[Shinagawa Historical Museum. Photo © Ad Blankestijn]
The ancient history centers on the Omori Shell Mounds and the Jomon pottery discovered there. This tableland at the coast was convenient for hunting and fishing and therefore settled from an early time.
About halfway between Omori Station and the museum you will have passed the Omori Shell Mounds Garden, where in 1877 Edward S. Morse undertook the first scientific archeological excavation in Japan. The shell mounds are from late and final Jomon (2500-400 BCE) and have delivered Jomon pottery, stone tools, bone article sand skeletons. Nothing remains of the 80 meter long site, but the garden contains a monument to Morse.
[Edward Morse examining a Jomon pot - Photo © Ad Blankestijn]
In later history Shinagawa’s function as the first post town on the Tokaido Highway occupies central position. An elaborate small-scale model of the post town takes central stage in the room (to see what is left of it: turn left from Shinagawa station, walk along the railway and cross this via the old iron bridge. You will then enter a shotengai shopping street which stands on the spot of the old Tokaido highway and its post station).
[Omori Shell Mound, Shinagawa, Tokyo. Photo Ad Blankestijn]
There are displays about Shinagawa as a sightseeing spot in the Edo-period, centering on Gotenyama and its cherry-blossoms; about the Mt. Fuji cult; about Edo-period daimyo mansions; about fishing off the coast and the cultivation of seaweed in the bay when it was cleaner than today; and the coming of the railroads.
The second room focuses on more recent history and especially writers who lived in Shinagawa. There is also garden with a tea house, and in all this is a nice place to drop by, despite the lack of English.
Hrs: 9:00-17:00; CL Mon (next day if NH), NH, NY (12/29-1/3)
Access: From JR Oimachi St take a Tokyu bus bound for Ikegami or Kamata and get of at Kashima Jinja-mae stop. Or 10 min. on foot from the Sanno N exit of JR Omori St.