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Atlas Obscura ‘Fossils of the 20th Century Civilization’

All of the stations on the Toei Ōedo subway line are adorned with some form of public art, from unusual sculptures to technological marvels such as the computer-designed “Web Frames” lighting at Iidabashi Station. The most fascinating of these may be found inside Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station.

Titled “Fossils of the 20th Century Civilization” (20世紀文明の化石), this mural was created by contemporary artist Shōichirō Higuchi and installed here in 2000, the same year the station opened. It was created from scrap metal produced in the area during the so-called “economic miracle” era (1946-1992). The piece is located on the walls of Platforms 1 and 4, stretching from one end to the other.

Keep track of the places you have been, log in.
Atlas Obscura 2020
Origin of Ginza Monument

Discover Origin of Ginza Monument in Tokyo, Japan: This monument celebrates this shopping district's past history as a feudal silver mint.

Atlas Obscura 2022
Basho Memorial Statue

Discover Basho Memorial Statue in Tokyo, Japan: Dedicated to one of the greatest Haiku poets of all time.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Ueno Daibutsu

Discover Ueno Daibutsu in Tokyo, Japan: Only the face remains of this giant Buddha statue, which is said to be a source of luck for students.

Atlas Obscura 2020
The Asahi Flame

Discover The Asahi Flame in Tokyo, Japan: This enormous monument is one of the most iconic structures in Tokyo, rudely nicknamed "The Golden Turd.".

Atlas Obscura 2021
Ikkoku Bridge Stone Marker for Lost Children

Discover Ikkoku Bridge Stone Marker for Lost Children in Tokyo, Japan: This monument gives insight into how lost children were found in Edo-period Tokyo.

Brutalism 1957
Harumi Apartment Buildings
Atlas Obscura 2018
The Final Resting Place of Japan’s Last Shogun

Some of the most famous figures in Japanese history are buried in this sprawling scenic cemetery.

Atlas Obscura 2021
Ohaguro Ditch Wall Ruins

Discover Ohaguro Ditch Wall Ruins in Tokyo, Japan: These ordinary blocks of stone are the last surviving remains of Tokyo's infamous red-light district.

Atlas Obscura 2020
‘Magokoro Tennyo’ (‘Goddess of Sincerity’)

Discover 'Magokoro Tennyo' ('Goddess of Sincerity') in Tokyo, Japan: Weighing nearly 7 tons, this massive sculpture was carved out of 500-year-old wood and decorated with thousands of jewels.

Atlas Obscura 2021

Discover Rokugeishin in Tokyo, Japan: A miniature shrine in the busy corner of Tokyo's historic Broadway, honoring a sextet of unusual entertainment gods.

Atlas Obscura 2022
Ningyocho Mechanical Clock Towers

Discover Ningyocho Mechanical Clock Towers in Tokyo, Japan: When this clock strikes a certain time, puppets showcase a story of life in Edo Japan.

Atlas Obscura 2019
An Amazing Kite Museum, Hidden Above a Tokyo Restaurant

The Museum of Kites houses thousands of modern and traditional kites.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Tobacco & Salt Museum

Discover Tobacco & Salt Museum in Tokyo, Japan: This museum is dedicated to the cultural history of tobacco and salt, once monopolized in Japan.

Atlas Obscura 2020

Discover 'Coicorin' in Chuo City, Japan: Tell this pair of "love-inviting" cats in Ginza your romantic hopes.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Lord Kira’s Residence

Discover Lord Kira's Residence in Tokyo, Japan: The remains of the vast manor that once belonged to Lord Kira, villain in the 47 Ronin story, is now a shrine dedicated to the incident.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Hakubutsukan-Dōbutsuen Station

Discover Hakubutsukan-Dōbutsuen Station in Tokyo, Japan: Take a few seconds to look at this abandoned, art-filled station as you pass by on the subway to Ueno.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Kameido Zeniza Monument

Discover Kameido Zeniza Monument in Tokyo, Japan: This often-overlooked monument was crafted in the shape of the iconic samurai coin to honor an Edo-period mint.

Atlas Obscura 2022
Kölner Aussicht

Discover Kölner Aussicht in Koto City, Japan:.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Jisshi Park

Discover Jisshi Park in Tokyo, Japan: This small park holds what remains of a former prison and execution ground.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Obake Kaidan

Discover Obake Kaidan in Tokyo, Japan: A flight of this "ghost staircase" has 40 steps on the way up, but only 39 steps on the way down.

Atlas Obscura 2021
Jan Joosten Memorial

Discover Jan Joosten Memorial in Tokyo, Japan: A commemoration of the first Dutchman to reach Japan, whose name still echoes in the heart of Tokyo.

Atlas Obscura 2018

Discover Intermediatheque in Tokyo, Japan: An unexpected curiosity cabinet hidden within a department store in the Japan Post tower.

Atlas Obscura 2021
Ishikawa Island Lighthouse

Discover Ishikawa Island Lighthouse in Tokyo, Japan: This public bathroom takes the form of a 19th-century lighthouse that once stood on the spot.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Kozukappara Execution Grounds

Discover Kozukappara Execution Grounds in Tokyo, Japan: This infamous execution site inspired the beginning of Japan's modernization in the late 18th-century.

Brutalism 1957
Metropolitan Festival Hall
Atlas Obscura 2021
Harumi Bridge

Discover Harumi Bridge in Tokyo, Japan: Disused for decades, this freight railway bridge is finally being renovated into a scenic promenade.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Oiteke Bori

Discover Oiteke Bori in Tokyo, Japan: This water goblin statue represents a 19th-century urban legend about a haunted canal that became a Japanese idiom.

