The charming little Arakawa line is one of Tokyo's hidden gems. An old-fashioned tram, it snakes (very slowly) from around Waseda all through the shitamachi, before ending up Minowabashi.
The trams themselves are a bit of a mishmash, with modern streetcars mixed in with adorable older models, all papered on the inside with advertisements that seem to have remained the same since late Showa.
The tracks are tightly sandwiched between houses and shopping streets, the little free space often taken over by impromptu gardens of roses and hydrangeas. In short, a nostalgia buff's idea of heaven.
Our first stop, inspired by Matcha-kun's desire for coffee, was at a little wood paneled coffee shop, across from a crazy umbrella store. The iced coffee came in tall, brass goblets. Perhaps not the most convenient vessel, but certainly an entertaining one, ideal for proposing silly, caffeine-fueled toasts.
After checking out Asukayama park, with its fanciful playground and fun concrete elephant, we headed back towards town (and dinner). The final stop of the day was at Zoshigaya cemetery. Thanks to the tradition of cremation (ie. no zombies), Japanese cemeteries hold no fear for me, and in fact are a special favorite for walks, checking out unusual tombs and the giant cats that often populate them.