Oji, a greenery historic town with budget-friendly attractions
Shinjuku, Shibuya, Asakusa, etc., popular spots in Tokyo are always crowded. Watching a people-jam might be fun for tourists, but it is not for people who get caught in the crush almost every day. The longer they live in Tokyo, they prefer avoiding crowds and look for quaint spots, preferably with free or budget-friendly attractions.
Attractions in Oji
Oji is an old town located in the north of Tokyo within the 23 special wards, a bit off the circle of JR Yamanote Line. Though Oji is not recognized as a tourist spot, the town actually has many attractions that include free or cheap things to do.
1. Asukayama-koen Park
1. Asukayama-koen Park
One of the largest and oldest Sakura viewing spot in Tokyo, developed and opened for everybody by the Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune in the early 18th century.
In June, Ajisai or hydrangea flowers bloom along the slope on the side of Oji station.
A 3-min walk from JR Oji Station.
Entrance is free.
2. Otonashi Shinsui Park 音無親水公園
A green garden near Otonashi stream used to be a small valley. Good for strolling. Entrance is free.
2. Otonashi Shinsui Park
3. Oji-jinja Shrine 王子神社
The name of this town Oji is derived from this shrine founded nearly 700 years ago. This shrine has a large Gingko tree. Entrance is free (for shrine precinct) A traditional festival is held on the first Sunday of August.
Oji-jinja Shrine Website http://ojijinja.tokyo.jp/
4. Ojiinari-jinja Shrine
4. Ojiinari-jinja Shrine 王子稲荷神社
The old Inari shrine, famous for the Ukiyo-e prints drawn by Utagawa Hiroshige. Entrance is free (for shrine precinct). This shrine is also known for an old story of Rakugo (comic storytelling) that is about a fox troubled at the restaurant Ougiya nearby. The restaurant is still in business since 300 years ago and sells Tamagoyaki (sweet egg roll) to this day.
Ougiya website (Japanese website) https://www.ouji-ougiya.jp/
On the last day of the year, a midnight parade is held and people wearing fox masks parade along the streets to Ojiinari-jinja Shrine.
5. Nanushi-no-taki Garden 名主の滝公園
A Japanese garden developed by the former village headman of Oji. The water falls in this garden were drawn in Ukiyo-e prints by Utagawa Hiroshige. Entrance is free.
5. Nanushi-no-taki Garden
6. Otonashi Sakura Green Space 音無さくら緑地
A green space along Otonashi stream. The stream side and this green space are a Sakura viewing spot.
7. The three museums in Asukayama-koen Park
In Asukayama-koen Park, there are three museums: Shibusawa memorial museum, Museu,Kita-city Asukayama museum, and Papar musum.
They are not admission free. The admission fee is 300 JPY/adult for Shibusama and Kita-city museum, and 400 JPY for Papar museum. (as of Oct 2020). The combination ticket for the 3 museums is available at 800 JPY.
Asukayama Museums (Japanese website) https://www.asukayama.jp/
Paper Museum 紙の博物館
A place to learn all about paper manufacturing and its history all over the world. Oji is the town where Japan’s large paper manufacturing company was established.
Asukayama Museum 北区飛鳥山博物館
A local museum to learn about the history, the culture and the nature in Kita-ku ward of Tokyo. There is a café on the third floor of the museum building. No entrance fee is required only to use the café.
Shibusawa Memorial Museum 渋沢史料館
The museum of Shibusawa Eiichi, the person who was a leading figure in the development of Japan's modern society. This museum includes 2 historic buildings and the Japanese garden that were a part of Mr.Shibusawa’s residence.
8. Nanasha-jinja Shrine 七社神社
The tutelary shrine of this district lies next to Asukayama-koen Park. Entrance is free (for shrine precinct)
Nanasha-jinja Shrine (Japanese website) https://nanasha.jp/
9. Hiratsuka-jinja Shrine 平塚神社
An old shrine with over 900 years of history, founded at the place where the castle of the local ruling family was situated in. Entrance is free (for shrine precinct)
Hiratsuka-jinja Shrine (Japanese website) http://hiratsuka-jinja.or.jp/
10.Earthquake Science Museum 地震の科学館
The hands-on or digital interactive museum, allows visitors to learn how to be prepared for earthquakes.
Open 9:00 – 17:00 (5:00PM)
Closed on Mondays (on Tuesday if a public holiday falls on a Monday), Public holidays.
11.Kyu-Furukawa Garden 旧古河庭園
The gardens in the place that was the former residence of the Furukawa noble family. There are two types of gardens, one is the western-style garden designed by Josiah Conder, and other is the Japanese garden designed by Niwashi-Ueji, the renowned Japanese garden designer. Being operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association, an admission fee is required. (150 JP Yen/ adult). This rose garden is so popular that it gets crowded during the season (May and October).
Kyu-Furukawa Gardens https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/teien/en/kyu-furukawa/
Banknote & Postage Stamp Museum お札と切手の博物館
Map of Oji Area
Google Maps - Oji https://goo.gl/maps/Ln6EE
How to get to Oji
Oji is reachable by JR Line (京浜東北線), Nanboku Subway Line (南北線), and Toden Arakawa Tram (都電).
From JR Ueno station by JR Train
Take JR Keihin-tohoku Line and get off at Oji station. (11-min ride)