Todoroki Ravine: Hidden Nature’s Paradise Left in Metropolitan Tokyo
20 Minutes from Shibuya Station
Todoroki, about 20 minutes from Shibuya Station by connecting trains, it is located in Setagaya, within Tokyo’s 23 wards that are commonly associated with the image of city.
You see a landscape there, which may be not exactly a piece of metropolis, but it has been developed in its own way and equipped with major roads. When you see the sign of “Todoroki Ravine” and go down the steps, an entirely different world spreads before your eyes. You can hardly believe it is Tokyo. It’s a radical change from the outside world that is filled with asphalt and the noise of vehicles. Nature suddenly appears in front of your eyes, which is completely separated from the urban image.
“Green Promenade” along Yazawagawa River
It is Yazawagawa River that flows through the ravine. The stream sends up a comfortable breeze along with the murmuring of the water. Many scenic beauties are located in this area, but I would like to walk the promenade for about 1 km along Yazawagawa River this time.
Tomb of Ancient People
One of the attractions near the entrance is a side-hole style tumulus, constructed around the 7th century. Light fixture is installed so that people can see the interior easily. Excavation of this tomb has led to a discovery of bones attributed to several people and earthenware and decorative goods as tomb furnishings.
A Scenic Beauty, “Fudo Falls”
“Fudo Falls” presents beautiful scene of water dripping down from the rock surface, which offers cool atmosphere. Incidentally, if you go up the nearby stairs, there is a temple called “Todoroki Fudoson” at the end.
A tea house is located on the way, and you can enjoy sweets there, including kuzumochi, anmitsu, oshiruko, etc. (traditional Japanese sweets, including sweet azuki beans). How about stopping by to enjoy tea if you are little tired of walking?
<Tea House “Setsugekka” (“Snow, Moon & Flower”)>
Open: 11 AM to 4 PM. Please be careful during the winter as there are fewer operating days.
Japanese Garden where You Can Feel Wabi-Sabi
If you continue on further from the point of Fudo Falls, an entrance to a Japanese garden will come into view. The admission is free of charge. When you enter the garden, you will notice its three dimensional structure that makes use of the steep slopes. The photo was taken in its bamboo forest area with bamboo lining up and shooting straight toward the sky, offering a very beautiful sight.
This garden was designed by Juki Iida, a famous gardener. Since nearly all his work is contained within private residences, this garden is said to be very unusual as the general public can freely enter and admire its beauty.
After you go through the winding path and climb up the stairs, you will come to a building that embodies the atmosphere of “wabi-sabi”.
It is a traditional Japanese building in the style called “Shoin-zukuri” (started in the 14th century), and you are allowed to enter it. You can examine the beauty of its interior there, or enjoy the feel of tatami mats, or drink from the water dispenser.
As you go up further on the path next to the Shoin building, you will come to the spacious lawn with a fine view, and that is the highest point of the garden.
How did you like it? You can enjoy beautiful changes of four seasons in Todoroki Ravine and it is specified as one of the scenic areas of Tokyo. This author visited it in the middle of the summer, but it is also a great idea to visit it in the fall for beautiful autumn foliage.
By the way, it is near the water and many mosquitoes inhabit, too. We recommend you to avoid sandals as much as possible and wear long pants.
Access: 3 minutes’ walk from Todoroki Station on the Tokyu Oimachi Line. Follow the signs for directions.