.68″ N 139°46’59.90″ E. Turn left (north) and cross the bridge. Head north a few blocks and you’ll come to a massive 4-level freeway interchange above you. Turn left here. Keep this interchange in mind as it’s an important landmark for several reasons explained below. Also under this overpass is an entrance to the Metro subway Suitengumae Station which also houses the Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) which is explained below.
The huge freeway interchange north of Eitai Dori looking back west along Rt. 50. Suitengumae Station is behind the camera to the left.
Yaesu (east) exit with Tokyo Station on the right. This is facing south. Eitai Dori is to the left (east).
Just outside the Yaesu (east) side of Tokyo Station. Head north here to reach Eitai Dori, then head east (right).
West (Marunouchi) side of Tokyo Station at night. Just to the left out of frame is an entrance to the Hanzonmon Line underground. Suitengumae is to the east of Tokyo Station down Eitai Dori (Rt. 10). This photo is facing northeast.
If you turn right at this interchange you’ll come to the Sumida River a few blocks down. But instead turn left and a few blocks back east you’ll pass the Royal Park Hotel on your right, and come to another Suitengumae Station entrance on your left. You’re now in the heart of Suitengumae. In fact, there are severalSuitengumae Station entrance/exits scattered all around the area. You’ll have to go inside the station to get familiar with all the exits and where they lead. The station itself is entirely underground and except for the large entrance where T-CAT is, the only evidence of the station you’ll see are the small stairwells on the sidewalks.
An alternate walking route would be to cut down side streets east of Tokyo Station, then re-emerge onto Rt. 10 a few miles down.
Cutting east down side streets in Tokyo on the way to Suitengumae.
If you want to take a train to Suitengumae you’ll need to find the Hanzonmon Line on the Tokyo Metro. You can get it from Tokyo Station, or from Otemachi Station just to the north, but be warned that the tunnels + routes to Hanzomon Line are underground in Tokyo Station and are miles of labyrinths. You can easily get lost in them, and even if you don’t it takes forever to get to the actual Hanzomon Line platform under Tokyo Station. An easier way is to find a Hanzomon Line entrance on the surface streets north of Tokyo Station and head down. You still may have to walk a bit so be prepared. The entire experience is generally known around Tokyo to expats as Hanzomon Hell (see videos below). Sometimes you have to walk through entire shopping centers + up and down multiple flights of stairs to get to where you want to go. You can literally spend hours walking around in the system under Tokyo Station – so be prepared.
Abandon all hope of your feet not hurting all ye who enter here. Once you descend into Hanzomon Hell in search of a subway entrance, it may be quite some time until you find what you are looking for. Be prepared to walk. It may take hours.
Another corridor in Hanzomon Hell. Be ready to walk (and walk, and walk, and walk).
Station maps of Marunouchi, Chiyoda, and Tozai lines. Colored circles next to each station indicate line interchange stations. The station highlighted in red is the current station.
One of many surface street entrances to the Hanzomon Line in Otemachi.
Approaching the Ootemori level of Hanzomon Hell under Tokyo Station – only one of many levels you will have to pass through to find the subway platform you want. The station levels themselves are quite nice – it’s the miles of walking that makes it hell.
Deep inside Hanzomon Hell under Tokyo Station. As you come upon a Metro line sign in Hanzomon Hell, you may think your walk is over, but you’re not even close. You’ll often see signs like these color-coded with the line symbol and color, and a message of how much further (such as “Hanzomon Line 500m”) with an arrow. You get duped into thinking it’s just ahead but in reality you’ll have to pass through many such signs to reach the desired platform. What these signs really mean is “X number of meters until the next corridor junction or stairwell or escalator. So it really ends up being many such paths of 500m + 700m + 300M + 200M…. Before you know it, you’ve been walking for 2 hours and have walked over 5 miles!
Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) just under the freeway overpass interchange. Suitengumae Station is also inside. There’s also a small shopping mall. The pink bldg. visible ahead on the left side of the photo is the Royal Park Hotel. Just to the right behind the station next to the hotel is a huge paid bike parking lot. There is also a station entrance leading underground inside the hotel.
Just west of the station is the very luxurious Royal Park Hotel. It’s very nice but a bit expensive. Expect to pay $200 or more per night. On the northeast corner of the hotel is a huge outdoor paid bike parking lot where you can lock your bike for the day if you need to. Cost is around 400¥ ($4) for 8 hours.
