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Explore Fuchu and Chofu: Treasure Trove of Historical Buildings Close to Tokyo

Today we travel to Fuchu City, as well as the neighboring Chofu City in Tama, both about 15 kilometers west of Shinjuku, Tokyo.

This Tokyo day trip itinerary around Marunouchi was planned by Mr. Tetsu Morita, who was actively involved in the production of the Michelin Green Guide Japan. With his familiarity with Westerners’ tastes, he provides a view of Japan that even Japanese people themselves might not be aware of. Let’s dive right in!

Tokyo Day Trips with Morita-san: Unraveling the Deep Bonds Between Nature, Deities, and Japanese People in Chichibu

Tokyo Day Trips with Morita-san: East Meets West at Miura Peninsula’s Fascinating Hayama City

Starting the day in Chofu

Our meeting point today is Chōfu Station (Keio Line). It’s about a 14 minutes ride from Shinjuku by limited express or 17 minutes by semi-limited express.

Joining Morita today is Live Japan editor Timothy, who is from New York.

Tenjin Shopping Street: Popular Japanese manga characters live on in the city where their creator had resided

Morita and Timothy decide to start the trip with a stroll around the vicinity of Chōfu Station. Along the way, they encounter artwork of characters from GeGeGe no Kitarō, a popular yokai supernatural monster manga created by Shigeru Mizuki.

Morita commented, “Japan’s yokai are kind of intriguing, aren’t they? Throughout Japanese history, strange occurrences were often attributed to these mischievous creatures. Renowned manga artist Shigeru Mizuki played a significant role in popularizing yokai by portraying them as manga characters. Having lived in Chōfu for over 50 years, Mizuki’s iconic work ‘GeGeGe no Kitarō’ has left its mark on this town, with characters hiding everywhere. You’ll also find plenty of other yokai monuments along Tenjin Shopping Street.”

Morita pointed out, “See what I mean? This mailbox is in the shape of a yokai mailbox.” He further explained, “If you ever need help for anything, send a letter through the yokai mailbox, and Kitarō will come to your rescue!”

Timothy shared his experience: “When I first came to Japan, I had no idea what yokai referred to.” He added, “I think they’re something like ‘sprites’ in Western terms.”

Morita said, “You know those creatures that play a big role in Celtic culture, right? Well, yokai are kind of based on the same idea of animism. I actually think that the way people saw the world during the time when animism was a big thing in Japan has shaped the Japanese identity we know today.”

Tenjin Shopping Street
1 Fuda, Chōfu-shi, 182-0024

Salesio Seminary: Learning about the Venerable Father Cimatti, who was instrumental to the development of education in Japan as a missionary and educator

Exiting Tenjin Shopping Street, we arrive at the Chōfugaoka Kōsaten bus stop, where we hop on to a Chōfu City minibus.

The tourist-friendly bus display shows destination names in English as well. We will be getting off at Musashino Ichiba (Musashino Mar…

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