September 30, 2009


Meguro was next up on this Yamanote Line project and despite its name, the station itself is actually in Shinagawa-ku rather than Meguro-ku. Heading out from the east exit the main artery is Meguro Dori, which takes you past the huge National Park For Nature Study towards the upmarket Shirokanadai area.

On the approach to the national park there are a number of Thai restaurants, like this one, Tuk Tuk, largely due, I guess, to the fact that the Thai embassy is nearby.

Shirokanedai has a lot of pricey-looking apartment blocks, or 'mansions' as they're called here.

The local shops reflect the neighbourhood and on a different day I would have been tempted to while away some time looking around this wine shop.

The local branch of Book Off is a great place to go for secondhand foreign books, as most branches of this chain carry few if any foreign books. Granted it doesn't have the same character as small independent shops like the Blue Parrot in Takadanobaba, but there are some bargains to be found.  

Outside the classy Miyako Hotel there is a spot for dogs to quench their thirst.

One attraction in the Meguro area is the pilgrimage route known as the Yamate course that links six temples housing the Seven Gods of Fortune (shichi fuku-jin). People often make the pilgrimage in January to bring good fortune for the coming year. 

The first temple on the route is Kakurinji, or Seishoku, which dates from the seventeenth century, though has doubtlessly been rebuilt over the years, as have most temples in Japan. It's home to Bishamonten, the god of warriors.

Glass and steel in Shirokanedai.

The second temple on the route, Zuishoji, is less than ten minutes' walk away and like the  previous  temple, it was originally founded in the seventeenth century. It is tucked away in a very quiet area and is home to Hotei, the god of happiness and contentment.

Another one of those incredibly narrow buildings.It's a wonder that the interiors can be put to any practical use.

The next temple on the route is home to two gods, Jurojin (god of wisdom) and Fukurokuju (god of happiness and longevity). Again, peacefully set off the main road, it makes for a nice stroll.

A ridiculously small and not too safe looking car with just about enough room for one average size person.

View along the Meguro-gawa.

Tacky turrets stuck onto the outside of an otherwise plain-looking concrete building ~ it can only be a love hotel.

The fourth temple on the route, Daineji, is just over on to the west side of the station and whilst the temple itself is quite small, there is quite a lot to see. Among all the other many gods on display here, you can see Daikoku, god of wealth and farmers.

If you have any aches and pains, then the story goes that this Buddha can help you out. To relieve your suffering, simply rub some gold leaf onto the corresponding part of his body. Of course, I always carry y very own personal supply for just such an occasion, though on this particular day felt in no particular need of a cure.

Here we have all the seven gods side by side, but don't ask me to name them from left to right.

As with most temples or shrines there is a source of running water to cleanse your hands before you pray. In a move to conserve water, the dragon here is fitted with an electronic eye so that water only flows when someone is standing in front of it.

Close to Daienji is a dentist with a rather quirky sign. I guess even card carrying aliens are welcome here.

The view down Gonnosuke-zaka, the main road on the west side of the station.

Selling tofu outside Otori-jinja.

Otori-jinja is a fairly large shrine that occupies a large corner on Gonnosuke-zaka and even has an electronic vending machine dispensing omikuji ~ a kind of holy lottery where you draw a random strip of paper with your fortune told on it.

Banryuji is the next temple on the route and is tucked away in a very peaceful location that almost makes you forget you're in central Tokyo. Home to Benten, the only female deity among the seven lucky gods, she looks over music and art.

The final temple is the largest complex of buildings on the route goes by the name of Meguro Fudosan. There are many fine temples, buildings and statues in this area including Ebisu, the god of commerce, and fisherman, and, incidentally the name of the next stop on the line.

After about four hours of walking around in the sticky heat, I was done for the day. The Yamate course was an interesting way to frame a pleasant walk through an interesting area of Tokyo. No doubt there are many parts of Meguro I missed due to a lack of time and energy on the day, but it's an area that you can definitely can back to again and again.