Ota City, a lesser-known area situated in the southeast of Japan’s capital, is home to a number of highly photogenic historical shrines and temples, lush nature, and some rather unusual streets. It offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo and is conveniently where Haneda Airport, the region’s newest international air travel hub, is located.
Whether you have a whole day to explore, or just a few hours spare during a flight layover, here is a rundown of the five most picturesque places to be found in Ota, the largest of Tokyo’s wards.
1. Ikegami Kaikan
At the top of this four-story government building positioned next to Ikegami Honmonji Temple is an observation deck from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the cityscape. Face north and you’ll soon spot the five-story pagoda structure that is surrounded with pink cherry blossoms come spring.
2. Anamori Inari-jinja Shrine
This shrine was originally built on the site where Haneda Airport is now located. In addition to the main building, the current grounds house a number of small shrine structures, numerous fox statues and a dense row of striking vermillion torii gates that you can enjoy walking through.
Situated at the boundary of two distinct districts – Nakaikegami 1 chome 2 and Kamiikedai 5 chome 29 – this uncanny view is comprised of two almost identical sloped streets that run parallel to the bullet train lines and offer what is essentially a mirror image of each other. If the weather permits, you will be able to see Mt. Fuji in the distance.
4. Senzokuike Pond Park
Senzokuike Pond is a park packed with scenic views, whether you’re strolling along the shaded paths, paddle boating on the lake, or admiring migrant birds from the elegant wooden bridge. The spring cherry blossoms and colorful autumn leaves are a must-see, as are the migrant birds this park attracts year round.
5. Tamagawasengen-jinja Shrine
Built approximately eight hundred years ago, this beautiful ancient shrine is positioned on top of a small hill by Tama River, a major waterway that flows through the capital along the line dividing Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa. On a clear day you can enjoy views of Mt. Fuji, and a magnificent sunset, too.