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The Japan Times ST dated June 16 carried Shoji Kaori's regular column, "Enjoy Tokyo", featuring: Kishimojin, Zoshigaya.

This time, the writer visits Zoshigaya, which is a top gem on the B-version of Tokyo. "If you have a hankering for cheap-chic food, narrow alleyways and a temple that's been around for over 600 years, drop everything and take the tram called chin-chin densha," she writes.

Home to one of Tokyo's oldest temples, Kishimojin, it combines Buddhist doctrines with a maternal, feminine ambience. It was erected to honor a Buddhist guardian god that used to be a she-ogre with 1,000 children.

To sustain herself and her brood, this she-ogre kidnapped human children and ate their flesh. Chastised by Buddha, she mended her ways and became a protector of kids and a god of childbirth. Kishimojin literally means "ogre child mother god".

The leafy back streets are wonderful for walking. "To stroll the streets with an ice candy in your hand, like a kid with nothing to do on a summer afternoon. Tokyo rarely gets better than this," she concludes.