AEON Supermarket + Doutour
There’s not a lot in the way of food around Sutengumae Station. There’s a Family Mart conbini (convenience store) just across the street as well as a 7-11. Just to the east across the street is a Doutour café which is quite good. A few blocks to the east on the same side as the station is a nice AEON supermarket which has good organic vegetables very cheap. They also sell KAGOME bottled vegetable drinks + bottled coffee. Most of the real food in Suitengumae is back towards the west along Rt. 50 where Suitengu shrine is (see below). There is also a post office along this route.
Looking back east along Rt. 50 towards the expressway interchange. The Royal Park Hotel is on the left.
Doutour café also a few blocks east of the station, facing south.
Eitai Bridge + Ookawabata River City
If you walk back to where the IBM HQ bldg. is, you’ll find a small bridge named Toyomi Bridge. You can cross back onto Eitai Dori by crossing this bridge. Once you’re back on Eitai Dori, if you head further east you’ll come to the world-famous Eitai Bridge with its iconic view of Ookawabata River City. You can walk or ride a bike across this bridge and stop mid-way to take photos. If you cross the bridge to the east and keep going, then turn south along Kiyosumi Dori, you’ll find the Tokyo University Centennial Museum of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), which also has a large wooden sailing ship, the Seimyo-maru outside to check out.
Ookawabata River City as seen from Eitai Bridge.
View of Ookawabata River City + Eitai Bridge from futher up the Sumida River.
Kiyosumi Park + Kiyosumi Teien Japanese Garden
A bit to the northeast of Suitengumae across the Sumida River is Kiyosumi Park and Kiyosumi Teien Japanese Garden/Ryōtei Tea House. The garden is spectacular, especially in the fall and is well worth a stop. You’ll need to cross the river and then head north on side streets for a few blocks, but it’s not too far and is well worth the trip.
Suiten-gū (水天宮) Shrine
Perhaps the biggest historical attraction in the area is Suitengu Shrine, established in 1881. It’s just up Eitai Dori on the north side of the street to the west of Suitengumae Station. The shrine’s wooden architecture is amazing. Worth a look.
Aside from the Royal Park Hotel, there are a lot of guest houses and AirBnBs in the area, but the hidden gem to stay at is First Cabin Suitengumae. First Cabin provides luxury capsule lodgings for a reasonable price. Expect to pay $42/night or so. Hidden down a little side street just to the east of the interchange overpass, First Cabin Suitenguemae is worth a stay. The building has been fully remodeled and the facilities are spotless. There’s also a small Lawson conbini a few blocks to the north. The staff is very helpful and there’s a large lobby with tables + chairs to sit at where you can eat your brought-in food. The hotel also sells small breakfasts in the form of croissants, bagels, and pastries. There’s also a coffee machine. Overall, very nice. To get to FCS, head back east on Rt. 50 through the overpass, past a small Koban (police box), past the AEON supermarket, then make the next left (north) down the next side street. Continue north past the bagel shop, then a few blocks up turn right. The building is a tall narrow white/gray bldg. with a First Cabin sign on the front.
Suitengumae is just to the right of the bldg. in the center with the square hole in it. The river shown is the Sumida River. This is facing southwest.
The massive 4-level Metropolitain Expressway interchange north of Eitai Dori. The T-CAT/Suitengumae Station are underneath this overpass on the north side. If you head far enough east on this road and turn left (north) you can hike to Sky Tree in about 9 miles.
Hanzomon Line entrance in Tokyo Station. The line map is overhead with each station. Red indicates the current station.
Line entrances @ Otemachi Station. Each line has a colored circle, and a letter. The current station number for this station on each line is inside each circle at the bottom. Some, but not all stations are interchanges for other lines.
Another street entrance @ Otemachi Station. There’s also an area map. The green symbol to the right is the Toei subway system symbol – an alternate system from the Metro but which uses many of the same stations.
Street entrance to Suitengumae Station on Eitai Dori. Just to the right in the upper corner is the Royal Park Hotel. Just down the side street to the right is an outdoor paid bike locker. This is facing west towards Tokyo Station.
Hanzomon Line platform. The yellow rubber tracks are for sign-impaired people. The rubber tracks allow them to use their canes to find their way. Sort of like braille for walking.
The Marunouchi Line whizzes by under Tokyo Station. “Marunouchi” literally means “Home Circle” in Japanese ( “Maru” (circle) “no” (of) “uchi” (home) ).
Entrance to Hanzomon and Chiyoda Lines in Tokyo Station. The numbers indicate which platform side, the colors indicate which line. Some recent renovations in some stations in Tokyo also include lighted color stripes on the walls to indicate which path to take.