The industrial side of Tokyo
Just south of Tokyo, lining the Tama River, are the factories and refineries of Kawasaki City. This industrial area lights up at night, drawing photographers and tourists for bus and boat tours. If you're looking to escape the tourist spots of Tokyo, come and experience the unique festivals, venues, and museums of Kawasaki.
- Witnessing the spectacle of Kanamara Matsuri (Penis Festival), held each year in spring
- Visiting Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji Temple
- Exploring traditional architecture at the Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum
- Kawasaki Warehouse, a must for game and sci-fi fans
How to Get There
Kawasaki is easily accessible from both Tokyo and Yokohama. Kawasaki Station is 18 minutes from Tokyo Station and eight minutes from Yokohama Station by train on the JR Tokaido line.
Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji Temple has a prayer hall for safe driving, popular with taxi drivers from all over the Tokyo area
Kawasaki was a post station on the Tokaido road from Tokyo to Kyoto, celebrated in woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige around 1833
Enter another world
If you're a game or sci-fi fan, head to Kawasaki Warehouse, a game center designed to look like the old Kowloon Walled City. With authentic grimy walls and paraphernalia, it's like walking through a film set.
Step back in time
Architecture buffs and families will enjoy exploring the large park which houses the Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses (also called Nihon Minkaen). There are 25 traditional thatched-roof houses, relocated from all over Japan, dating from the 17th to 19th century. Throughout the year there are regular events, from craft to kabuki performances.
See the surreal
Avant-garde artist Taro Okamoto was born in Kawasaki in 1911. Located next to the Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses , the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art is dedicated to his large-scale sculptures and paintings.
In daylight, Kawasaki's many factories and refineries look gray and unappealing, but at night, illuminated and plumed with smoke and steam, they take on an otherworldly beauty. The best way to see them is by boat, cruising along the Tama River to Tokyo Bay. Tours run on Saturday nights from Kawasaki Station. You can also take a Hato Bus tour through the area, departing from Tokyo Station.
Devoting time to the history and products of Toshiba, the Toshiba Science Museum has great interactive exhibits that kids will love.
While squarely aimed at children, the Fujiko F Fujio Museum is fun for everyone. It's all about the creator of Doraemon, the iconic animated robot-cat. Don't miss the cafe, with Doraemon-themed food. With original movies, play areas and mock-ups of the artist's studio, it's a popular destination, so be sure to get tickets in advance at Lawson convenience stores.