Atlas Obscura 2021
Kankan Jizō

Discover Kankan Jizō in Tokyo, Japan: Although damaged beyond recognition, this stone god is still said to bring good luck to those who tap on him with a pebble.

Atlas Obscura 2020
War-Damaged Utility Pole Monument

Discover War-Damaged Utility Pole Monument in Tokyo, Japan: A sad reminder of the World War II bombing stands largely unnoticed on a street corner.

Atlas Obscura 2020
‘Fugetsu En’nen’

Discover 'Fugetsu En'nen' in Tokyo, Japan: This strange mural located in the Ueno station is filled with traditional Japanese symbolism.

Yomiuri Hall
Atlas Obscura 2019

Discover Kojo in Tokyo, Japan: This subterranean spot might be the epitome of Japan's baroque, retro coffee houses.

Atlas Obscura 2019

Discover Tateishi-sama in Tokyo, Japan: This tiny stone in a children's park is what remains of an ancient, once-worshipped object.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Giant Straw Sandals of Hōzōmon

Discover Owaraji (Giant Straw Sandals) in Tokyo, Japan: An enormous pair of straw sandals woven in the traditional way, to keep demons at bay.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Benten-dō Temple

Discover Benten-dō Temple in Tokyo, Japan: A Buddhist temple on an artificial island that houses a monument to the fugu fish.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Jinnai Shrine

Discover Jinnai Shrine in Tokyo, Japan: This shrine dedicated to a legendary swordsman has become a pilgrimage site for the ill and infirmed.

Atlas Obscura 2019

Discover Kiha in Tokyo, Japan: It's bad manners to eat and drink on the subways of Tokyo, unless the train is this bar. .

Atlas Obscura 2020
Taira no Masakado’s Grave

Discover Taira no Masakado's Grave in Chiyoda City, Japan: A shrine dedicated to a 10th-century samurai emperor, whose head is not buried on site (contrary to popular belief).

Atlas Obscura 2020
The Site of Yatate Hajime

Discover The Site of Yatate Hajime in Tokyo, Japan: The site where the poet Matsuo Bashō read one of the first haiku that comprise his famous travelogue.

Atlas Obscura 2016
The Giant Ghibli Clock

Discover The Giant Ghibli Clock in Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo’s only Vaudeville-cuckoo clock–steampunk-Victorian curio cabinet time piece.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Kototoi Bridge

Discover Kototoi Bridge in Tokyo, Japan: Tragic reminders of the 1945 firebombing campaign over Tokyo still haunt this bridge.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Nihonbashi Kirin Statues

Discover Nihonbashi Kirin Statues in Tokyo, Japan: Mythical beasts symbolizing the city of Tokyo guard a historic bridge.

Atlas Obscura 2021
Tateishi Burger Vending Machine

Discover Tateishi Burger Vending Machine in Tokyo, Japan: A charming, homemade vending machine dispenses burgers and sandwiches at this hole-in-the-wall bakery.

Atlas Obscura 2017
The Soineya Cuddle Cafe in Tokyo

At Japan's first "co-sleeping" shop customers pay to take a snooze next to a pretty girl.

Atlas Obscura 2017
A Japanese Elementary School Lunch Themed Restaurant

Brasserie Kyushoku Toban serves up rosy memories and a wholesome meal.

Atlas Obscura 2021
Matsuchiyama Shoden

Discover Matsuchiyama Shoden in Tokyo, Japan: Daikon radishes are offered to the Japanese Buddhist counterpart of the Hindu god Ganesha at this historic hilltop temple.

Atlas Obscura 2022
Meiji University Museum’s Criminal Materials Department

Discover Meiji University Museum’s Criminal Materials Department in Chiyoda City, Japan:.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Senju Shrine Bomb Shelter

Discover Senju Shrine Bomb Shelter in Adachi City, Japan: One of the few surviving World War II-era air-raid shelters in Tokyo.

Atlas Obscura 2019
Little Peeing Monk of Tokyo

Discover Little Peeing Monk of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan: This Japanese Manneken Pis gets new outfits for every occasion.

Atlas Obscura 2019
Ekibenya Matsuri

Discover Ekibenya Matsuri in Tokyo, Japan: A railway station takeout shop sells boxed meals in containers shaped like trains and snowmen that hold the country’s abundant regional delicacies.

Atlas Obscura 2018
Shitamachi Museum

Discover Shitamachi Museum in Tokyo, Japan: A museum dedicated to the history of Tokyo's often-overlooked working-class district.

Atlas Obscura 2017
Tokyo’s Akihabara Electric Town

Discover Akihabara Electric Town in Tokyo, Japan: Once a black market electronics marketplace, now an otaku shopper's paradise.

Atlas Obscura 2022
Asakusa Twelve Stories Mural

Discover Asakusa Twelve Stories Mural in Taito City, Japan:.

Atlas Obscura 2022
Public Utility Conduits of Ginza

Discover Public Utility Conduits of Ginza in Tokyo, Japan: Peer into this window for an interesting glimpse into the public utilities that make this city run.

Atlas Obscura 2022
The Whale Monument

Discover The Whale Monument in Tokyo, Japan: This sculpture of whale emerging from the sidewalk commemorates the importance of baleen in a type of traditional Japanese puppetry.

Atlas Obscura 2021
Jimbōchō Book Town

Discover Jimbōchō Book Town in Tokyo, Japan: A bibliophile's heaven that contains hundreds of bookstores, offering over a third of secondhand books for sale in Tokyo.

Post 2019
Picturing China’s Bamboo Chopstick Industry From the Sky
Atlas Obscura 2020
‘Antinous as Vertumnus’

Discover 'Antinous as Vertumnus' in Tokyo, Japan: Unbeknownst to most passersby, this marble statue standing outside an office building is a genuine piece of second-century Rome.

Post 2019
Portraits and Windows