There’s a map depicting a portion of Kita-ku, titled リバーステーションって、何だろう？, which means something like: “River station, what is it?” The map covers several sections of Kita-ku, such as Iwabuchimachi 岩淵町, Shimo 志茂, and Akabane-Kita 赤羽北. It also touches Akabane-Nishi 赤羽西 and Akabane-Minami 赤羽南.
What is river station? I’ll answer that soon. But first, let’s focus on the top two sections of the map. What do we see?
1. A water pool (map)
2. Sakura trees: 赤羽桜堤緑地 “Akabane Sakurazutsumi green space” (map)
3. A sake factory (map)
Here’s some sake information I received from a tasting at their factory:
4. Water bus (map)
Back to our earlier question: リバーステーションって、何だろう？, “What is river station?”
Answer: it is Iwabuchi River station 岩淵リバーステーション, a stop on the Tokyo Mizube Cruising Line 東京水辺ライン, a ferry used primarily for tourism (reservations required).
- Overview: 荒川水上バス船着場岩淵リバーステーション（岩渕船着場）
- Map 1: Waterbus cruise around Tokyo (PDF)
- Map 2: Iwabuchi River station map and timetable (PDF)
5. New Arakawa flood gate (map)
Here is Iwabuchi sluice 岩淵水門 , a floodgate (suimon) that regulates the flow of water between the Sumidagawa and the Arakawa Rivers.
A little bit of archery at the shrine. This is the White Sake Festival 白酒祭, held every year on February 7th, from 11:00 – 12:00 a.m. (link).
8. Red sluice gate (map)
This is the old Arakawa lock, also known as Old Iwabuchi Water Gate, Red Sluice Gate, Iwabuchi sluice gate 岩淵水門, and Akasuimon 赤水門. (See also: Kawaguchi Art Factory and the Red Sluice Gate 岩淵水門)
Now let’s look at the lower half of the map:
9. Akabane Suzuran-dōri Shōtengai 赤羽スズラン通り商店街 covered arcade (map)
10. Akabane station 赤羽駅 (map)
10b. There is a Statue of Liberty above the ニュークラウン New Crown pachinko parlor, near the station. Their website advertises its location: ＪＲ赤羽駅北改札東口降りてすぐ自由の女神のビルが目印 (JR Akabane Station north ticket gate east exit off immediately Statue of Liberty of the building is mark).
11. Akabane hachiman Shrine 赤羽八幡神社 (MAP)
12. Train tunnel (map)
Above the shrine we look down at the train tunnel. There’s an amazing photo sphere by Masato OTA, which I’ve taken an excerpt from. Interestingly, there’s also a pedestrian tunnel underneath the train tracks immediately before the train enters the tunnel (map).
According to aerial maps, I believe the tunnel was built between 1988-1990. The tunnel is now used for the Joetsu Shinkansen and the Saikyo Line 埼京線, and is somewhat interesting for having a pedestrian underpass at street level immediately before the tunnel.
14. Nambu subway Line
The red/white checkered line is the Nambu Line, but the boy on the map seems to be talking about a streetcar line. Not far from here, to the south is the Toden Arakawa Streetcar Line 都電荒川線; the closest station is Ojiekimae Station (map).
15. A sento 銭湯 (public bath)
16. UFO observatory ???
I’m not sure about this one. It may refer to this building: map???
I found some reference to UFOs and Kita-ku, but I need to do some more research on this:
Full name: 東京二十三区清掃一部事務組合清掃工場北清掃工場
Summary of points of interest described in this post:
Details from the original map:
Larger water bus map:
From (PDF) noted referenced above in item #4.
- Much about nothing in Akabane Iwabuchi (Kit Nagamura, The Japan Times)
- Kita-ku park list (Japanese)
- 荒川サイクリングロード 朝霞水門〜新砂リバーステーション Arakawa cycling road Asaka sluice ~ Shinsuna River station (photos from cycling blog)
- Sakura photos near the red sluice gate (Japanese)
- Koyama Brewery per Global Waters
- Ryōgoku Bridge & the Sumida River