Katsushika – The home of manga cartoons that inspired the best football players in the world

We ended up in Katsushika accidentally, just because we found a cute place on AirBnb that looked like a traditional Japanese room. As usual we were persuaded by photos and a lot of 5 star reviews, and to tell you the truth when we visit Japan again we will look no further.


We planned what to see in Tokyo and around Tokyo, but we never actually checked if there’s anything interesting in this ward.
When we arrived we were a bit suspicious by these narrow roads, but it seemed that Katsushika is one nice and quiet neighborhood.


It is situated on the north east side of Tokyo, between Arakawa and Edo rivers, with river Naka running through it. Later, reading about it I’ve found that it’s one of several wards in this area that are actually below sea and river levels, and are protected by huge walls. Approximately 2.9 million people lived in that area in 2007. Luckily, walls around were high enough so far, so it is a “good to know” thing for our next visit. 🙂

When we were walking there along Naka river I was a bit confused, as I expected a river with some nice promenade, but you can’t actually see the water until you climb a few stairs and look over the wall 🙂

Now I know why. 🙂


A night before our trip to Mt. Fuji I had a beer on our roof top with our host Koji, and I bugged him with all possible silly questions that European tourists ask when in Japan. During the conversation we ended up looking photos on my camera and I showed him a photo of “Lupin”, Japanese manga that was on Italian TV channels when I was in elementary school. He told me then that Katsushika is considered as home of Manga and Anime cartoons, and that one of the famous manga authors lives in the neighborhood. He mentioned that guy created famous “Captain Tsubasa” manga, and tried to explain to me that it is a manga about soccer with two best soccer players on earth.

I had a feeling that it could be manga that is known in Italy and Istria as “Holly e Benji”, as the topic sounds similar, but I’ve never heard of it as “Captain Tsubasa”. He mentioned that there is a small ugly park just two streets away and that we can go there and see it, as well that somewhere across the road there’s another statue of the goalkeeper from that manga.

When we arrived to Katsushika, we noticed a lovely small covered market street just in front of Tateishi train station, so we decided that on our last evening in Tokyo, we will explore this area close to our apartment and eat something here. Since we had information about “Captain Tsubasa” we decided to go for a longer walk and check that small park first.

In order to get into it, we had to pass through one of the narrowest streets there. If that would be anywhere else but in Tokyo, I’d feel at least a bit worried, but not here. 🙂


And there, at the and of the park – A bronze statue of Captain Ozora Tsubasa, or Oliver Hutton, Holly in Italian version. Even though I was not a regular fan of this manga cartoon, it did somehow remind me of my childhood. I remembered the times from elementary school when I was heading to my friend’s place after school where we would first watch Lupin than bits of Holly and Benji, and then one of those italian shows with a bunch of young and good looking ladies which was of higher priority. 🙂


After seeing that monument, we walked around those covered streets in the neighborhood and had a dinner in a local bar. There are many really small places with local specialities, gyozas, Japanese skewers and many other great things. It is definitely a place worth visiting, as it belongs to Tokyo but it’s way calmer, less crowded and you’ll be surrounded with locals only.


Later that evening, when we were packed and relaxing our legs, I took some promo materials that Koji had in the apartment that gives instructions what to see in Katsushika, and was reading a bit about everything. Just then, I’ve figured out that “Captain Tsubasa” is much more than just a manga cartoon. It’s a local hero and a story so popular that it started to attract tourists to this area. There is even the “Tsubasa Bronze way” with eight statues made of bronze celebrating it.


I’ve found several articles about it, and it seems that some of the world famous players ended up playing soccer just because they were in love with this cartoon. Among them Fernando Torres, Alessandro Del Piero, Zinedine Zidane, Hidetoshi Nakata, Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta and apparently – Leo Messi!

And that’s not all, Yōichi Takahashi, the author of Captain Tsubasa became a president of a local football club “Nankatsu” which aims to play in the first Japanese National league.


So in case that you are a true football fan, you should find a way to see Captain Tsubasa and visit Katsushika in Tokyo.


I would definitely like to enjoy my dinner and a pint once again with the Tokyo Sky Tree behind me. 🙂

Till the next one…



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