Walking along the Kanda River | Discover the willows that guard Edo's demon gate! | The mouth of the river - Iidabashi


Last week I walked along the Nihonbashi River. This week I will walk along the Kanda River, which is like a brother of the Nihonbashi River.



Ryogoku station name sign

Since the Kanda River flows into the Sumida River at the foot of Ryogoku Bridge, I decided to start my walk from Ryogoku.


Ryogoku Kokugikan’s turrets and banners

It was the first day of the Grand Sumo Tournament, so there were lots of people. However, taking pictures of people is a pain in the neck for photo processing, so I took pictures of the yagura and the banners.

It was a beautiful day, and the Sekitori were entering the Kokugikan one after another. Watching them from the side, I, who had gained a kilo or two, went for a walk.

I had found out about the Ryogoku Fireworks Museum beforehand, so I crossed the Keiyo Road to go visit it.

Across the road are the ruins of the old Kokugikan. I had been here before, but hadn’t taken any pictures, so I took a picture of the circle in the courtyard showing the location of the ring back then. But now it was a bicycle parking lot, and no one bothered to park their bicycles there, never mind the remains of the ring.


A circle in the courtyard showing the location of the ring at the site of the former Kokugikan

When I returned to Keiyo Road, the traffic light was green. I crossed the street. I thought I was going to the fireworks museum. Well, whatever. I’ll do it next time. It’s hard to see the mouth of the Kanda River unless you cross the sidewalk on the north side of Ryogoku Bridge.


The mysterious shape of the Ryogoku Bridge’s main pillar (the northwest pillar photographed after crossing the bridge)

Everyone wonders about the Ryogoku Bridge’s main pillar. What did they want it to mean? It’s a mystery.


View from Ryogoku Bridge looking north

From Ryogoku Bridge, you can see the Sky Tree. No matter when I look at it, it doesn’t seem to be nearly twice as tall as Tokyo Tower. Maybe I’ll go near it next time and try to measure it with an clinometer.

That being said, the highway is slightly convex upwards to allow the Sobu Line to pass through. Is it really necessary to bend it so much? Will they get electrocuted by the overhead wires if they don’t bend it? Or is it for maintenance reasons?

Willow trees


The mouth of the Kanda River

This is the mouth of the Kanda River. Are the rocket-shaped pillars where the boats are tied together? The distance between them seems to be too narrow.



There are many houseboats anchored near the mouth of the river. I’ve been on a houseboat once, about 30 years ago. The appearance has hardly changed.

We ate goby tempura on the houseboat. By the way, I haven’t gone goby fishing this year. It becomes difficult to fish from the shore with a pole when the “o-higan” season is near. I wonder if I can still catch them.


Stone pillar at the Asakusa Mitsuke site

At the foot of Asakusa Bridge, there is the Naruto Taiyaki Honpo, where I bought Taiyaki the other day. Near the shop is the Asakusa Mitsuke site. Asakusa-bashi bridge was an important place to keep an eye on the Nikko and Oshu Kaido highway, which was a major traffic route from long ago.


Excavated stone wall stone from the Edo period

Now, instead of a mitsuke, there is a police box just across the Kanda River.
In a corner behind the police box, there is a stone wall from the Edo period. It is said to be andesite brought from the Izu Peninsula.


A willow to ward off the demon gate of Edo Castle

There are many willow trees planted from near Asakusa Bridge to Izumi Bridge near Akihabara. An explanatory note in Iwamoto 3-chome says that Ota Doukan planted willows to ward off the demon’s gate (the direction of the northeast).

I had heard of planting Nanten, which turns away difficulties, or Hiiragi, which has a sting to pierce the eyes of demons, at the demon’s gate. However, this was the first time I had heard of planting willow trees.
Planting willow trees along the Kanda River would create a wall of willow trees. It looks like no demons will be able to come in.

At this point, I suddenly remembered Ichiyo Higuchi’s “Takekurabe,” which begins, “If you turn, you will see the willow tree at the large gate.” On my way back to the Ichiyo Memorial Museum, I found a monument to the willow tree and thought, “What? Is there a willow tree here?” I remember thinking, “I wondered if it had anything to do with the demon’s gate.”

When I looked at the map, bingo! There is a willow tree in the direction of the “demon’s gate” in the almost square area enclosed by the “ohaguro dobu”.

Willow trees have been planted along the Kanda River and in the vicinity of the willow tree to this day, so it seems that willow trees have a great effect in repelling the demon’s gate.

The willow wells along the old Koshu Kaido Road may also have a meaning to ward off the back gate of the Imperial Palace.

