While on a bit of a hunt for real estate recently I tried to track down an apartment I had seen advertised in Shiroyama, which is probably Odawara’s most expensive residential district. I hadn’t been there before so it was an interesting wander. It has quite a different feel to some of the other areas, thanks to having larger blocks of land allowing for spacious gardens and bigger dwellings. Also due to being on a hill, there are some rather nice views of Sagami Bay to be had, as well as glimpes of Odawara Castle from certain locations. It is nice to also stumble onto unexpected things like Okubo-jinja Shrine – rather small and not of any great significance, but I like how these little outposts of greenery and respite pop up here and there.
I didn’t the apartment I was looking for, although we later checked it out by inspection (and found it may have been very well suited as a massive and extravagant bachelor pad of, say, the late 1970s, but seemed to be well past its prime). But despite the cold weather I did find some nice flowers out already including plum blossoms at Odawara Castle.
I also discovered that Aoyama has a bicycle track that attracts gamblers and apparently some “seedy” elements (though they weren’t in evidence when I went past). What I did see in plenty of evidence was gross underemployment, as is not uncommon in some service industries in Japan, with each entry to the carpark having from about 6 to 10 people to wave people into it.