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Goin’ Japanesque!

Take a Direct Train from Shinjuku to Ultraman Shopping District in Tokyo!

“Ultraman” TV series started broadcasting in 1966 and it celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. The newest series “Ultraman Orb” is still on air today, and previous generations of Ultraman appear in this series to rescue the current hero. The Ultraman is a beloved hero story in Japan whose popularity has never waned. It is no exaggeration to say that everyone knows about this story, and you know a mecca for Ultraman is located in Soshigaya Okura, Setagaya-ku Tokyo.

Its name is none other than Ultraman Shopping District. Three entrances called Ultraman Arch are established at each end of the district, and they are each adorned with a flying figures of Zoffy, Ultraman or Ultraman Jack.

Why is this shopping district named after Ultraman? Let me first explain the relationship between Soshigaya Okura and Ultraman.

 

Soshigaya and Ultraman

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Soshigaya-Okura Station is on the Odakyu Odawara Line, and it is located in Soshigaya 1-chome, Setagaya-ku Tokyo. There were 3 separate shopping districts around this station, and they were united in April 2005 and the Ultraman Shopping District was born.

The shopping district was named after Ultraman because of the location of the station. In the past, Tsuburaya Productions, the special effects studio that has given birth to Ultraman series was located about 800m south of the Soshigaya-Okura Station. Mr. Eiji Tsuburaya, the father of the Ultraman series, also had his home within the shopping district. Thus this area had been known as the birthplace of Ultraman, and the shopping district took up this name, commemorating the fact.

 

Finding Ultraman in the Shopping District

The relationship between this shopping district and Ultraman is not just the shared name. In addition to the three Ultraman Arches I mentioned earlier, you can find many symbols related to Ultraman in the district.

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The first thing you notice after entering the district is the shape of the streetlights standing on both sides of the street. You can find uniquely shaped streetlights in designs of Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Ultraman Taro and Alien Baltan.

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In addition, hemispherical windows are buried in these lampposts, and they are designed after Color Timer, the characteristic feature of Ultraman. Photos depicting various scenes of the story are decorated inside these windows.

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A plaza in front of the Soshigaya-Okura Station right outside of the exit has a standing statue of Ultraman. This statue was established in March 2006, and before the unveiling ceremony, the organizers questioned the wisdom of letting Ultraman unveiling his own statue. Thus the episode goes that the highest ranking participant in the party, Ultra’s Father, undertook the unveiling instead.

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Even the banners hanging from the lampposts show playful designs. This is the silhouette of Ultraman you see when an episode of the TV program starts playing the title music, and all fans of Ultraman have seen it. These banners also have many variations. It will be fun just to walk around the shopping district trying to see every kind of banner.

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Furthermore, there are monuments (the photos mentioned above) that play Ultraman theme music when you push the Color Timer. Pillars in the Soshigaya-Okura Station are decorated with photos of generations of Ultraman and their signatures. On the guide map, a picture of Ultraman is firing the Specium Ray. Wheel stops are engraved with figures of monsters that appeared in the Ultraman series. You can discover many Ultraman in the shopping district. You won’t get bored even by just walking around, and that’s the big appeal of this shopping district.

The Ultraman Shopping District holds seasonal events including summer festival and Halloween. During these events held on a regular basis, you have more chances to see Ultraman. The Ultraman Shopping District is for both children and adults to have a great time.

 

You can get to the Soshigaya-Okura Station and Ultraman Shopping District by one train ride from the Shinjuku Station. If you are interested, please give it a try by all means. However, the streets around the station are narrow and many are one-way streets, so please be careful not to get lost when you visit. Information: Map

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