To the southeast of Tokyo lies a fascinating city – Ota. Surrounded by Tokyo Bay and the Tama River, Ota is a city rich in culture, full of historical sites as well as stunning natural views. Ota is also where one of the major international airports in Tokyo, Haneda Airport, is located.
Its perfect location has not only gained its reputation as a convenient city, but turned it into the home to tons of busy shopping streets and high-technology companies. Among Tokyo’s 23 wards, Ota is known as the special ward of Tokyo with a bustling, historic yet trendy vibe. Walking around this city will instantly immerse you into the unique Japanese history and traditional culture.
As the country of cutting-edge technology, Japan prides itself in the wide range of electronic products it provides. Ota, the center of leading technology, is where a variety of high-tech companies gather. This city has gained international recognition as the home of advanced manufacturers.
However, Ota has way more to offer. The street merchants and cozy restaurants here at Ota also present the most authentic lifestyle of Japanese locals. My first encounter to Ota ward was like stepping into a vibrant world of adventures. More than 150 shopping streets are located here in Ota; shops and small restaurants are dotted in this area, giving you an opportunity to shop, explore and snack simultaneously. If you are a foodie, then Ota is definitely the paradise for you. You will be spoiled for choices since almost all kinds of authentic Japanese food are offered here at reasonable prices.
Ota is also known as the “city of bathhouses”. Taking a hot bath is almost a sacred routine that every Japanese would go through after a long day of hard work since hot water is believed to help relax the body. For those who are big fans of onsen/ofuro (Japanese hot spring/bath), Ota is the place where you will find bathhouse everywhere. It is especially famous for its unique black water hot springs, which carries various mineral ingredients that are said to have a beautifying effect on the skin. During your stay in Japan, going to a bathhouse will definitely be a unique and fun experience to make the most of your time.
Another thing you should not miss is the temples and shrines here, especially the Anamori Inari Jinja (Shrine), which gives people the feel of bygone fishing villages. This shrine was said to be built in order to protect the fishing village from floods. A famous fairytale made this shrine even more sacred and mysterious: thousands of years ago, a fisherman spent a long time hunting a fox that was stealing fish, but he was so kind and forgiving that he still let the fox go. Ever since then, he would be blessed to harvest a great number of fish, along with some sand in the basket, which is believed to have the magic power of bringing good luck and great wealth. If you ever visit the Anamori Inari Jinja Shrine, you should learn the Japanese way of sprinkling the sacred sand, which will bring you good luck!
As for temples, you definitely don’t want to miss one of the must-sees in Tokyo – Ikegami Honmonji Temple. A short walk from Ikegami station will take you to this historical temple that tell us its more than 700 years of story. Having been through wars and reconstructions, it is almost unbelievable how this cultural and religious legacy still remains in such great condition. A symbolic spot here is the Goju-no-to (five-story-pagoda), a pagoda that has existed for more than 400 years. One of the highlights at Ikegami is the relaxing and casual atmosphere. Unlike other temples in Tokyo, Ikegami Honmonji Temple is where you can enjoy a sense of tranquility and understand how Japanese honors ancestors without being buried by crowds.
For nature lovers, Senzoku-Ike Pond Park is where you’ll embrace natural views and encounter various kinds of lovely creatures. This relaxing spot mainly consists of two parts: Senzoku-Ike Pond and Senzokuhachiman Jinja Shrine, an ideal place for boating, walking and picnicking. Boats are easily accessible from the rental station located near the park. During the sakura (cherry blossom) season, the scenic views almost has magical power that recovers your entire soul.
If you prefer having a nice walk with friends and enjoy some sunshine, strolling down the beach at Jonanjima Seaside Park will allow you to take a short break from crowds and slowly enjoy the sea breeze. What can be more soothing than stepping on the soft sand and indulge yourself with some drinks while bathing in the sun?