Todoroki Keikoku Ravine, which is the sole ravine inside 23-ku, Tokyo, is located near popular streets like Futako-Tamagawa and Jiyugaoka. This precious place surrounded by nature, which is unbelievable in the middle of the city, is certainly where you can experience your trip to Japan in a different light.
The sole ravine in the city, a rare natural spot
A three-minute walk from the local shopping street, you would find the entrance of the ravine at the side of the Golf Hashi Bridge. The name Golf Hashi Bridge came from the fact that long before, there was a large golf course near Todoroki village during the early part of Showa era. If you go down to Yazawa-gawa River, you would see the expanse of green scenery on one side. This ravine was made through erosion of the surface of Musashino Daichi Plateau. There's also a land formation which you can closely observe near the Golf Hashi Bridge.
The riverside feels so cool that you'd forget you're in the middle of the city. Along the riverside, oak trees and zelkova trees have grown so much that they mask the sky making the majority of the place covered with shade. There are more than 30 springs inside the valley, around which hygrophytes are scattered. With the forest on the slope of the cliff and the mountain stream, you'd really appreciate the beauty of nature.
The serenity of the place, which is unbelievably a short walk from the highway, and the small stream of the river are both very relaxing. You won't have to talk in a loud voice, so the level of your relaxation increases. The fact that you can touch the river surface will make you happy, too. Then, move on to the Todoroki Keikoku Sango Yokoana (cave No. 3 at Todoroki Keikoku) at the end of the road. You'd be surprised to see the ancient tombs called Kofun. If you go through the Kawamo-no-hashi (river surface bridge, also called a park bridge), you'd feel cooler than when crossing a normal bridge.
Sango Yokoana (cave No. 3) is one of the designated historical landmarks by Tokyo. This tunnel was considered to be built from the closing years of Tumulus period to the Nara period as the tomb of a powerful person during these periods. It does not look much from the outside, but the inside has a shape of a halved decanter. There is a wetland near the tunnel, as well as a little open space with a bathroom where you can take a rest.
If you proceed further along the river, you would see the Chigo Daishi-dou small temple at the right side from the river. Chigo Daishi is the childhood name of Kobo Daishi, a great Buddhist preacher who made a great impact on Buddhism in Japan. According to the stone monument, this temple was built in celebration of the 1200th anniversary of birth the of Kobo Daishi.
The origin of the name "Todoroki" was taken from the "roaring" sound (in Japanese the sound is called “todoroki”) of the Fudou-no-taki falls. Currently, there still are people hit by the fall for ascetic practices, and no one but such people alone are allowed to enter.
From here to Todoroki Fudoson, the relatively steep stairs continue. Be sure to try to drop by here for a little. Todoroki Fudoson was founded by Kogyo-Daishi from the Shingon sect. It's also known for Japanese sakura cherry blossoms. You can enjoy sakura in full-bloom during spring, as well as the beautiful autumn colors.
About one kilometer from the starting point, there's a cafe called Setsugekka where you can take a rest.
There's an area for eating outside the store, so it would feel great to eat under a nice weather. You should know that Setsugekka is still closed early morning. From Setsugekka, climb down the ravine once again and go further downstream. There is a Japanese garden at the right side, which we will properly look at later, and climb up the stairway by the garden to drop by the Noge Otsuka Kofun (an old burial mound) about 500 meters ahead.
Noge Otsuka Kofun is a large graveyard which was build during the beginning of the 5th century. Looking at it from above, its shape looks like a Japanese scallop. The brown things that surround the graveyard are earthenwares called haniwa (terracotta clay figures used in rituals) and Hajiki (unglazed Japanese earthenware) made by the ancient Japanese people. This tomb is thought to be the one for a head of a powerful clan in southern Musashi area, and it's overall length is 104 meters. There were also burial items such as a fine armor found together. The haniwa and hajiki shown at this site now are not in the same look when they were made. The restored haniwa and hajiki are surrounding the mound.
It is a small garden but it is still an extremely relaxing place. Let's have lunch in the Shoin (a type of audience hall) bench above the garden. It seems to feel great under a good weather. Being a place near the middle of the city and with its relaxing small stream and lush green, Todoroki Keikoku Ravine is the perfect spot for casual visits. You can freely come here without equipping yourself for mountain climbing, do not miss the opportunity to visit the city's precious nature spot.