The roots of Grandma Town are the Togenuki Jizo
The biggest reason behind Sugamo being called “Grandma Town” is the Togenuki Jizo which are located at Kogan-ji Temple in the area. The principal images of Buddha enshrined at the temple are jizo statues that supposedly extend one’s life. Usually the principal images aren’t displayed to the public, but the Togenuki Jizo that are displayed in place of them provide healing of any ailments and extension of life which explains the visits by many of the elderly. However, that is not the only attraction of Sugamo since there remain venerable shops on the local shopping street with that hint of old Tokyo which can be enjoyed even by the elderly for shopping and walking. The neighborhood has continued to retain that warm welcoming spirit of Grandma for visitors and a way of thinking to provide the best hospitality.
How to traverse Sugamo’s Jizo Dori Shopping Street
Sugamo Jizo Dori Shopping Street, which is located 5 minutes away on foot from Sugamo Station, is a 780m street which has 200 shops. There are a lot of stores selling Japanese confections and clothing geared for older people while shops for the younger generation are few. But the attractiveness of this area lies in the feelings of Tokyo from the good ol’ days provided by establishments that have been around for decades whose proprietors specialize in specially-created candies, tatami and other Japanese crafts, along with shops where you can try your hand at making your own Japanese rice crackers (by appointment only), stores where you can buy skewers of yakitori to eat on the street, and delicatessens. The Shimizu Tatami Shop which has been around for more than 100 years is recommended for its zori sandals which are cooling in summer. Discover those treasures as you take a peek into every shop.
Enjoy that tour through the famous places of Sugamo
Another treat of Sugamo is sightseeing through the nearby places of interest and historic sites. Rikugi-en Garden, which was built at the end of the 17th century, is one of the two great gardens from the Edo Era that is a must-see. Another important highlight is the early 20th-century manor and garden of Baron Toranosuke Furukawa where East meets West. There are many other places to see such as Asukayama Park where cherry blossoms are in full bloom in the spring, the Koshinzuka stone statue and the cemetery, so that a day-long walk will never be boring.