Jiyugaoka’s Green Roads

One of the lesser-known facts about Tokyo is that during its urbanisation in the twentieth century, miles upon miles of rivers and streams were buried under concrete to make room for roads, train tracks and buildings, leaving them to fade from public memory.

Map of Edo (modern-day Tokyo)” is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Whilst the blue lines have all but disappeared, these subterranean waterways are often marked on the surface by beautiful paths that crisscross the city in areas you might not think to explore otherwise.

To find them, look for tell-tell signs on Google Maps, such as green curving median strips that break the grid layout – The Tokyo Files blog has done a great job documenting many of them.


Two of these green roads intersect near Jiyugaoka, and while I was still living there in 2020, I walked them many times as a reprieve from the pandemic-induced isolation. The route below is about 7.5km and takes around 1.5 hours to walk.

Kuhonbutsu River Green Way (九品仏川緑道)

Kuhombutsu Station (九品仏駅) → Midorigaoka Station (緑が丘駅)

Starting with a serene stroll through Kuhonbutsu Joshinji Temple (浄真寺), the Kuhonbutsu River Green Way leads to bustling Jiyugaoka, full of trendy shops and restaurants, before winding through a quiet residential area to Midorigaoka Station. Lush green trees cover nearly the entire route.

Start of the Kuhonbutsu River Green Way (九品仏川緑道)
Patisserie Paris S’eveille (パリ・セヴェイユ) – worth the queue
Jiyūgaoka Station (自由が丘駅)
Tokyu Oimachi Line crossing
Man practising golf in his garden
A tiny wedge-shaped house that had been empty for years

Nomikawa Green Road (呑川緑道)

Midorigaoka Station (緑が丘駅) → Sakura-shimmachi Station (桜新町駅)

The Nomikawa Ryokudo (green road) starts at Midorigaoka Station and meanders through the Setagaya neighbourhood to Toritsudaigaku Station before turning towards the Komazawa area and then a long stretch to Sakura-shimmachi Station. If you go during spring, you might be lucky enough to see the hundreds of Sakura trees that line its path in full bloom.

Environmental Energy Innovation Building (環境エネルギーイノベーション棟) covered in 4,570 solar panels at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (東京工業大学)
Passing Toritsudaigaku Station (都立大学駅)
Vintage telephone box
Contented cat
The eponymous Nomikawa stream appears next to Nippon Sport Science University (日本体育大学)
The Nomikawa disappears underground again
Crossing below Route 3 of the Shuto Expressway (首都高速3号渋谷線)
Political campaign posters
Sakura-shimmachi Station (桜新町駅)

For all of Tokyo’s dense housing, a little greenery makes its neighbourhoods much more livable. I spent many happy years in the area, whether getting some exercise, people-watching or just doing the shopping.

For another oasis nearby, check out Todoroki Valley.

David avatar


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