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A bit about the neighborhood

Posted by Cameron Hilker on April 8, 2019 [Permalink]

Everyone at Mokuhankan is busy now - there are lots of customers, lots of print parties, and lots of subscription prints being carved and printed - so it's Karen filling in again as a guest blogger. Today, I thought I'd write about the shop itself and its environs.

Here's a portrait of the building in the early hours, with its brand new blue sign that was put up last week:

Mokuhankan is close to a large temple district. Sensō-ji is one of Toyko's oldest and most important temples. When approaching the temple from the south, one enters through Kaminarimon, aka the "Thunder Gate":

Statues of the Shinto gods of wind and thunder, Fūjin and Raijin, are displayed in alcoves on left and right. Beyond the gate are a series of shops, currently closed in this picture because it's early in the morning. Later in the day, it's almost too crowded to walk past the shops! If you walk on down, turning left before entering the temple grounds proper, you'll be looking down Denpōin-dori:

As this street curves to the right, you'll find yourself on Rokku-dori, which is Mokuhankan's street. Here's a sign past the shop at the end of the street that makes it look much larger than it is, showing all the shops. If you zoom in and look carefully, you might see Mokuhankan - 木版館 - on the far side of the street to the left.

OK, imagine you are standing in the intersection at the map's green end of the street. Here you can sight along Rokku-dori to the left, and Hoppy-dori to the right. Mokuhankan is the 6th door on the left, on Rokku-dori.

Hoppy-dori is full of bars. In the morning it is pretty deserted -

... but at night, the bars roll out their awnings and set up picnic tables. Revelers abound!

Right now there is a pear tree on Rokku-dori that just burst into bloom:

... and across from Mokuhankan, there is an alcove with a small statue of Jizo, the bodhisattva who looks after children and travelers.

Those of you who watch Dave's live stream on twitch.tv sometimes hear an interesting sound, and this is the source - it happens right outside, as ice is delivered to the restaurant next door a couple of times a week.

Many of these photos were shot in the morning when not many people are out, but it gets very busy during the day, and especially on the weekends. From the roof of Mokuhankan on a late Saturday afternoon, one can see the lively street, with people shopping, walking around in kimono, standing in line for dinner, and enjoying the weather.

It's really a very interesting neighborhood! I hope I've been able to give you a taste of that.




Added by: Jacques on April 8, 2019, 5:52 am

Nice pictures Karen, thank you very much!

I'd never seen that statue of Jizo (will have to look him up next time I'm in Asakusa this autumn)

or the ice delivery man before ...


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