In slick, clean modern Tokyo it is very easy to forget that a little over a century ago the city had no subways or railway or sealed roads - let alone cars - and that what has become the hum and beep - and fumes - of traffic was once the clip-clop, whinny - and droppings - of horses.
Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza (Iwamotocho Uma no Mizunomi Hiroba) lies between the manga, cosplay and electronics mecca of Akihabara and the traditional doll and toy town of Asakusabashi (also renowned for its reasonably-priced and conveniently located tourist accommodation, hotels, and hostels. Note the minibus at the right of the picture: a free shuttle bus for one of Asakusabashi's most popular budget hotels).
The plot - now just grass - has a plaque about its horse-watering history, erected by the Chiyoda ward council, translated as follows:
"Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza
This was a place for watering horses drawing loads (rice, vegetables, seafood, building materials, etc.) from the Boso Peninsula and the north-eastern regions, and provided a resting spot for travellers. As such, it served an important role.
Chiyoda Ward Office"
Iwamotocho Horse-Watering Plaza is a now very silent and deserted, but refreshingly green, reminder to this long-gone aspect of Tokyo life.
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