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Journey to Hikifune

10.11. 2002

When I found out in the internet a rather remote hint about an "artists' walking course" in Hikifune I instantely became curious. For Hikifune, on the other side of the Sumida River, was an area I haven't been to yet.

I checked out my map and took a train to Kita-Senju, to change into a small Tobu private line which brought me across the Sumida to Hikifune. No signs at all, I made a walk all around the area, but couldn't find any traces of the event. I finally ended up in the Bunka Senta (Cultural Center) to get some help, where I run into some japanese people with the same problem. They made us check out the Keisei Hikifune Station, where we found our guide.

What I encountered was one of the most exciting parts of Tokyo I've ever been to. Narrow streets, tiny old houses, packed together on the smallest imaginable space, little shops and craftsmen operating their workshops on a few square meters. The whole thing was based on the local university's enviromental department's plans to improve living conditions without destroying the old structures plus an artists' residency programm featuring French artists showing on site works.

We made a real kriss kross course all around the area, back and forth the main shopping street, where we explored the Kirakira Tachiban Kaikan, a local communities's center, displaying arts and crafts, Ikebana included.

Our journey concluded at a small shop, called Rice+, where all parties from the projects gathered for coffee, tea and sweets.

artist lecture

Gathering at the exhibition site. French artist Catherine Beaugrand explains her work to the participants.

explanation site

Our guide, Mr. Matsuda, explains the city planners' ideas of improving the living conditions in this area.

shopping street

Kyojima is an interesting example of how the old and the new mixes into a very unique flavor in Tokyo suburbs.

Further material

My Hikifune movie, part 1 [(MPEG) ( RealVideo)]
My Hikifune movie, part 2 [(MPEG) ( RealVideo) ( WMV )]
My Hikifune movie, part 3 [(MPEG) ( RealVideo)]

Hikifune/Kyojima project page, Tokyo

Walking course map

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