Suruga-dai and Yushima-dai


Main pillar of the Manseibashi Bridge

This is the main pillar of the Mansei Bridge. It’s very elegant. However, due to an imprinting phenomenon from my childhood, when I hear the word “Mansei,” the face of that cow immediately comes to mind.

mAAch マーチエキュート神田万世橋

mAAch ecute Kanda Manzebashi

The building used to be Manseibashi Station, which became the stylish mAAch ecute Kanda Manseibashi in 2013. I didn’t know that. I’m looking forward to going there again next time.

You can also see Shoheibashi Bridge where the Sobu Main Line crosses the Kanda River. I thought the Sobu Main Line crossed the Kanda River on an arch bridge, but it crossed Route 17 on the arch bridge and crossed the Kanda River on a girder bridge.

I decided to walk along the railing of mAAch ecute, since I could hardly walk along the Kanda River before.

But it turned out to be a dead end, so I crossed the mAAch ecute and walked a bit along the old Nakasendo road on the southwest side to Shoheibashi.


The main pillar of the Shohei Bridge

The main pillar of the Shoheibashi Bridge also looks like it was made with great effort.


Awaji Slope

The right bank of the river becomes Awaji-zaka, and from here it’s an uphill climb. But this time I went up the left bank.


Entrance to the tunnel for Awaji-cho on the Marunouchi Line

This is the entrance to the Awaji-cho direction tunnel of the Tokyo Subway Marunouchi Line. There is a water level gauge at the ladder beside the tracks, so it seems that water comes close to the tracks during heavy rain.


Stones stored at Hijiribashi Bridge

Inside the Hijiribashi Bridge, I found a large stone laying around. Is it andesite? It seems to have something in common with the stones of the stone wall I saw in front of the police station earlier. Are they storing them here to be used for something in the future?


Sidewalk fence along Sotobori Street that seems to suggest a use for the stones stored there.

I wondered if one of the uses for the stones in storage would be for sidewalk maintenance. As you can see in this photo, the sidewalks along Sotobori Street are fenced with alternating rows of stones and metal.

Looking at the indentations in the stone, it seems that in the past, wooden or metal rods were inserted here to make a fence. But the sticks must have rotted or bent, and they needed maintenance. However, since the stone could not be moved, it was not possible to reinsert the bars. It would have been a shame to remove the natural stone, so they built a metal fence between the stones to make it look the way it does now.

But this stone is granite because of its large crystals, isn’t it? It is clearly different from the type of stone that was found under the sacred bridge. After all, is the purpose of the stone I mentioned earlier to repair the stone wall in the future?


The remains of the Kanda josui flume, which may have been strategically important.

A little further down the slope, I found the remains of the Kanda josui gutter.

I wanted to poke a little fun at the picture drawn there.

The Kanda River serves as the outer moat of Edo Castle, doesn’t it? The security seems to be thin, but didn’t you expect the enemy to attack through this gutter? For that matter, if the enemy destroyed this gutter, wouldn’t the people of Edo Castle dry up? The hut in the picture is not for that purpose, is it? Because the signboard says “Big Kaba-yaki”…


Stone monument of Ochanomizu diversion channel

A little further on, I found a map of the Kanda River diversion channel and a stone monument to the Ochanomizu diversion channel. But there is no explanation at all. What is a diversion channel? Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least a word about flood control?


The downstream direction of the Kanda River as seen from Suidobashi Bridge

View downstream from Suidobashi Bridge.

The elevation around the aqueduct is about 4 meters. The elevation of Surugadai on the right bank and Yushima-dai on the left bank is about 17 meters. In other words, in the Edo period, the river was dug about 15 meters deep x 15 meters wide by human power + horses + cows, without using heavy machinery, right? Yes, building the pyramids is amazing, but digging the Kanda River is also amazing.

I guess the Ochanomizu diversion canal is the part that looks like a break in the bank on the left.

Iidabashi Station


Near the junction of the Kanda River and the Metropolitan Expressway No. 5 Ikebukuro Line

As I walked along, wondering where the junction with the Nihonbashi River was, I saw the Metropolitan Expressway No. 5 Ikebukuro Line coming over the Kanda River. The junction must be around there.


Iidabashi Station as seen from the pedestrian bridge in front of the station

I kept walking and ended up at Iidabashi station.

What? When did I pass by the junction with the Nihombashi River?

Walking data

Course: JR Sobu Line Ryogoku Station -> Kanda River -> JR Chuo Line Iidabashi Station
Distance: 6.3km
Time: 1h29m